Posts Tagged ‘BENEFITS OF TRANSIT’

Does Transit Yield its Promised Economic Benefits? A 1969 Perspective.

June 25th, 2015 1 comment

The actual economic benefits of Metro far exceed what planners estimated in 1969, and it’s worth remembering as we consider future transit investments.

In the late 1960s, when Metrorail was nearly about to begin construction, Metro published a forecast of the economic benefits of Metrorail.  The report made rosy projections of the all the travel time and costs the network, then a 97-mile proposed rail system, would bring.  (It also included photos of the pretty awesome 3-D model of a station, including maybe a one-car train?).  Now, four decades later, were the projections right?  Has Metrorail produced the benefits we thought?  The answer is yes, and then some.

Economics_of_metro_cover

Cover of a 1969 report estimating the economic benefits of Metrorail

At the time this report came out, the region was about to make a substantial investment in public transit , probably not unlike today, where we face real choices about whether to invest in Metro 2025 initiatives such as 8-car trains, the Purple Line, or bus lanes.  To quote the report,

Metro is ready for construction. The routes have been selected. The program for local financing has been approved.

How feasible is Metro? Who will benefit?  Will the benefits justify the costs? Is Metro a good public investment for the National Capital Region and its financial partner, the federal government?

The report tallied up all the time savings to riders – former motorists, former bus riders, and truckers – as well as the travel cost savings like avoided parking, vehicle savings, operating cost savings, and more.  It concluded that Metro would save $186 million per year in 1990$, roughly equivalent to $310 million/year in today’s dollars after adjusting for inflation.  Read more…

The Environmental Benefits of Metro

April 30th, 2014 No comments

Environmental Impacts of Life Without Metro

Environmental Impacts of Life Without Metro.  Click for larger version.

Every time you ride Metrorail or Metrobus you make a positive impact on the region’s environment. As you can see, those positive impacts extend from the regions rivers and streams right through to the air we breathe every day. For example, without Metro:

  • Stormwater runoff from 750 lane miles of new roads would need to be managed
  • An additional 41 million gallons of fuel would be used annually
  • The region would spend 7 days per household per year stuck in traffic
  • 400,000 tons of CO2  equivalent would be produced
  • 260 tons of volatile organic compounds would be released into the atmosphere
  • 22 tons of particulate matter would be released into the atmosphere
  • $9.5 million of additional environmental costs due to emissions would be incurred annually
  • The 2.2 million calories expended by Metrorail riders walking to rail stations each weekday morning would not be burned

In particular, the positive impacts on air quality become increasingly important during the summer months when harmful ozone levels are at their highest. When it’s hot and sunny, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from vehicle emissions react and produce low-level ozone that dramatically reduces air quality precisely when the weather is good and people are outside taking advantage of this. So with summer around the corner taking Metro never made more sense. To see some more detail on the environmental value of transit and Metro to the region check out the details here Making the Case for Transit: WMATA Regional Benefits of Transit Report.

This post forms part of a series featuring content from Metro’s Sustainability Agenda, part of Metro’s Sustainability Initiative.