Metro Blue Orange Silver Capacity & Reliability Study

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Metro Needs to Improve Service on the Blue, Orange, and Silver Lines

Customers on Metro's Blue, Orange, and Silver lines often experience delays, crowding, and congestion due to limitations in the system's design. All three lines merge at the Rosslyn tunnel onto one set of tracks, creating a bottleneck that limits the number of trains per hour that can pass through. Coordinating the movement of all three lines through the tunnel requires precision. Any service disruption on one line can create a ripple effect leading to delays across all three lines. Metro's infrastructure poses additional challenges managing the impacts of scheduled track work or unanticipated disruptions. These constraints can cause crowding, reduce reliability, and restrict the ability to meet higher ridership demand.

Demonstrates the capacity constraint of running three lines through one tunnel. Compares how the maximum throughput of 26 trains per hour can be distributed across the three lines.  Under eight minute headways we can split those 26 trains equally, at roughly 8 trains per hour on each. But if we increase frequency, for example by returning to six minute headways, we will have to reduce service on at least one line. When we had six minute headways in 2016 we could run ten to eleven trains per hour on Orange and Silver, but only five on Blue.

The Blue/Orange/Silver Capacity & Reliability Study (BOS Study) will build on past studies, working with the public, to identify solutions that will address today's urgent needs and position Metro for the future.

Help shape Metro's future - our commute is on the line. Metro is studying ways to achieve four goals on these three lines. Provide more trains and carry more passengers. Maintain and improve on time performance. Improve Metro's ability to manage and respond to service disruptions. Increase cost efficiency and environmental sustainability

How This Benefits You

Through this study, Metro will look for a solution or solutions that will aim to:

Improve service with more trains and less crowding. Trains are already crowded through Rosslyn during rush hours and will continue to get worse.
Comparison of platform crowding under different train frequencies. Peak hour trains through Rosslyn are already crowded, and we know it will get worse in the future. Metro will not be able to significantly reduce crowding on trains and platforms unless we can find a way to run more than 26 trains per hour through this corridor.

Get you where you're going, in less time.
Comparison of passengers missing their train to passengers boarding on-time. Metro will explore options to maintain and improve on time performance.

Reduce delays due to service issues and track and maintenance work.
Illustration showing how construction work zones impact reliability and on time performance. Delays on one line impact all three. Metro will explore options to better manage work zones and unanticipated delays.

Optimize ridership to provide more cost-efficient rail service.
Illustrative comparison of the cost to taxpayers of operating fully-occupied trains versus almost empty trains.

See About the Study for more information on the study goals, process, and timeline.

See Get Involved! to engage and share your input on the study.

See Documents and FAQs for project documents, news highlights, and further reading.

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Contact Us!

For more information about the Blue/Orange/Silver Capacity & Reliability Study, please send an email to:

Or you may contact Metro's Office of Customer Information at 202-637-7000 (TTY 202-638-3780). Press 88 and then press 5.