News Highlight

Region Steps Up Coordination in Response to Metro's SafeTrack Plan

Jun 22, 2016
Metro Center Station by Elvert Barnes

Metro Center Station (Elvert Barnes, Flickr)

During SafeTrack, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) plan to return the Metrorail system to a state of good repair, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) has been working with area officials and business community partners to share information, coordinate traffic mitigation plans, and promote transportation alternatives, telework, and flexible work schedules.

Commuter Connections

For more than 40 years, Commuter Connections, a program of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) at COG has provided the region’s residents with free ridematching services and promotes alternatives to drive-alone commuting. Following Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld’s rollout of the SafeTrack plan, Commuter Connections formed a work group comprised of the impacted jurisdictions, state agencies, and WMATA to exchange information on activities associated with each of the 15 SafeTrack surges.

The Commuter Connections website also contains easy-to-read information about the commuter impact of system repairs, provides links to resources in each jurisdiction, and directs visitors to their Commuter Page for free information on alternate commuting options such as carpooling, telework, and flexible work options. In addition, Commuter Connections is sending targeted emails with this information to commuters and employers located in and around impacted Metro stations.

Regional Coordination

COG continues to convene and participate in regional and sub-regional meetings and calls among stakeholders—including WMATA, area governments, city and county managers, public information officers, businesses, and a variety of transportation committees from the COG Emergency Transportation Committee to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Subcommittee. These groups are continually sharing information in preparation for each SafeTrack surge, while assessing and learning from the impacts of the current surge. COG staff has also been coordinating messaging on SafeTrack through the General Services Administration to all federal agencies in the region through Employee Transportation Coordinators.

The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) is also using its monthly meeting as a forum for WMATA and the region’s local jurisdictions and transportation agencies to share information, experiences, and plans to provide alternative travel arrangements during this period. 

Working with the Business Community

In addition to participating in business community Safetrack meetings, COG and the Greater Washington Board of Trade (BOT) gathered area business leaders for an event on June 6 on “Minimizing the Impact of SafeTrack.” The event provided employers with information and helpful resources to “provide better service and retain business” during disruptions like SafeTrack—such as toolkits to help employees plan for an alternate commute. This event is one of many joint efforts by COG and the BOT to support Metro and restore the system to one that’s world-class. 

Traffic Impact Analysis

Throughout SafeTrack, COG, area transportation departments, and WMATA are also gathering data to gain a better understanding of the impact of the surge on Metrorail ridership and the region’s highways. Travel data compiled by TPB staff will be reported in future editions of TPB News.

Related Links:

WMATA SafeTrack Information:
District Response to SafeTrack:
In a ghastly week for Washington traffic, how much blame goes to Metro?
Metro needs a ‘significant amount of riders’ to avoid the system during major shutdown


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