Strategic Issues Facing Metro


New Metro Train

With Metro, the region works. However, the Metro system as it's designed today cannot meet the demands of the future. Over the next three decades, the National Capital Region is expected to face unprecedented growth, including a 30% increase in population and a 40% increase in employment. While growth will happen throughout the region, the greatest growth is expected to occur in the suburbs.

Even suburban growth adds pressure to the core of the Metro rail system, which is already strained. Platforms at major stations and trains during rush hour are crowded, reducing the reliability and comfort for our customers. Buses on many of our most popular lines are standing room only and often don't have enough remaining capacity to pick up customers at every stop. Throughout much of the region, buses sit in the same traffic as every automobile, reducing their speeds, reliability and competitiveness.

Today we depend on our riders, and our local and federal funding partners to support Metro. While we have always been able to count on our stakeholders support, too often it is a year-to-year struggle and the results are sometimes uncertain. To move successfully into the future, we need sufficient, secure, and reliable funding.

Other challenges and opportunities include:



  • The age of the system’s infrastructure and technology
  • Downtown core capacity constraints
  • Changing ridership and regional travel patterns
  • Funding uncertainty
  • Increasing impacts of traffic congestion on the bus system
  • Volatile and rising costs not directly controllable by Metro, such as energy/fuel, healthcare and pensions

"We are investing $5 billion to renew, improve and modernize the system."
– Richard Sarles, General Manager


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