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Chapter 5, Part 1, ACCS Strategic Plan

This text-only version is offered as a more accessible alternative to this PDF document: Arlington County Commuter Services Transportation Demand Management Plan (PDF, 2.6 MB).

Text-Only Table of Contents


As ACCS looks ahead to the next six years, a variety of external factors, highlighted by Arlington County’s commitment to environmental, economic, and socio-demographic sustainability, will influence the organization’s ability to implement service changes and expand its reach.

From an environmental standpoint, Arlington’s population is projected to increase by over 28 percent by 2040. As the populations of seniors, millennials, and children change in the County, much of the challenge of how to efficiently move new residents on such a small piece of land will fall with ACCS. ACCS’ commitment to improve air quality by reducing vehicle miles traveled will also be of prime importance as Arlington welcomes new transportation network users.

Economically, Arlington’s office sector has struggled in recent years, leading to higher than desirable vacancy rates. Programs such as ATP will inherit the challenge of attracting and retaining more employers with the lure of effective and meaningful employer services. ACCS can work alongside Arlington Economic Development (AED) to achieve this goal.

Socio-demographically, although Arlington is a relatively affluent community, the need to serve the County’s underrepresented groups – such as low-income and minority residents as well as single-parent households with children, which represent nearly half of all County households with children – should increasingly inform ACCS’ suite of initiatives. Moreover, as housing and transportation costs alike increase, Arlington is becoming an increasingly expensive place to live. Through its programming, ACCS should remain sensitive to these issues and continue to equally serve all of the County’s residents and visitors.

ACCS will also need to consider regional transportation trends and changes in service infrastructure. Major projects such as the I-395 Express Lanes Extension could alter hundreds of daily commutes, as could a growing push toward flexible transit services. Efforts to encourage the use of WMATA’s Metrorail service, which has fallen out of favor with many residents, could prove crucial to the management of future travel demand. SafeTrack, Metro’s temporal campaign to improve passenger safety, has resulted in consistent service disruptions and may ultimately give way to permanent service changes on nights and weekends. Should such changes occur, ACCS may need to adapt its messaging accordingly. For example, as bike usage has increased during SafeTrack, the organization can continue to support this trend through BikeArlington programming and increased promotion of Capital Bikeshare.

ACCS’ ability to adapt and grow in harmony with technology and innovation trends in transportation will also be vital to its success. The prevalence and popularity of transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft in Greater Washington poses several particularly challenging questions: how can ACCS best promote TNCs? Should TNC usage be encouraged as a first or last mile service or for entire trips? Should ACCS work with TNCs to subsidize services or merely ensure that users are familiar with options? In seeking to define and develop its role in this realm, ACCS can initiate pilot programs with on-demand companies, perhaps even in partnership with other Arlington bureaus or agencies.

Finally, as ACCS anticipates FY2018 and beyond, the bureau must continually evaluate its management and staffing situation. ACCS should assess its positioning to address the aforementioned trends as well as whether certain funding sources will carry into the future or require replacement. In the spirit of continuing to address all travel needs other than driving alone, the organization must revisit its operating priorities and relationships with other governmental and non-governmental groups in Arlington. A holistic approach to operations will drive the excellent customer service for which the organization is known. Lastly, ACCS’ capability to monitor the implementation of its programs and initiatives will provide continual feedback on the success of its services.

With these factors in mind, this chapter describes 11 Priority Strategies that ACCS staff developed to guide the organization’s programming over the next six years. Each Priority Strategy houses unfunded expansion programs to be carried out during the period spanning FY2018 through FY2023. Following a discussion of the rationale of each Priority Strategy, expansion programs – along with staffing needs, cost estimates, and relevant DRPT TDM categories – are listed.


ACCS staff developed and refined 11 Priority Strategies to guide the organization’s programming during the FY2018 through FY2023 timeframe and beyond. These Priority Strategies were developed to allow ACCS to respond both to immediate needs in the community and to a rapidly changing environment. During FY2018, ACCS business units will each endeavor to tailor their existing activities, and pursue any new activities that may be planned (grant funded or within the existing budget) to serve these priority strategies.

All Priority Strategies, along with a rationale and description, are outlined in this section. Each Priority Strategy is succeeded by a table listing relevant unfunded expansion programs, cost estimates by year, staffing needs, and relevant DRPT TDM categories. The TDM categories applicable to each expansion are demarcated in the final column of each table using the key shown in Figure 3. Relevant categories are highlighted in blue; inapplicable categories are shown in gray.

1.  Strengthen Arlington’s Regional Competitiveness

Support and enhance Arlington County’s regional competitiveness through new and expanded partnerships with government and business organizations who work to achieve economic and environmental sustainability for the County.

Rationale: ACCS’ TDM program has contributed to Arlington County being a community with many affordable transportation options for its residents, workers and visitors, and has made Arlington a competitive place to live and work. With a 25 percent population increase and 20 percent employment increase anticipated in the County by 2030, ACCS will need to work with many different government and business partners to extend the reach of its services to new members of the community. While ACCS already works with many partners to reach the public, it will need to expand these working relationships while establishing new ones, seeking to educate and inform new customers.

As part of this strategy and to offset perceptions that Arlington is neither competitive with nor as affordable as other areas, ACCS will be partnering with Arlington Economic Development (AED) to create a joint regional connectivity strategy and implementation plan to assist the Arlington business community with workforce retention efforts. Approximately 82 percent of Arlington’s daily at-place workforce lives outside Arlington County. With advancing changes in the regional transportation infrastructure and the advent of tolling on the I-66 travel corridor, challenges for commuters to Arlington County will be paramount. Elements of the connectivity initiative will include:

•    Increased support for business leaders to spread awareness and understanding of multi-modal transportation assistance available to them via Arlington Transportation Partners;
•    Communication of multi-modal transportation benefit programs for employers’ workforces; and
•    Education of workers regarding their many transportation options to help ease their commute and travel concerns.

ACCS will also partner with Arlington Public Schools (APS), who are planning to add many new school facilities to accommodate population growth. ACCS has been working on an expanded partnership with APS as part of a larger County-wide effort to foster the use of transit and other TDM services to reduce single occupancy vehicle commuting by school staff.  ACCS will seek to identify new opportunities to strengthen existing partnerships as well as begin new partnerships to foster the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the County. The unfunded expansion programs for this Priority Strategy are summarized in Table 26.

Table 26: Priority Strategy 1 Expansion Programs

Expansion Program Cost FY18

Cost FY19

Cost FY20 Cost FY21 Cost FY22 Cost FY23 Staffing Needs
With Arlington Economic Development, create an implementation plan to assist the Arlington business community with workforce retention efforts. $60,000 $- $-   $- $- Consultant
Expand partnership with Arlington Public Schools to foster and encourage greater use of TDM services. $200,000 $208,000 $216,320 $224,973 $233,972 $243,331 Consultant
Expand residential property partner outreach to encourage greater use of TDM and transportation options by residents. $- $150,000 $156,000 $162,240 $168,730 $175,479 Consultant
Enhance TDM services for tourists. $- $- $- $- $150,000 $156,000 Consultant/ 1 ACCS Staff

2.  Reduce Single Occupant Vehicle (SOV) Usage

Reduce commuting by single occupant vehicles in neighborhoods and occupational sectors with above average use and in high growth corridors.

Rationale: While ACCS services have contributed to Arlington County having the lowest modal share of SOV commuters in Virginia (54 percent), several employment sectors in the County have much higher SOV use. Most notably, 88 percent of Arlington Public School (APS) employees drive alone to work. In addition, several corridors such as Columbia Pike and the Jefferson Davis Corridor are growing at a rapid pace, raising the concern that developments in these growth corridors may generate higher SOV use. ACCS will work closely with APS, the County government, business organizations, and neighborhoods in growth corridors to educate, promote and support efforts that result in greater use of TDM services and a reduction in overall vehicle use. Table 27 summarizes the expansion programs associated with this Priority Strategy.

Table 27: Priority Strategy 2 Expansion Programs

Expansion Program Cost FY18 Cost FY19 Cost FY20 Cost FY21 Cost FY22 Cost FY23 Staffing Needs
Expand the Vanpool Connect Program through the use of technology and regional partnerships. $210,000 $218,400 $227,136 $236,221 $245,670 $255,497 Consultant
Increase TDM marketing to single family residential neighborhoods. $- $- $100,000 $104,000 $108,160 $112,486 1 ACCS Staff
Support and update the CarFree AtoZ application to ensure its continued usage and relevance to the market. $25,000 $26,000 $27,040 $28,122 $29,246 $30,416 Consultant
Expand the use of the CarFree AtoZ survey capability to Arlington employers and to support regional TDM programs. $- $150,000 $- $- $- $- Consultant
Develop mitigation measures to offset the adverse impacts on traffic from the expansion of I-66 and I-395 and the conversion to HOT lanes. $175,000 $182,000 $189,280 $- $- $- Consultant
Develop a complimentary Arlington Transportation Partners advanced achievement program for outcome based attainments that demonstrate pre-determined reductions in single occupant vehicle use.    $- $- $75,000 $78,000 $81,120 $84,365 Consultant

3.  Advance Equity in the Use of Transportation Options

Increase employee and resident use of transit, walking, bikesharing, biking, and ridesharing through targeted employer outreach, education, and promotion for minority, low-income, and senior populations.

Rationale:  In recent years, through programs such as Hispanic Marketing, Retail Partners, and a new pilot Capital Bikeshare Community Partners Program offering discounted membership and extended free time to low income individuals, ACCS has actively sought to broaden the user communities that its services reach. In addition, seniors do not participate in the use of TDM services to the same extent as others and have obstacles to their use not faced by other demographic groups in the County. ACCS will look to build upon existing efforts to increase participation of these groups with new neighborhood initiatives and research to better understand the barriers to use and to further the reach of its information and education services. Table 28 summarizes the expansion programs housed within this Priority Strategy.

Table 28: Priority Strategy 3 Expansion Programs

Expansion Program Cost FY18 Cost FY19 Cost FY20 Cost FY21 Cost FY22 Cost FY23 Staffing Needs
Develop a multi-modal community partners equity program to foster greater use of TDM services and transportation options by low-income and minority communities. $200,000 $208,000 $216,320 $224,973 $233,972 $243,331 Consultant /
1 ACCS Staff
Develop educational and informational campaigns for seniors and persons aging in place. $150,000 $156,000 $- $- $- $- Consultant /
1 ACCS Staff
Develop payment mechanisms and convenient payment options for those who are unbanked or are partially banked. $- $- $- $- $350,000 $- Consultant
Expand ACCS's Predictable-Alert-Lawful (PAL) safety program. $- $50,000 $52,000 $54,080 $56,243 $58,493 Consultant /
1 ACCS Staff

4.  Expand ACCS’ Organizational Capacity

Increase ACCS’ financial and organizational capabilities during a period of rapid growth in the use of its TDM services.

Rationale: Over the past few years, ACCS has seen a constant increase in the use of its services, including additional Commuter Stores® customers, ATP clients and Champions businesses, vanpools formed via the Vanpool Connect program, and more. Bicycling has also grown to include ten Arlington Bike to Work Day pit stops, including 1,000 registrations in Rosslyn. Capital Bikeshare usage has increased in Arlington by a greater percentage than the system as a whole: from January 2014 to October 2016, Arlington saw a 45 percent increase in annual members and a 22 percent increase in trips from its stations. By comparison, the entire Capital Bikeshare system has had a 30 percent growth in annual membership and a 12 percent increase in trips. Since FY2015, the number of planned, new construction, and existing TDM for Site Plan Development properties has increased from 170 to 216, meaning that 46 additional properties have had site plan requirements created, implemented, and verified.   

In addition, technology-based service offerings have increased through new tools such as Car Free A-to-Z and Car-Free-Near-Me, as well as static and real-time traveler information screens, increased transit marketing, new Hispanic and Ethiopian services, and an expanded partnership with APS. At the same time, ACCS has addressed new challenges, from finding ways to adapt new technologies and on demand services for the benefit of Arlington residents and businesses, to responding to disruptions in Metrorail services from planned and unplanned events and programs such as SafeTrack. Further challenges, such as the expansion of I-66 to include new High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes and a similar institution of HOT lanes on I-395, lie ahead.

Since FY2010, ACCS has been operating with the same complement of staff and nearly the same static sources and amounts of funding. As ACCS deploys new technologies and strategies to accommodate the challenges and opportunities ahead, and with the projected growth in population and jobs, new institutional capabilities must be developed alongside expanded sources of funding and staffing. For example, new technologies and shared use services require greater policy focus on how to integrate these new developments into our transportation system to gain the greatest return on investment and offer the highest value to our taxpayers and customers. New staff focused on policy will be required. Staffing for partnerships and concentrated outreach will be required to provide full-time support to the growing number of collaborations in which ACCS is becoming involved. As the Northern Virginia region identifies issues that can only be addressed through regional approaches, ACCS must focus more of its time on regional collaboration. More fundamentally, ACCS will consider how all discrete services may need to be integrated to provide its customers with easier access to its services. Finally, ACCS will be reaching out to its current and new funding partners to seek additional support as well as to identify new opportunities for revenue generation. Table 29 summarizes the expansion programs associated with this Priority Strategy.

Table 29: Priority Strategy 4 Expansion Programs

Expansion Program Cost FY18 Cost FY19 Cost FY20 Cost FY21 Cost FY22 Cost FY23 Staffing Needs
Conduct leadership training for ACCS senior staff. $15,000 $15,600 $16,224 $16,873 $17,548 $18,250 Consultant /
3 ACCS Staff
Conduct an ACCS organizational study and analysis to identify improvements in organizational productivity. $- $- $90,000 $- $- $- Consultant /
3 ACCS Staff

5.  Extend the Reach of TDM

Expand the number of residents and businesses who benefit from Arlington County’s affordable transportation options through new and expanded services.

Rationale: ACCS reaches many residents and businesses in Arlington with its information services and outreach activities. By 2040, Arlington’s preliminary estimate shows that population and jobs are expected to grow by 36 percent. In order to maintain and expand upon the reach of ACCS’s services, it will be necessary to upgrade and expand our services to keep up with the expected demand, ensure that our facilities are in a state of good repair, and maintain a high level of customer service. Further, a good portion of the County’s expected growth is along Arlington’s three major growth corridors: Rosslyn-Ballston, Route 1, and Columbia Pike. ACCS will collaborate with various parties – both internal and external – to develop effective tools and services to ensure that congestion does not overtake growth in these areas. Table 30 summarizes the expansion programs associated with this Priority Strategy.

Table 30: Priority Strategy 5 Expansion Programs

Expansion Program Cost FY18 Cost FY19 Cost FY20 Cost FY21 Cost FY22 Cost FY23 Staffing Needs
Purchase a new Mobile Commuter Store to serve the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor in conjunction with the I-66 expansion and HOT Lanes project. $350,000 $- $- $- $- $- Consultant
Open and operate new brick and mortar Commuter Stores at Pentagon City and on Columbia Pike. $- $500,000 $260,000 $500,000 $281,212 $292,465 Consultant /
2 ACCS Staff
Upgrade two existing mobile Commuter Stores. $150,000 $- $- $- $- $- Consultant /
1 ACCS Staff

6.  Integrate First Mile/Last Mile Technologies and Services

Adapt new information technologies and technology-enabled, on-demand services to expand transportation choices and support their use.

Rationale: Over the last few years, information technologies and new disruptive, on-demand services have created a major transformation in how services operate. The private sector has become a focus of new types of services featuring technology platforms that cater to real-time and personalized requests for service through smartphones.  These changes have presented opportunities to adapt new technologies to improve service to communities that lack adequate fixed route transit or frequent and relevant transit services. ACCS will seek to work with Arlington Transit (ART) to integrate these new types of services into the existing transit network to serve as a first mile/last mile solution for communities that have high vehicle usage and/or communities where existing transit services are infrequent or do not provide connections for residents’ needs.

In addition, new types of information technologies with real-time arrival and departure capabilities, some coupled with trip planning and payment capabilities, are becoming available for smartphone and other uses.  ACCS has been at the forefront of adapting these technologies to its TDM services, including developing a smartphone app for its CarFree AtoZ multimodal trip planning service.  ACCS also offers its CarFree Near Me online service that provides real-time transit, carsharing and bikesharing information. ACCS will seek to update, integrate and further expand the utilization of these technologies throughout the County. Table 31 summarizes the expansion programs associated with this Priority Strategy.

Table 31: Priority Strategy 6 Expansion Programs

Expansion Program Cost FY2018 Cost FY2019 Cost FY2020 Cost FY2021 Cost FY2022 Cost FY2023 Staffing Needs
Hire a Chief Innovation Officer to foster the development of new services and technologies in collaboration with the public and private sectors as well as with internal County partners. $200,000 $208,000 $216,320 $224,973 $233,972 $243,331 Consultant
Plan and implement pilot projects in neighborhoods with unmet travel needs.   $- $1,000,000 $- $500,000 $- Consultant

This text-only version is offered as a more accessible alternative to this PDF document: Arlington County Commuter Services Transportation Demand Management Plan (PDF, 2.6 MB).

Text-Only Table of Contents

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