Posts Tagged ‘maps’

Final Draft Silver Line Metrorail Map for Review

May 23rd, 2013 63 comments

We are down to the final two!  Based on extensive customer feedback from the latest map revisions, we made some additional improvements to the map:

  • Added the Metro Transit Police phone number;
  • Made the rail lines 24% thinner;
  • Added the Anacostia National Park;
  • Included a note that the map is not to scale;
  • Placed a darkened Silver Line between the Blue and Orange lines; and
  • Lightened the Beltway and jurisdiction borders.

We are now down to selecting the icon to represent a three-line station.  When we asked for feedback in the last round, some of you said that you didn’t like the idea of a completely new, third type of icon on the map (i.e., the capsule).  Others said you liked the capsule, but it was too thin.  It was recommended that we try to make the capsule the same width as the current station dot, but stretch it into an oval.
After reviewing your comments, Lance Wyman went back to his drawing board and came up with these two options:

  • Map #1: Retains the current station dot with thin, white extenders
  • Map #2: Stretches the current station dot into an oval

Take a look at these final versions and let us know which one you prefer. All comments welcome!  Please provide feedback in the comments section below or on our MindMixer site.   Thank you for your input.

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Categories: Engage Tags: , , ,

Updated Draft Silver Line Metrorail Map for Review

May 2nd, 2013 73 comments

The Silver Line is coming soon, so Metro and original Metrorail map designer Lance Wyman are updating the current map.  Based on extensive customer feedback from the last map revision, we made some general improvements such as making street abbreviations consistent and improving the geographic accuracy of the stations where possible.  Cross streets will remain on the large version of the maps in stations and on trains, where it is most useful for customers as they are traveling on Metro. But in the interest of readability and streamlining, we will keep cross streets off smaller versions of the map often found online and in printed materials.

The first draft of the map (Map 1) also featured 14 percent thinner lines to help readability, now that the Silver Line will travel through DC, and a new station icon with lines that extended across all three rail colors.  This version also included the new Silver Line station names for Phase 1.

When we asked for feedback on the draft earlier this year, here’s what you told us: try even thinner lines, explore other station dot options, and “Center” and “Heights” should not be abbreviated.

So here are two new maps for your review.  In both maps, “Center” and “Heights” are no longer abbreviated.  Map 1 below is an update of the previous draft, with slightly longer “whiskers”.  Map 2 incorporates some additional changes:

  • 24 percent thinner lines, and
  • the use of a capsule-shaped station icon.

Please compare the two maps, visible below, and let us know which one you prefer.

To compare the maps, slide the vertical bar across the image to show the differences between Map 1  and Map 2.  Further below you will find a zoom-in of both maps, also with the vertical slider bar for easy comparison.

All comments welcome!  Please comment below or on our  MindMixer site.  Also, check out Greater Greater Washington’s coverage of the updated map.  Thank you for your input.




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Categories: In The News Tags: , ,

Metro Anchors the Region’s Growth

February 14th, 2013 Comments off

Regional Activity Centers in the core jurisdictions served by high-quality Metro service. Click the image for a full regional map.

Of the 120 COG regional activity centers in the Metro Compact Jurisdictions, 81 are now or will soon be served by high quality Metro transit, either Metrorail or the Metrobus Priority Corridor Network (PCN). That means that two-thirds of these activity centers are primed to support transit-oriented developments. The map above illustrates the activity centers in the core jurisdictions and their level of transit service. Click the image  for a full regional map.

Some jurisdictions have placed a greater emphasis on high-quality transit service when deciding upon areas to designate as regional activity centers.  The chart below shows the total number of activity centers per jurisdiction and the percentage served by Metrorail and/or the PCN.  The core jurisdictions (the District, Arlington and Alexandria) each have over 80% of their activity centers served by high-quality Metro transit.  The beltway jurisdictions (Montgomery, Prince George’s and Fairfax counties) have between 48% and 70% of their activity centers served.   Loudoun County, soon to be added to the compact with two activity centers receiving Metrorail service when the Metrorail to Dulles Phase II comes online, has the lowest percentage of activity centers served by Metro.

The relationship between regional activity and high-quality transit is no accident.  Economic activity gravitates towards areas of greater accessibility, including Metrorail station areas and commercial corridors — once streetcar routes — currently served by Metrobus. However, transit service can also be extended to areas of economic activity which developed due to good highway accessibility, such as Tysons Corner.

As the local jurisdictions continue to focus population and employment growth into these areas, Metro and other regional transit operators are working to connect them to the regional core and to one another through high-quality transit.  It is clear from the current levels of highway congestion that Metropolitan Washington needs more high-quality Metro service (bus and rail) in order to support the growth anticipated over the next 25 years.

One goal of Momentum, Metro’s strategic planning process, is increasing regional mobility and connecting communities.

About the COG Activity Centers

The activity centers list, recently updated by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), describes where the local jurisdictions plan to focus household and job growth in order to support regional goals of transit-friendly development patterns and sustainability. This updated list includes 120 activity centers within the Metro Compact Jurisdictions (including Loudoun County) and additional 19 within the COG planning area not served by Metro, including Charles, Frederick and Prince William Counties, and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park.

Categories: Impact Tags: , , , , ,

Transit Network Design Course Highlights

February 7th, 2013 6 comments

On January 17th and 18th, two staffers from Metro’s Office of Planning attended a two day transit network design course, offered by long time transit planning consultant, transit blogger and now author, Jarrett Walker.  In transit planning circles, Walker’s recent efforts, culminating with “Human Transit,” have been very well regarded.  For many planners, his book has been a breath of fresh air in helping to demystify how complex transit offerings can be made more simple, customer focused, effective, and useful for everyday city life.  Many planners have an appreciation of the attention he has given to linguistics, and how word choice (i.e., the use of “transfer” vs. “connection” or “transit route” vs. “transit line”) can subtly reinforce or undermine certain collective beliefs about the usefulness of transit, or anything else for that matter.

The participants in the DC course were fairly diverse, although all of those in attendance had a vested interest in transit in some way.  Among these were urban planners, consultants, advocates, and transit planners, among others.  Care was taken to ensure that each working group had a included at least one transit professional mixed with other disciplines and backgrounds in order to facilitate a balanced discussion. Read more…

Categories: In The News Tags: , ,

Chart of the Week: Visualize One Day of Metro and Circulator

November 19th, 2012 3 comments

This great video shows one day’s worth of Metrorail, Metrobus and DC Circulator moving across the region.Metrobus and Circulator are both shown as white dots, while the Metrorail dots are keyed to line color.

The video should be viewed in full screen mode in order to really see Metrorail.

This video was created using the data from the Metro GTFS data feed by STLTransit, who have made similar videos for a variety of other cities.

Metrobus System Map Redesign

September 19th, 2012 86 comments

Ask anyone in the transit industry, from any country or any city, and they’ll be quick to tell you that WMATA’s bus system is one of the most complex in the world.  So many lines, so many routes, so many variations, so many streets, so many buses!  It really all speaks to the great lengths that Metro takes to ensure premium bus service is provided to its many customers spanning a vast service area. As you might expect, if such a system has been coined complex by transit industry “experts,” then surely the system would be thought complex by the average bus customer.  Therein lies the challenge:how do you take this complex, complicated, extensive bus network and relay it to customers in a clear, simple, yet fairly detailed manner?  Well, there’s not just one answer to that question.  But, one of the main tools Metro uses to inform bus customers of their travel options is the Metrobus System Route Map.

The current pair of System Route Maps, DC/MD (PDFs) and DC/VA (PDF), display the travel patterns for each Metrobus route in each jurisdiction (MD, DC, VA). In short, they answer the question, “How can I get there on the bus?”  These geographically detailed maps chart out the complex routes Metrobus travels, leading customers from the origin to the destination of their trip, calling out street names, shared routes, schools and points of interest along the way.

Subset of the previous DC Metrobus map showing northeast DC

While these maps have served their purpose over the years in acclimating customers to Metro’s bus network, there is room for improvement.  For instance, while the current system maps display all the bus service for Metro, there is no consideration given to frequency of service, i.e. how often a bus runs.  This could cause problems in that while the map might show that a bus route services a particular area, it does not relay information that the bus might only service that area during the a.m. rush or on the weekend.  In addition, while the maps are geographically detailed, this detail comes at a high price; cluttering the map with many lines in many directions that make it difficult for customers to follow along and actually trace the pattern of the route they need.

These and other deficiencies in the current system map have been the impetus for WMATA looking into different ways to illustrate our bus service.  In November of 2010, Metro’s Office of Long Range Planning released a draft “Metrobus High-Frequency Corridors Map” on this site, to gather feedback on how we might better explain our complicated bus system to users.  The feedback received was incorporated into additional planning work on a Metrobus map design.

Following extensive design work, Metro is pleased to announce revised draft system maps that more clearly depict bus routes and delineate frequency of service, all part of our ever evolving efforts to provide richer and clearer travel information to our customers.  Click the links below to view samples of the new maps. Feel free to give us your feedback, and note that these maps will be revised based on feedback from customers.


Subset of new draft DC Metrobus map showing northeast DC.


Below, you will find some key features of the system map redesign: Read more…

Categories: Planning Studies Tags: ,

RTSP Rail Enhancement Strategy: Interline Connections and Station Improvements

February 16th, 2011 7 comments

The purpose of this strategy is to allow different rail lines to operate on the same track.  This type of operation can help reduce capacity constraint on some lines and provide new connections between existing Metrorail lines.

The four interline connections proposed include:

1) Connect Orange and Blue at Rosslyn
2) Connect Yellow and Blue at Pentagon
3) Connect Yellow and Green near L’Enfant Plaza
4) Connect Orange and Silver near West Falls Church

Some benefits of these interline connections include:

  1. Orange/Silver-Blue inter-lining south of Rosslyn to allow a Silver Line running between the two airports
    1. BENEFIT: Faster trip to Ballston, Tysons and airports within Virginia
  2. Blue-Yellow inter-lining north of Pentagon to allow I-66 corridor rail lines going through 14th Street Bridge
    1. BENEFIT: Utilize throughput capacity on 14th Street Bridge
  3. Yellow-Green inter-lining south of L’Enfant Plaza to allow a Yellow Line split to Anacostia/Navy Yard
    1. BENEFIT:  Allow direct access between Anacostia and southern Maryland to job sites in southern Arlington and the City of Alexandria.

Additionally, this strategy will explore the benefits of making improvements to several of the system’s core stations:

  1. Pedestrian tunnel between Farragut North and Farragut West;
  2. Pedestrian tunnel between Metro Center and Gallery Place;
  3. Increase amount of vertical capacity at Union Station;
  4. Increase transfer capacity at the three core transfer stations:  Metro Center, Gallery Place and L’Enfant Plaza
Categories: Strategies Tags: , , , ,

Can the Regional Transit System Plan Move the “Region Forward”

February 2nd, 2011 3 comments

Will the regional transit system be up to the challenge of meeting the Transportation Planning Board (TPB) Vision’s objectives and the Greater Washington 2050 Coalition Region Forward’s targets, especially for a higher transit mode share in 2040?

Image from

In early 2010, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments endorsed Region Forward.  It includes goals, objectives and targets for the metropolitan area in 2050, relating to accessibility, sustainability, prosperity and livability. Transportation is one of nine categories among its goals, and the transportation targets draw heavily from the TPB Vision that was adopted in 1998. The Regional Transit System Plan (RTSP) is intended to help develop strategies to achieve Region Forward’s goals, objectives and targets. Several of these targets are focused on transit, and are compatible with the goals of the RTSP. What follows is a listing of Region Forward’s transit-focused goals, and how a future including an implemented RTSP may help achieve them.

Priority for management, performance, maintenance, and safety

This target echoes an objective in the TPB Vision and is intended to insure that investment in existing transportation infrastructure continues as a top priority. For example, Virginia’s funding for roads follows this philosophy, by funding road maintenance and operations off the top of revenues. That philosophy would be advantageous for transit, too, so that investments in new infrastructure wouldn’t result in disinvestment in the existing bus and rail infrastructure that continues to be needed.

RTSP is evaluating an “Enhanced Surface Transit” strategy, in which the  network of 24 Metrobus Priority Corridors (PCN’s) are enhanced with bus priority treatments, intended to increase performance of surface transit service in the region while reducing overall operating costs. The RTSP will also look into new surface transit connections with an eye towards interoperability, which would help reduce costs of managing and maintaining different new light rail and streetcar systems. Read more…

Metrobus Bus Stop Consolidation Program

January 3rd, 2011 6 comments

As bus service providers, we must wrestle with often-conflicting goals: providing fast, yet accessible, bus service.   Our customers expect that once they are on the bus, the service will be fast and reliable, but that when they want to board the bus, a stop will be as close to their origin or destination as possible.

Metro often receives complaints that our buses stop every block, making travel times slow.  And with stops on virtually every block, it is difficult for our schedulers to accurately determine how often the bus will stop, making the establishment of time points for accurate scheduling more art than science.

However, most times when we propose to remove an underused or poorly placed stop, the few people using the stop will mobilize, often lobbying their elected officials to have it reinstalled.  Everyone wants faster service; they just don’t want it at the expense of their stop.

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Categories: Planning Studies Tags: , ,

Metro’s Planning, from the Beginning

December 22nd, 2010 Comments off

In 1967, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority was created under a 1966 interstate compact encompassing the District of Columbia and portions of the State of Maryland and Commonwealth of Virginia, for the purpose of planning, financing, constructing, and operating a comprehensive mass transit system for the Washington Metropolitan Region.  According to Article VI of the Compact the Board shall develop and adopt, and may from time to time review and revise, a mass transit plan for the immediate and long-range needs of the compact region.

An early plan of the Metrorail system, from the online exhibit, Building the Washington Metro.

The Compact guided the development of the original Adopted Regional System (ARS) in 1968, designed to serve the region as forecast for 1990.  Zachary M. Schrag, author of The Great Society Subway, hosts a website including maps and photos of the ARS, as well as an historical account of the building of Metrorail.  As planning and engineering continued over the next 20-plus years, the ARS was reviewed and revised, consistent with the Compact.  By the mid-1990s, planning had been completed for the ARS.  Metro began to look at transit needs beyond those for which the original system had been planned, and to look at a much larger region, as forecast for 2025.   Metro’s latest long-range system plan — the Transit Service Expansion Plan— was adopted in 1999.

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