Learn about the six alternatives
Maps and summary profiles are available for each of the six alternatives. When reviewing this information and providing feedback through the online survey, please consider these alternatives from the perspective of what's best for the region as a whole and which would best meet the study's four goals.
Understanding how each alternative would meet the four goals
Metro undertook a performance assessment and cost-benefit analysis (CBA) that measures how well each alternative would meet the four goals, and how they compare against each other in terms of costs and benefits. The CBA assigned each alternative a score and rank in two categories: relative Benefits and Cost-Effectiveness, based on performance on 14 performance measures directly linked to the four BOS transit goals. For more detail on the CBA/performance assessment, see this section below and the BOS Alternatives Evaluation Report.
The remainder of this page includes descriptions and conceptual maps of each alternative, their key benefits and limitations, and results from the CBA/performance assessment. This information is also summarized in a set of alternative profiles and in a short video about each alternative.
Explore the alternatives:
Comparing the alternatives using a Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA)
The two tables below show how the alternatives compare in terms of meeting the four goals, their relative scores in the cost-benefit analysis, and other important metrics such as projected new transit trips, new annual fare revenue, estimated construction costs, and estimated annual costs for operations and maintenance. See the BOS Alternatives Evaluation Report for full detail on the CBA and performance assessment.
Based on the cost-benefit analysis, the Blue Line to National Harbor alternative would provide the highest level of benefits and would be the second most cost-effective of the five build alternatives considered. This alternative would extend Metrorail service into new markets and areas targeted for growth and development, such as Waterfront, Buzzard Point, St. Elizabeths, and National Harbor. It would also provide two new transfer stations at Capitol South and Navy Yard, which would reduce crowding at existing transfer stations, increase system resiliency, and improve customers' ability to travel both north-south and east-west. It would also expand new access to high-capacity transit and economic opportunities to the greatest number of Equity Emphasis Areas.
The Rail Optimization and Bus Service Alternative would provide relatively few benefits above the No-Build future, but it would be the most cost-effective option. This is largely due to a much lower estimated construction cost than the rail build alternatives (approximately $3-$5 billion vs. $25-$35 billion). However, it must be noted that this alternative's ability to meet the four study goals depends entirely upon heavy investments in bus prioritization strategies by cities and counties, as well as the willingness of thousands of peak-hour commuters to switch from rail to competitive bus alternatives.
Alternative development and evaluation materials
- BOS Study Brochure - This quick reference guide to the BOS Study contains an overview of the study goals, the final six proposed alternatives and how each alternative performed in the cost-benefit analysis.
- Large-Format Alternative Maps - These maps are larger, high-resolution versions of the maps for each alternative.
- BOS Study Purpose and Need Report - This report summarizes the key issues identified in the BOS corridor, the project's purpose and need, and the project's goals and objectives.
- BOS Alternatives Development Report - This report describes the alternatives development process, including identification of a full 'universe' of potential options and the screening process used to narrow those options to the final six alternatives under consideration.
- BOS Alternatives Evaluation Report - This report assesses the relative benefits and cost-effectiveness of each alternative compared to the baseline future outcomes represented by the No-Build alternative.
- Public Engagement Report, Rounds 1 & 2 - This report communicates the community engagement strategies and tools used during the first two rounds of public engagement, as well as analysis and records of results.
Development of Alternatives
The four goals and an initial set of project ideas was presented to the public for feedback at open houses and through an online survey. More than 2,000 responses were collected, resulting in a total of 275 potential concepts.
Initial Alternatives and Screening
Based on the identified needs and goals, and informed by community partners and public feedback, those 275 project concepts were refined into 16 initial alternatives. Those 16 alternatives were then screened against a No-Build Alternative in the following order to consider whether and how each would:
- Serve BOS travel patterns and relieve projected passenger crowding
- Help attain the four identified goals
- Serve areas with projected population and employment densities suitable for Metrorail service
- Align with stakeholder and public feedback and comments
Only alternatives that passed each of the four screening questions were recommended for more detailed study and evaluation.
For more detailed information on the initial screening process, please click here.