Just a Day In the Life of Metro

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Nick is a transportation journalist in Minneapolis.
January 2, 2013

Are you like me and usually find yourself randomly pondering life, like why clouds end up resembling animals, how much wood could a woodchuck chuck or where do the roughly 1.2 million people who ride Metrorail and bus everyday go?

Well, luckily for us pondering daydreamers and number crunchers alike, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority records all that data and puts it into a nice, neat little package for people to do with as they please.

A Canadian Youtuber named STLTransit analyzed the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) data that WMATA offers to the public – the data that supplies Metro’s Trip Planner with schedule information on rail and bus times – and developed a time-lapse video showing what rail and bus (including the DC Circulator) activity would look like on a given day.

The beginning of the video starts out slow, with only a few dots beginning to move about, but before long you’ll be able to pick out a shape that should look familiar to most Metro users.

The white blips keep track of Metrobus and Circulator routes; the colored dots (which are a little harder to identify) correlate to each Metrorail Line.

Interestingly enough, STLTransit has not only done this for the District, but for many other cities around the world that make their transit information publically available via GTFS. The rendition of the New York Transit system (MTA) is the most popular video on the YouTube channel with nearly 10,000 hits.

If that wasn’t exciting enough for you, here are a few fun facts/statistics about Metro:

Metrorail:
• Highest Ridership Day: Jan. 20, 2009 – Obama’s Inauguration (1.1 million)
• Longest Escalator: Wheaton Station (230 feet)
• Deepest Station: Forest Glen (21 stories/ 196 feet)
• Rail Cars in peak Service: 860
• Busiest Station in 2011: Union Station (760,000 entries)
• Total 2011 Ridership: 217 million – weekday average (as of June 2012): 787,128

Metrobus:
• Total 2011 Ridership: 125 million – weekday average (June 2012): 434,191
• Buses in Peak Service: 1,244
• Number of Routes/ Stops: 323/ 11,490
• Highest Ridership Routes: 52, 53, 54 (14th Street) – weekday Average: 14,830

This article was originally published by goDCgo.

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