About the Project

About the Project

Buses keep our region moving, providing more than 500,000 trips each day. Better Bus is an initiative to rethink, redesign, and revitalize bus service to better serve the needs of customers in the region. Through the Network Redesign, we're taking a fresh and detailed look at our bus service and routes to serve you better.

The Network Redesign effort will consider where, when, and how people travel in the region and result in a new network that better serves our communities, including the needs of essential workers. This process also will coordinate service with bus priority investments-like bus lanes and transit signal priority-across the region.

Watch this video to learn the A-B-C's of a bus network redesign and watch us unravel the mystery of creating a better bus for the DMV.

The Need for a Better Bus Network

The reasons for a Better Bus network include keeping up with our evolving region and the people that live here. It will also help to better connect people where they need to go, promote equity and create an east to use network, no matter where you are.

This project is the first comprehensive redesign of the entire Metrobus network since its creation. As part of the effort, Metro also will support its partner agency in Prince George's County (TheBus)  in redesigning their local bus network. It's an opportunity to achieve the following:

Keep up with our changing region and the people that live and work here. Our region adds approximately 3,000 people and 2,200 jobs, every month. Bus service needs to better align with changes to where and when people want to travel. Better Bus also will consider ways to align bus service with bus priority investments such as bus lanes and transit signal priority.

Better connect people to where they need to go. About half of our region lacks access to frequent transit service. Buses keep our region moving, but more and more often are getting stuck in traffic, making service slower and less reliable. Speeding up bus trips will help make it easier and faster for customers to get around the region.

Promote equity, inclusiveness, and access to opportunity. Half of Metrobus customers are low income, 1 and 84 percent are people of color. The redesign effort is an opportunity to create a more equitable transit network that serves our communities, including the needs of essential workers.

Create a network that is easy to use no matter where you are. In the Washington region, Metro operates about 200 Metrobus routes, while seven other transit providers operate another 250 bus routes. While that means lots of ways to get around, the overall system can be difficult to understand.

1 $30,000 annually or less

Getting to Better

The Network Redesign puts customers at the forefront. We are using data-driven analysis and a robust, interactive public engagement process to evaluate and make changes to Metrobus service. Throughout the process, we want to hear from customers and communities across the region.

We've broken up the project into three phases to ensure we are collaborating with customers and the community at key milestones of the process.

Phase 1 - Gather & Analyze Data and Set Goals & Priorities

We began in fall 2022 by setting goals and priorities for the new network. Your input combined with data about where, when, and how people use the bus today was used to help shape the draft Visionary Network in Phase 2. During this phase, we also created the technical and policy foundations needed for this project, including the following:

Market Assessment: Determined how well current bus service meets community needs and identified what customer trips could best be served by a redesigned transit network. We looked at travel patterns and demographic data that highlighted:

  • Areas with high likelihood to need and use transit
  • Gaps with low transit access to key destinations
  • Factors contributing to lower transit usage

Transit Service Assessment: Looked at how bus services operate today and identified specific opportunities for improvement by using data from existing and pre-COVID conditions to see how each route is performing in terms of ridership, reliability, cost-effectiveness, serving low-income customers and customers of color, and other metrics.

Development of Goals, Objectives, Metrics: After reviewing existing policies and previous plans, like the Bus Transformation Project and #YourMetro, The Way Forward, and incorporating priorities identified from customers, the community, and stakeholders through our engagement, we developed  goals,  objectives and metrics that will guide development of the new bus network.

Watch this video to learn three interesting tidbits we found from our analysis.

Phase 2 - Develop the Visionary Network

In spring 2023, a draft Visionary Network was presented for public and stakeholder feedback. The Visionary Network included changes to where routes can go, how often the bus arrives, and the times of day and week the bus operates. This network was created using public, stakeholder, and bus operator input; data and ridership analysis; and a travel demand assessment. The Visionary Network was designed to provide convenient, easy-to-use, reliable bus service that matches when and where people want to travel and increases access to opportunity for historically disenfranchised residents and communities. Feedback collected on this network is being used to develop an updated Visionary Network in Phase 3.

Phase 3 - Draft Year One and Revised Visionary Network

Having received your feedback on the Visionary Network, we are now developing two networks for review-a revised Visionary Network and a network that can be implemented right away that we're calling the Year One Network. These networks will be shared with the public in the spring of 2024 for comment.


We plan to recommend a Year One Network to Metro's Board of Directors in 2024. With approval, we will prepare to launch the Year One Network.

Watch this video to learn some insights behind the Better Bus Network Redesign and Metro's important collaboration with regional partners.

In addition to input from you, the project team is working with Metro staff, our frontline staff and bus operators who keep the region moving, and those representing the interests of customers and communities across the region and will continue to do so throughout the redesign effort. Each group has a slightly different role.

Community Connections Committee

The Community Connections Committee (CCC) represents the diversity of our communities and a variety of perspectives. CCC members hold leadership positions in community-based organizations, businesses and business groups, groups representing people of color and people with disabilities, labor organizations, advocacy groups, and others. Members of the CCC provide insight into the communities they represent related to bus service in the region and help extend the reach of our community engagement.

Watch this video to learn from community allies and advocates from across the region about how the Network Redesign will impact their neighborhoods and the people who live there.

Technical Committee

The project's Technical Committee (TC) includes staff who have firsthand understanding of all components of planning and operating bus service. The TC consists of Metro staff as well as staff from other transit service providers in the region. The TC meets and provides input at key milestones in the network redesign process.