Escalator, Canopy and Elevator Projects

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Metro operates nearly 1,000 elevators and escalators, more than any other transit agency in North America. With thousands of customers traveling on each escalator every week, consistent upkeep is required to keep them in a state of good repair. As a result, we’re making major investments to rehabilitate and completely replace the oldest and least reliable escalators across the system.

In 2021, we kicked off a comprehensive project that will replace 130 escalators across 32 stations by 2028. This builds on our first ever escalator replacement project, which ran from 2011 to 2019 and delivered 145 brand new escalators. As a result of the 2011-2019 project we cut the average escalator age in half, from 27 years at the start of the project to 11.3 years by the end.

Since the current escalator replacement project began in 2021, we’ve replaced over two dozen units with brand new, modern escalators.

This video shows a timelapse of escalator replacement work at Huntington Station, completed in 2021.

Protecting Customers and Escalators from the Elements

Weather conditions impact more than customers’ commutes. They can also wreak havoc on escalator parts, requiring frequent repairs and replacements. To protect the life, longevity, and reliability of our escalators, we’ve installed canopies over 43 Metrorail station entrances. All new stations, including the Silver Line Extension and Potomac Yard Station, have also been designed to protect escalators from the elements. These canopies help extend the life of escalators, which means less disruption for customers and an overall more reliable experience.

There are nine stations scheduled to receive new entrance canopies in the coming years. Since these stations are located in unique areas that require following certain federal and local rules, we’re coordinating with several of our partners, including the National Park Service, National Capital Planning Commission, and the Commission of Fine Arts to ensure they are designed and installed correctly.

The canopy at Dupont Circle Station’s north entrance, pictured below, was completed in August 2022.  It includes more than 200 individually framed glass panels and is 1.5 times the size of a basketball court, making it the largest entrance canopy Metro has ever constructed.

dupont circle 42
dupont circle 10

Providing Access for All Metro Customers

Since the Metrorail system first opened in 1976, every Metro station has featured elevator access connecting the street level with the platforms. This helps ensure safe and reliable access for all customers. Metro’s elevator maintenance process follows a strict schedule, with monthly and annual maintenance on all 350+ elevators. This maintenance process also includes full rehabilitation work every 10-15 years, which requires replacing nearly all parts of a unit and results in a “like new” elevator.

west falls church new elevator platform improvement project

Stay Informed

Keep up with upcoming projects, work at or around your station and service changes through the following ways:

  • Pay attention to posted signage. We are committed to notifying customers ahead of every long-term escalator closure.
  • Signing up for ELStat, our elevator outage alert system. The ELstat Elevator Alert System can help you plan for your trip ahead of time or adjust to changes in elevator status while you are in transit.
  • Subscribe to MetroAlerts. This includes up-to-the minute email & text message updates personalized to your travel habits, including specific times and stations.