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Transit Usage in Arlington

Growth in bus ridership is signficiantly exceeding population and employment growth, particuarly for ART

Description

Photo: ART busTransit usage in Arlington includes both ridership on Arlington's local bus service, ART, and the average weekday boardings in Arlington of Metrorail and Metrobus service. ART ridership is measured as annual unlinked passenger trips, which counts each time a passenger boards a bus, regardless of whether they are on the same trip but transferring buses.8 ART ridership is compared with ART's annual vehicle revenue hours, a measure of how much bus service is available. Vehicle revenue hours are the hours a bus travels while serving passengers.9 Metrorail and Metrobus data is the average number of people who enter an Arlington Metrorail Station or board a Metrobus in Arlington on a weekday.

Why is This Measure Important?

An increase in the use of both local transit options and long-distance commuter transit options indicates that ACCS is meeting its goal of shifting commuters from drive alone to transit and other commute options.

Current Status10

Arlington County's local bus service, ART, has seen a dramatic increase in ridership. The number of unlinked passenger trips increased from nearly 675,000 in FY2004 to over 2.6 million in FY2013, an increase of nearly 300 percent. ART ridership has far outpaced population growth (just over 14,000 new residents) and employment growth (just over 32,000 new workers) during this same period. From FY2004 to FY2010 (the latest year for which data is available), revenue service hours only increased by 33 percent. Many more people are using ART per revenue service hour today than they were just a few years ago. This increase has occurred in part due to of Arlington's initiatives to restructure ART's routes to better serve the community and ACCS' work promoting local transit options. While Metrobus and Metrorail have performed well over the last decade, usage has not expanded as dramatically as it has for ART.

Endnotes

8Definition adapted from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics Dictionary.
9Definition adapted from the National Transit Database Glossary.
10ART Unlinked Passenger Trips, Personal Communication with Arlington County, Department of Environment Services, Transit Bureau. Arlington Population and Employment Estimates, Planning Research and Analysis Team, Arlington Profiles – 2004-2013.