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Thinking Outside the Car Public transits role in a balanced transportation system in Northern Virginia Christopher Zimmerman, Chairman Northern Virginia.

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Presentation on theme: "Thinking Outside the Car Public transits role in a balanced transportation system in Northern Virginia Christopher Zimmerman, Chairman Northern Virginia."— Presentation transcript:

1 Thinking Outside the Car Public transits role in a balanced transportation system in Northern Virginia Christopher Zimmerman, Chairman Northern Virginia Transportation Commission September 5, 2002

2 2 Overview 1. Public Transit and Ridesharing resources 2. Transit and HOV performance 3. NVTCs role in forging better connections between transit systems and other modes 4. How the commonwealth can help NVTC as it works for a better balanced transportation system

3 Public Transit and Ridesharing Resources

4 4 Interconnected Transit Systems SystemFleet size in Virginia Metrorail272 Metrobus341 VRE82 Fairfax Connector175 DASH49 CUE12 ART4 Loudoun Express and local11/37 PRTC OmniRide62 PRTC OmniLink16

5 5 Excellent HOV Facilities I-95/I-395 I-66 VA 267 Route 1 (Alexandria)

6 Transit and HOV Performance

7 7 Northern Virginias FY 2001 Average Weekday Transit Ridership SystemWeekday Riders Metrorail147,375 Metrobus73,206 Fairfax Connector22,537 Virginia Railway Express10,556 Alexandria DASH9,172 City of Fairfax CUE3,423 PRTC OmniRide3,234 PRTC OmniLink1,849 Loudoun Express730 Arlington ART588 Loudoun County Transportation Association450 Total273,120

8 8 Transit / HOV Mode Shares (by corridor) Measures transit performance where investments have been made. During peak hours, transit carries one-third of all commuters in the I-95/I-395/Route 1 corridor and two-thirds in the I-66 corridor. In no major Northern Virginia commuting corridors, during peak hours, do single occupant vehicles have a higher share than transit and ridesharing.

9 9 Transit/HOV Time Savings The Texas Transportation Institute reports the travel time indices for the I-66/I-95/I-395 HOV lanes are twice as good as the indices for the parallel conventional lanes. These times savings are important because the average peak hour commuter in our region experiences 84 hours of delay a year (third worst in the nation) at a cost of about $1,600.

10 10 Northern Virginia Travel Times by Mode I-95 Corridor: Dumfries to Washington, D.C. (30 miles) VDOT reports average VRE and HOV commuter travel times in the I-95 corridor are much better than travel by auto in the conventional lanes.

11 11 Transit Fuel Savings Using a conservative methodology, transit uses only half the fuel per passenger-mile traveled, compared to autos. In the Washington metropolitan region, transit saves 47.8 million gallons annually.

12 12 Transit Air Quality Benefits Transit in the Washington Metropolitan region saves… 3,040 metric tons of volatile organic compounds; 31,892 metric tons of carbon monoxide; 1,533 metric tons of oxides of nitrogen; 520,868 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

13 13 Putting things into perspective… To put these emission reductions into perspective, the region must reduce its NOx emissions in 2005 by about 1100 annual tons to meet the federal standards. Transit investments are prominently listed on the regions list of proposed mitigating measures.

14 14 Transit Investments Pay Off A NVTC study determined the rate of return on the commonwealths investments in Metrorail is over 19 percent annually, measured in tax revenues from induced economic activity.

15 15 Other Measures Safety – Transit beats autos in safety. Comfort – Lifestyle benefits. Reliability – Transit adheres to regular schedules and is generally less susceptible to massive delays due to traffic accidents and incidents.

16 NVTCs role in forging better connections between transit systems and other modes

17 17 NVTC Serves six local jurisdictions, covering 1,000 square miles with a population of 1.5 million. Appoints Virginias WMATA board members. Co-owns Virginia Railway Express (VRE). Obtains and allocates $100 million annually in transit assistance. Provides a policy forum for local/state elected officials.

18 18 Code Red Ozone Alert Free Bus Fares Region sets aside $75,000 per Code Red day for free bus fares. Part of overall strategy to meet federal clean air standards. Twelve Code Red free transit fare days so far in Summer, 2002 vs. five in NVTC manages funds, alerts public, promotes broader participation by transit systems.

19 19 Bus Fare Buydown $808,000 annual program reduces fares. – Originally to compensate for lost transit revenue due to relaxed HOV restrictions on I-66. Now boosts ridership in one corridor each year: – I-66 in 2001 – I-95/Springfield Mixing Bowl in 2002 – Dulles Corridor in 2003 – Route 1 in 2004

20 20 Corridor Studies NVTC managed a cooperative consulting study, identifying transit/pedestrian/HOV improvements in the Route 1 corridor (Fairfax/Prince William counties). Now being used to guide the VDOT center-line study. NVTC led the evaluation of ITS technologies in the Dulles corridor and produced a report that is guiding the use of these new technologies.

21 21 SmarTrip Fareboxes/ Clearinghouse NVTC represents six transit systems on WMATAs executive team. $5 million state/federal funded project. Installation of 370 fareboxes expected in early Negotiating memorandum of understanding for Clearinghouse executive management. Clearinghouse expected in November, 2003

22 22 Emergency Response NVTC assembled Northern Virginias transit operators shortly after 9/11. Solidified communication. Improved VDOTs policy on lifting HOV restrictions. Now part of ongoing regional emergency response planning at MWCOG.

23 23 NVTC Public Outreach Promoted transit safety and security response with radio ads and new web page at NVTCs new web presence at provides enhanced interactivity between NVTC and the public. The new site highlights: Information Research Events Legislative alerts

24 24 Virginia Railway Express (VRE) NVTC began working to create VRE in Service began in As co-owner, NVTC manages VREs state grants and audit. NVTCs balance sheet shows assets (including VRE) of a quarter billion dollars. VRE is renowned for its customer service innovations including Train Brain.

25 How the commonwealth can help NVTC as it works for a better balanced transportation system…

26 26 #1. Recognize Funding Disparities State reserves most revenue resources for itself. State funds a much higher percentage of road vs. transit projects. State doesnt meet its own limited funding goals for transit. NVTCs local governments $126 per capita for transit is four times greater than any other Virginia transit system. NVTCs governments provide 72 percent of local funds for transit statewide, but only receive 65 percent of state transit aid.

27 27 #2 NVTC is Short Changed In FY2003, total state aid to NVTC/VRE is $68.7 million – $49.9 million for FTM – $18.8 million for capital NVTC state aid shortfall = $75.4 million – $57.8 million FTM – $17.6 million capital The commonwealth does not meet its own statutory targets for sharing in transit investments with localities.

28 28 #3 All Transit in Virginia is shortchanged Total state transit aid = $97 million – $73.2 million for FTM – $24.2 million for capital State shortfall = $111 million – $81.8 million for FTM – $22.6 million for capital

29 29 Other ways the commonwealth can help… Create a six-year plan, with an emphasis on multi- modal systems, that is meaningful with an open/transparent process that allows local governments to respond before it is locked into place. Give the region equitable treatment. Give transit its fair share of any new revenues. Promptly issue bonds approved by the General Assembly for transit

30 30 Even more ways the commonwealth can help… Be an advocate for transit systems, their customers, and the local governments that must pay the lions share. Seek more transit funding in the federal TEA-21 reauthorization process. Encourage better cooperation and performance from the freight railroads hosting VRE. Above all, fully fund the existing state transit programs.


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