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The Washington Metro, commonly called Metro, and unofficially Metrorail, is the rapid transit
Rapid transit
A rapid transit, underground, subway, elevated railway, metro or metropolitan railway system is an electric passenger railway in an urban area with a high capacity and frequency, and grade separation from other traffic. Rapid transit systems are typically located either in underground tunnels or on...

 system in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, and its surrounding suburbs. It is administered by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is a tri-jurisdictional government agency that operates transit service in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, including the Metrorail, Metrobus and MetroAccess...

 (WMATA), which also operates Metrobus
Metrobus (Washington, D.C.)
Metrobus is a bus service operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority . Its fleet consists of 1,480 buses covering an area of in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. There are over 300 bus routes serving 12,216 stops, including 2,398 bus shelters. In fiscal year 2009,...

 service under the Metro name. In Maryland, Metro provides service to Montgomery County
Montgomery County, Maryland
Montgomery County is a county in the U.S. state of Maryland, situated just to the north of Washington, D.C., and southwest of the city of Baltimore. It is one of the most affluent counties in the United States, and has the highest percentage of residents over 25 years of age who hold post-graduate...

 and Prince George's County
Prince George's County, Maryland
Prince George's County is a county located in the U.S. state of Maryland, immediately north, east, and south of Washington, DC. As of 2010, it has a population of 863,420 and is the wealthiest African-American majority county in the nation....

; in Virginia, to Fairfax County
Fairfax County, Virginia
Fairfax County is a county in Virginia, in the United States. Per the 2010 Census, the population of the county is 1,081,726, making it the most populous jurisdiction in the Commonwealth of Virginia, with 13.5% of Virginia's population...

, Arlington County
Arlington County, Virginia
Arlington County is a county in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The land that became Arlington was originally donated by Virginia to the United States government to form part of the new federal capital district. On February 27, 1801, the United States Congress organized the area as a subdivision of...

, and the City of Alexandria
Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of 2009, the city had a total population of 139,966. Located along the Western bank of the Potomac River, Alexandria is approximately six miles south of downtown Washington, D.C.Like the rest of northern Virginia, as well as...

. Since opening in 1976, the network has grown to include five lines, 86 stations, and 106.3 miles (171.1 km) of track.

Metro is the second-busiest rapid transit system in the United States in number of passenger trips, after the New York City Subway
New York City Subway
The New York City Subway is a rapid transit system owned by the City of New York and leased to the New York City Transit Authority, a subsidiary agency of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and also known as MTA New York City Transit...

. There were 215.3 million trips, or 727,684 trips per weekday, on Metro in fiscal year 2008. In June 2008, Metro set a new monthly ridership record with 19,729,641 trips, or 798,456 per weekday. Fares vary based on the distance traveled, the time of day, and the type of card used by the passenger. Riders enter and exit the system using a stored-value card
Stored-value card
A stored-value card refers to monetary value on a card not in an externally recorded account and differs from prepaid cards where money is on deposit with the issuer similar to a debit card...

 in the form of a paper magnetic stripe farecard
Magnetic stripe card
A magnetic stripe card is a type of card capable of storing data by modifying the magnetism of tiny iron-based magnetic particles on a band of magnetic material on the card...

 or a proximity card
Proximity card
Proximity card is a generic name for contactless integrated circuit devices used for security access or payment systems. The standard can refer to the older 125 kHz devices or the newer 13.56 MHz contactless RFID cards, most commonly known as contactless smartcards.Modern proximity cards...

 known as SmarTrip
SmarTrip
SmarTrip is a plastic contact-less stored-value smart card used for payment within the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority system in Washington, D.C...

.

Metro stations were designed by Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

 architect Harry Weese
Harry Weese
Harry Mohr Weese was an American architect, born in Evanston, Illinois in the Chicago suburbs, who had an important role in 20th century modernism and historic preservation...

, and are examples of late-20th century modern architecture
Modern architecture
Modern architecture is generally characterized by simplification of form and creation of ornament from the structure and theme of the building. It is a term applied to an overarching movement, with its exact definition and scope varying widely...

. With their heavy use of exposed concrete
Concrete
Concrete is a composite construction material, composed of cement and other cementitious materials such as fly ash and slag cement, aggregate , water and chemical admixtures.The word concrete comes from the Latin word...

 and repetitive design motifs, Metro stations also display aspects of brutalist
Brutalist architecture
Brutalist architecture is a style of architecture which flourished from the 1950s to the mid 1970s, spawned from the modernist architectural movement.-The term "brutalism":...

 design. In 2007, the design of the Metro's vaulted-ceiling stations was voted number 106 on the American Institute of Architects
American Institute of Architects
The American Institute of Architects is a professional organization for architects in the United States. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the AIA offers education, government advocacy, community redevelopment, and public outreach to support the architecture profession and improve its public image...

' list of "America's Favorite Architecture".

History



During the 1960s, there were plans for a massive freeway system in Washington, but opposition
Freeway and expressway revolts
Many freeway revolts took place in developed countries during the 1960s and 1970s, in response to plans for the construction of new freeways, a significant number of which were abandoned or significantly scaled back due to widespread public opposition; especially of those whose neighborhoods would...

 to this freeway system grew. Harland Bartholomew
Harland Bartholomew
Harland Bartholomew was an American urban planner. Although a civil engineer by training and disposition, Harland's career started just as the automobile production was about to take off, industrial development was booming and urban populations grew...

, who chaired the National Capital Planning Commission
National Capital Planning Commission
The National Capital Planning Commission is a U.S. government agency that provides planning guidance for Washington, D.C. and the surrounding National Capital Region...

, thought that a rail transit system would never be self-sufficient because of low density land uses and general transit ridership decline. Finally, a mixed concept of a Capital Beltway
Interstate 495 (Capital Beltway)
Interstate 495 is a Interstate Highway that surrounds the United States' capital of Washington, D.C., and its inner suburbs in adjacent Maryland and Virginia. I-495 is widely known as the Capital Beltway or simply the Beltway, especially when the context of Washington, D.C., is clear...

 system along with rail line radials was agreed upon. The Beltway received full funding; funding for the ambitious Inner Loop Freeway system was partially reallocated toward construction of the Metro system.

In 1960, the federal government created the National Capital Transportation Agency to develop a rapid rail system. In 1966, a bill creating WMATA was passed by the federal government, the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland,
with planning power for the system being transferred to it from the NCTA.

WMATA approved plans for a 98 miles (157.7 km) regional system in 1968, and construction began in 1969, with groundbreaking on December 9. The system opened March 27, 1976, with 4.6 miles (7.4 km) available on the Red Line with five stations from Rhode Island Avenue to Farragut North, all in the District of Columbia. Arlington County, Virginia was linked to the system on July 1, 1976; Montgomery County, Maryland, on February 6, 1978; Prince George's County, Maryland, on November 20, 1978; and Fairfax County, Virginia, and Alexandria, Virginia, on December 17, 1983.

The 103 miles (165.8 km), 83-station system was completed with the opening of the Green Line segment to Branch Avenue on January 13, 2001. This did not mean the end of the growth of the system: a 3.22 miles (5.2 km) extension of the Blue Line to Largo Town Center and Morgan Boulevard opened on December 18, 2004. The first in-fill station, NoMa – Gallaudet University (originally New York Ave–Florida Ave–Gallaudet U) on the Red Line between Union Station and Rhode Island Ave-Brentwood, opened November 20, 2004. Construction began in March 2009 for an extension to Dulles Airport to be built in two phases and opening in 2013 and 2016.

Metro construction required billions of federal dollars, originally provided by Congress under the authority of the National Capital Transportation Act of 1969 (Public Law 91-143). The cost was paid with 90% federal money and 10% local money. This act was amended on January 3, 1980 by Public Law 96-184, "The National Capital Transportation Amendment of 1979" (also known as the Stark-Harris Act), which authorized additional funding of $1.7 billion to permit the completion of 89.5 miles (144 km) of the system as provided under the terms of a full funding grant agreement executed with WMATA in July 1986, which required 25% to be paid from local funds. On November 15, 1990, Public Law 101-551, "The National Capital Transportation Amendments of 1990", authorized an additional $1.3 billion in federal funds for construction of the remaining 13.5 miles (21.7 km) of the 103 miles (165.8 km) system, completed via the execution of full funding grant agreements, with a 63% federal/37% local matching.

The highest ridership for a single day was on the day of the inauguration of Barack Obama
Inauguration of Barack Obama
The inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States took place on Tuesday, January 20, 2009. The inauguration, which set a record attendance for any event held in Washington, D.C., marked the commencement of the four-year term of Barack Obama as President and Joe...

, January 20, 2009, with 1,120,000 riders. It broke the previous record, set the day before, of 866,681 riders. June 2008 set several ridership records: it set the single-month ridership record of 19,729,641 total riders, the record for highest average weekday ridership with 772,826 weekday trips, had five of the ten highest ridership days, and had 12 weekdays in which ridership exceed 800,000 trips.

In February 2006, Metro officials chose Randi Miller, a car dealership employee from Woodbridge, Virginia
Woodbridge, Virginia
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 31,941 people, 10,687 households, and 7,769 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 3,047.8 people per square mile . There were 11,026 housing units at an average density of 1,052.1/sq mi...

, to record new "doors opening", "doors closing", and "please stand clear of the doors, thank you" announcements after winning an open contest to replace the messages recorded by Sandy Carroll in 1996. The "Doors Closing" contest attracted 1,259 contestants from across the country.

On October 30, 2010, the crowd at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear broke a 19-year record in Saturday ridership, with 825,437 trips. The previous record had been set on June 8, 1991 at 786,358 trips during the Desert Storm rally.

Metro network


Since opening in 1976, the Metro network has grown to include five lines, 86 stations, and 106.3 miles (171.1 km) of track. The rail network is designed according to a spoke-hub distribution paradigm
Spoke-hub distribution paradigm
The hub-and-spoke distribution paradigm is a system of connections arranged like a chariot wheel, in which all traffic moves along spokes connected to the hub at the center...

, with rail lines running between downtown Washington and its nearby suburbs. The system makes extensive use of interlining – running more than one service on the same track. There are five operating lines and one line under construction: The system's iconic official map was designed by noted graphic designer Lance Wyman
Lance Wyman
Lance Wyman is an American graphic designer. He is known for such work as the logo of the 1968 Summer Olympic Games and the route map of the Washington Metro.-Life and career:...

.
There are 40 stations in the District of Columbia, 15 in Prince George's County, 11 in Montgomery County, 11 in Arlington County, six in Fairfax County, and three in the City of Alexandria. The Silver Line
Silver Line (Washington Metro)
The Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, formally dubbed the Silver Line, is an extension of the Washington Metro rapid transit system, currently under construction with the goal of providing rapid transit service to Dulles International Airport and Tysons Corner...

 will add 11 new stations, eight in Fairfax County and three in Loudoun County, Virginia
Loudoun County, Virginia
Loudoun County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and is part of the Washington Metropolitan Area. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the county is estimated to be home to 312,311 people, an 84 percent increase over the 2000 figure of 169,599. That increase makes the county the fourth...

.

About 50 miles (80.5 km) of Metro's track is underground, as are 47 of the 86 stations. Track runs underground mostly within the District and high-density suburbs. Surface track accounts for about 46 miles (74 km) of the total, and aerial track makes up 9 miles (14.5 km). At 196 feet (59.7 m) below the surface, the Forest Glen station on the Red Line is the deepest in the system. There are no escalators; high-speed elevators take 20 seconds to travel from the street to the station platform. The Wheaton station, next to Forest Glen station on the Red Line, has the second-longest continuous escalator in the world, the longest in the Western Hemisphere
Western Hemisphere
The Western Hemisphere or western hemisphere is mainly used as a geographical term for the half of the Earth that lies west of the Prime Meridian and east of the Antimeridian , the other half being called the Eastern Hemisphere.In this sense, the western hemisphere consists of the western portions...

, at 230 feet (70.1 m). The Rosslyn station is the deepest station on the Orange/Blue Line, at 97 feet (29.6 m) below street level. The station features the third-longest continuous escalator in the world at 205 feet (62.5 m); an escalator ride between the street level and the mezzanine level takes nearly two minutes.

The system is not centered on any single station, but Metro Center is at the intersection of the Red, Orange and Blue Lines, the three busiest lines. The station is also the location of WMATA's main sales office. Metro has designated five other "core stations" that have high passenger volume, including: Gallery Place, transfer station for the Red, Green and Yellow Lines; L'Enfant Plaza, transfer station for the Orange, Blue, Green and Yellow Lines; Union Station, the busiest station by passenger boardings; Farragut North; and Farragut West. In order to deal with the high number of passengers in transfer stations, Metro is studying the possibility of building pedestrian connections between nearby core transfer stations. For example, a 750 feet (228.6 m) passage between Metro Center and Gallery Place stations would allow passengers to transfer between the Orange/Blue and Yellow/Green Lines without going one stop on the Red Line. Another tunnel between Farragut West and Farragut North stations would allow transfers between the Red and Orange/Blue lines, decreasing transfer demand at Metro Center by an estimated 11%.

Metro runs special service patterns on holidays and when events in Washington may require additional service. Independence Day
Independence Day (United States)
Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain...

 activities require Metro to adjust service in order to provide extra capacity to and from the National Mall
National Mall
The National Mall is an open-area national park in downtown Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. The National Mall is a unit of the National Park Service , and is administered by the National Mall and Memorial Parks unit...

. WMATA makes similar adjustments during other events, such as presidential inaugurations. Metro has altered service and used some stations as entrances or exits only to help manage congestion.

In an effort to gain revenues, WMATA has started to allow retail ventures in Metro stations. WMATA has authorized DVD-rental vending machines and ticket booths for the Old Town Trolley Tours and is seeking additional retail tenants.

Rolling stock




Metro's fleet consists of 1,126 rail cars, each 75 feet (22.9 m) long. Trains have a maximum speed of 75 mph (120.7 km/h), and average 33 mph (53.1 km/h) including stops. Operating rules presently limit their top speed to 59 mph (95 km/h). All cars operate as married pair
Married pair
A twinset or twin unit is a set of two railroad cars or locomotives which are permanently coupled and treated as if they were a single unit. A twinset of cars or coaches can also be called a twin car.-USA:...

s (consecutively numbered even-odd), with systems shared across the pair. Metro currently operates 850 cars during rush hours. 814 cars are in active service, and the remaining 36 cars compose gap trains to serve as backup should a train experience problems.

Metro's rolling stock was acquired in six phases, and each version of car is identified with a separate series number. The original order of 300 rail cars (290 of which are in operation ) was manufactured by Rohr Industries
Rohr, Inc.
Goodrich Aerostructures Group, formerly Rohr, Inc., is an aerospace manufacturing company based in Chula Vista, California, south of San Diego...

, with final delivery in 1978. These cars are numbered 1000–1299 and were rehabilitated in the mid-1990s. Breda Costruzioni Ferroviarie (Breda) manufactured the second order of 76 cars delivered in 1983 and 1984. These cars, numbered 2000–2075, were rehabilitated in the early 2000s by Alstom
Alstom
Alstom is a large multinational conglomerate which holds interests in the power generation and transport markets. According to the company website, in the years 2010-2011 Alstom had annual sales of over €20.9 billion, and employed more than 85,000 people in 70 countries. Alstom's headquarters are...

 in Hornell, New York
Hornell, New York
Hornell is a city in Steuben County, New York, United States. The population was 9,019 at the 2000 census. The city is named after the Hornell family, early settlers. Its current population has not yet been released by the new census....

. A third order of 288 cars, also from Breda, were delivered between 1984 and 1988. These cars are numbered 3000–3291 and were rehabilitated by Alstom in the early 2000s. An order of 100 cars from Breda, numbered 4000–4099, were delivered between 1992 and 1994. A fifth order of 192 cars was manufactured by Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles
Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles
Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles is a rail equipment manufacturer based in Beasain in the Basque Country, Spain. Equipment manufactured by CAF includes light rail vehicles, rapid transit trains, railroad cars and locomotives, as well as variable gauge axles that can be fitted on any...

 (CAF) of Spain. These cars are numbered 5000–5191 and were delivered from 2001 through 2004. A sixth order of 184 cars from Alstom Transportation was delivered between 2005 and 2007. The cars have body shells built in Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

 with assembly completed in Hornell, New York.

The 7000 series of cars, currently in development, are planned to go into service beginning in 2012. The new cars will be different from previous models in that they will operate as quads instead of pairs. The new design will allow for increased passenger capacity, elimination of redundant equipment, greater energy efficiency, and lower maintenance costs. Metro plans to eventually purchase up to 748 cars to increase system capacity and replace its older rolling stock. The National Transportation Safety Board
National Transportation Safety Board
The National Transportation Safety Board is an independent U.S. government investigative agency responsible for civil transportation accident investigation. In this role, the NTSB investigates and reports on aviation accidents and incidents, certain types of highway crashes, ship and marine...

 investigation of the fatal June 22, 2009, accident led it to conclude that the 1000 series cars are unsafe and unable to protect customers in a crash. As a result, on July 26, 2010, Metro voted to purchase 7000 series cars to replace the remaining 1000 series cars. Additional series 7000 cars have been ordered to serve the new Silver Line to Dulles Airport. On July 1, 2010, the WMATA Board was able to activate a $886 million contract for 428 new series 7000 Metro cars to serve Dulles.

Signaling and operation



During normal passenger operation on revenue tracks, trains are controlled by an integrated Automatic Train Operation
Automatic train operation
Automatic train operation ensures partial or complete automatic train piloting and driverless functions.Most systems elect to maintain a driver to mitigate risks associated with failures or emergencies....

 and Automatic Train Control
Automatic Train Control
Automatic Train Control is a train protection system for railways, ensuring the safe and smooth operation of trains on ATC-enabled lines. Its main advantages include making possible the use of cab signalling instead of track-side signals and the use of smooth deceleration patterns in lieu of the...

 system that accelerates and brakes the trains automatically without operator intervention. However, all trains are manned with train operators who open and close the doors, make station announcements, and supervise their trains. Since June 2009, when two Red Line trains collided due in part to malfunctions in the automatic control system, all Metro trains have been under manual operation.

The train doors were originally designed to be opened and closed automatically and the doors would re-open if an object blocked them, much as elevator doors do. Almost immediately after the system opened in 1976 Metro realized these features were not conducive to safe or efficient operation and they were disabled. At present the doors may be opened automatically or manually. If a door tries to close and it meets an obstruction, the operator must re-open the door.

The operator can manually operate a train when necessary.

Security


Metro planners designed the system with passenger safety and order maintenance as primary considerations. The open vaulted ceiling design of stations and the limited obstructions on platforms allow few opportunities to conceal criminal activity. Station platforms are built away from station walls to limit vandalism and provide for diffused lighting of the station from recessed lights. Metro's attempts to reduce crime, combined with how the station environments were designed with crime prevention
Crime prevention through environmental design
Crime prevention through environmental design is a multi-disciplinary approach to deterring criminal behavior through environmental design. CPTED strategies rely upon the ability to influence offender decisions that precede criminal acts...

 in mind, has contributed to Metro being among the safest and cleanest subway systems in the United States.

Metro is patrolled by its own police force, which is charged with ensuring the safety of passengers and employees. Transit Police officers patrol the Metro system and Metrobuses
Metrobus (Washington, D.C.)
Metrobus is a bus service operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority . Its fleet consists of 1,480 buses covering an area of in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. There are over 300 bus routes serving 12,216 stops, including 2,398 bus shelters. In fiscal year 2009,...

, and they have jurisdiction and arrest powers throughout the 1500 square miles (3,885 km²) Metro service area for crimes that occur on or against transit authority facilities, or within 150 feet (45.7 m) of a Metrobus stop. The Metro Transit Police Department is the only U.S. police agency that has local police authority in three different "state"-level jurisdictions (Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia).

Each city and county in the Metro service area has similar ordinances that regulate or prohibit vending on Metro-owned property, and which prohibit riders from eating, drinking, or smoking in Metro trains, buses, and stations; the Transit Police have a reputation for enforcing these laws rigorously. One widely publicized incident occurred in 2000 when police arrest
Arrest
An arrest is the act of depriving a person of his or her liberty usually in relation to the purported investigation and prevention of crime and presenting into the criminal justice system or harm to oneself or others...

ed a 12-year-old girl for eating french fries
French fries
French fries , chips, fries, or French-fried potatoes are strips of deep-fried potato. North Americans tend to refer to any pieces of deep-fried potatoes as fries or French fries, while in the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand, long, thinly cut slices of deep-fried potatoes are...

 in the Tenleytown-AU station. In a 2004 opinion by John Roberts, now the Chief Justice of the United States
Chief Justice of the United States
The Chief Justice of the United States is the head of the United States federal court system and the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Chief Justice is one of nine Supreme Court justices; the other eight are the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States...

, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the girl's arrest. By then WMATA had answered negative publicity by adopting a policy of first issuing warnings to juveniles
Minor (law)
In law, a minor is a person under a certain age — the age of majority — which legally demarcates childhood from adulthood; the age depends upon jurisdiction and application, but is typically 18...

, and arresting them only after three violations within a year.

Metro's zero-tolerance policy on food, trash and other sources of disorder embodies the "broken windows" philosophy of crime reduction. This philosophy also extends to the use of station restroom facilities. A longstanding policy, intended to curb unlawful and unwanted activity, has been to only allow employees to use Metro restrooms. Station managers may make exceptions for passengers with small children, the elderly, or the disabled. Metro now allows the use of restrooms by passengers who gain a station manager's permission, except during periods of heightened terror alerts
Homeland Security Advisory System
In the United States, the Homeland Security Advisory System was a color-coded terrorism threat advisory scale. The different levels trigger specific actions by federal agencies and state and local governments, and they affect the level of security at some airports and other public facilities. It...

.

Random bag searches


On October 27, 2008, the Metro Transit Police Department
Metro Transit Police Department
The Metro Transit Police Department is the police agency serving the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. It was created by the on June 4, 1976....

 announced plans to immediately begin random searches of backpacks, purses, and other bags. Transit police would search riders at random before boarding a bus or entering a station. It also explained its intent to stop anyone acting suspiciously. Metro claims that the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is one of the thirteen United States Courts of Appeals...

 decision in MacWade v. Kelly, which upheld random searches on the New York City Subway, allows Metro Transit Police to take similar action. Metro Transit Police Chief Michael Taborn stated that, if someone were to turn around and simply enter the system through another escalator or elevator, Metro has "a plan to address suspicious behavior". Security specialist Bruce Schneier
Bruce Schneier
Bruce Schneier is an American cryptographer, computer security specialist, and writer. He is the author of several books on general security topics, computer security and cryptography, and is the founder and chief technology officer of BT Managed Security Solutions, formerly Counterpane Internet...

 characterized the plan as "security theater
Security theater
Security theater is a term that describes security countermeasures intended to provide the feeling of improved security while doing little or nothing to actually improve security. The term was coined by computer security specialist and writer Bruce Schneier for his book Beyond Fear, but has gained...

 against a movie plot threat
Movie plot threat
Movie plot threat is a term coined by security specialist Bruce Schneier. It refers to very specific and dramatic terrorist attack scenarios, reminiscent of the behaviour of terrorists in movies, rather than what terrorists actually do in the real world....

", implying that he does not believe that these random searches will actually help improve security.

Metro’s Riders’ Advisory Council recommended to WMATA’s board of directors that Metro hold at least one public meeting regarding the search program. , Metro had not conducted a single bag search.

In 2010 Metro once again announced that it would implement random bag searches, and conducted the first such searches on December 21, 2010. The searches consist of swabbing bags and packages for explosive residue and X-Raying or opening any packages which turned up positive. On the first day the tests did produce one or more false-positive for explosives, which metro officials indicated could occur for a variety of reasons including if a passenger had recently been in contact with firearms or been to a firing range. A petition against the searches was started by the DC Bill of Rights Coalition and the Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition, who claimed that it violated the US 4th amendment and would not improve security. On January 3, 2011 Metro held a public forum for the searches at a Metro Riders Advisory Council meeting, at which more than 50 riders spoke out, most of them in opposition to the searches. However at the meeting Metro officials called random bag inspections a "success" and claimed that few riders had complained.

Accidents



Several collisions have occurred on Washington Metro, resulting in injuries and fatalities, along with numerous derailments with few or no injuries. WMATA has been criticized for disregarding safety warnings and advice from experts. The Tri-State Oversight Committee oversees WMATA, but has no regulatory authority. Metro's safety department is usually in charge of investigating incidents, but cannot require other Metro departments to implement its recommendations.

Collisions


During the Blizzard of 1996, on January 6, a Metro operator was killed when a train failed to stop at the Shady Grove station. The four-car train overran the station platform and struck an unoccupied train that was awaiting assignment. The National Transportation Safety Board
National Transportation Safety Board
The National Transportation Safety Board is an independent U.S. government investigative agency responsible for civil transportation accident investigation. In this role, the NTSB investigates and reports on aviation accidents and incidents, certain types of highway crashes, ship and marine...

 (NTSB) investigation found that the crash was a result of a failure in the train's computer-controlled braking system. The NTSB recommended that Metro grant train operators the ability to manually control the braking system, even in inclement weather, and recommended that Metro prohibit parked rail cars on tracks used by incoming outbound trains.

On November 3, 2004, an out-of-service Red Line train rolled backwards into the Woodley Park station and hit an in-service train stopped at the platform. No one was killed, but 20 people were injured. A 14-month investigation concluded that the train operator was most likely not alert as the train rolled backwards into the station. Safety officials estimated that had the train been full, at least 79 would have died. The train operator was dismissed and Metro officials agreed to add rollback protection to more than 300 rail cars.
On June 22, 2009 at 5:02 p.m., two trains on the Red Line collided. A southbound train heading toward Shady Grove stopped on the track short of the Fort Totten station, and another southbound train collided with its rear. The front car of the moving train (1079) was telescoped by the rear car of the standing train (5066), and passengers were trapped. Nine people died and more than 70 were injured, dozens of whom were described as "walking wounded
Walking wounded
In first aid and triage, the walking wounded are injured persons who are of a relatively low priority. These patients are conscious and breathing and usually have only relatively minor injuries; thus they are capable of walking...

". According to WMATA, trains were not single-tracking in the area when the crash occurred, but the trains were on the same track. Red Line service was suspended between the Fort Totten and Takoma stations, and New Hampshire Avenue was closed. One of the dead was the operator of the train that collided with the stopped train.

On November 29, 2009 at 4:27 a.m., two trains collided at the West Falls Church train yard. One train pulled in and collided into the back of the other train. No customers were aboard, and only minor injuries to the operators and cleaning staff were reported. However, three cars (1106, 1171, and 3216) were believed to be damaged beyond repair.

Derailments



On January 13, 1982, a train derailed
1982 Washington Metro train derailment
The 1982 Washington Metro train derailment was an incident involving a single Orange Line Washington Metro train during the afternoon rush hour of January 13, 1982, in Downtown Washington, D.C. in the United States...

 at a malfunctioning crossover switch south of the Federal Triangle station. In attempting to restore the train to the rails, supervisors failed to notice that another car had also derailed. The other rail car slid off the track and hit a tunnel support, killing three people and injuring 25. Coincidentally, this accident occurred about 30 minutes after Air Florida Flight 90
Air Florida Flight 90
Air Florida Flight 90 was a scheduled U.S. domestic passenger flight from Washington National Airport in Arlington County, Virginia, to Fort Lauderdale – Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with a stopover at Tampa International Airport in Tampa, Florida...

 crashed into the nearby 14th Street Bridge during a major snowstorm.

On January 20, 2003, during construction of a new canopy at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Metro began running trains through the center track even though it had not been constructed for standard operations, and a Blue Line train derailed at the switch. No injuries resulted, but the accident delayed construction by a number of weeks.

On January 7, 2007, a Green Line train carrying approximately 120 people derailed near the Mount Vernon Square station in downtown Washington. Trains were single-tracking at the time, and the derailment of the fifth car occurred where the train was switching from the south to northbound track. The accident injured at least 18 people and prompted the rescue of 60 people from a tunnel. At least one person had a serious but non-life-threatening injury.

The Mount Vernon Square accident was one of a series of five derailments involving 5000-Series cars, with four of those occurring on side tracks and not involving passengers.

On June 9, 2008, an Orange Line train (2000-series) derailed between the Rosslyn and Court House stations.

On February 12, 2010, a Red Line train derailed at about 10:13 a.m. as it left the Farragut North station in downtown Washington. After leaving the station, the train entered the pocket track
Pocket track
A pocket track or reversing siding is a rail track layout which allows trains to park off the main line. This type of track layout differs from a passing loop in that the pocket track is usually located between two main lines, rather than off to the side....

 north of the station. As it continued, an automatic derailer at the end of the pocket track intentionally derailed the train as a safety measure. If the train had continued moving forward on the pocket track, it would have entered the path of an oncoming train. The wheels of the first two cars in the six-car, White-Flint-bound train were forced off the tracks, stopping the train. Almost all of the estimated 345 passengers were evacuated from the damaged train by 11:50 a.m. and the NTSB arrived on the accident scene by noon. Two minor injuries were reported, and a third passenger was taken to George Washington University Hospital
George Washington University Hospital
The George Washington University Hospital is a hospital in Washington, D.C. in the United States. It opened on On August 23, 2002, with 371 beds in a 400,000 sq. ft. building, housing than $45 million of medical equipment and cost more than $96 million to construct...

. The cause is under investigation.

Safety measures


On July 13, 2009, WMATA adopted a "zero tolerance" policy for train or bus operators found to be texting or using other hand-held devices while on the job. This new and stricter policy came after investigations of several mass-transit accidents in the U.S. found that operators were texting at the time of the accident. The policy change was announced the day after a passenger of a Metro train videotaped the operator texting while operating the train.

Fare structure




Metro fares vary based on the distance traveled and the time of day at entry. During regular hours (weekdays from opening until 9:30 a.m. and 3–7 p.m., and Friday and Saturday nights from midnight to closing), fares range from $1.95 to $5.00, depending on distance traveled. At all other times, fares are $1.60, $2.15, or $2.75, based on distance traveled. Discounted fares are available for school children, the disabled, and the elderly. Metro charges reduced fares on all federal holidays.

Riders enter and exit the system using a stored-value card
Stored-value card
A stored-value card refers to monetary value on a card not in an externally recorded account and differs from prepaid cards where money is on deposit with the issuer similar to a debit card...

 in the form of a paper magnetic stripe farecard
Magnetic stripe card
A magnetic stripe card is a type of card capable of storing data by modifying the magnetism of tiny iron-based magnetic particles on a band of magnetic material on the card...

 or a proximity card
Proximity card
Proximity card is a generic name for contactless integrated circuit devices used for security access or payment systems. The standard can refer to the older 125 kHz devices or the newer 13.56 MHz contactless RFID cards, most commonly known as contactless smartcards.Modern proximity cards...

 known as SmarTrip
SmarTrip
SmarTrip is a plastic contact-less stored-value smart card used for payment within the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority system in Washington, D.C...

. The fare is deducted from the balance of the card upon exiting the system. Farecards are purchased primarily at vending machines in each station. Farecards can hold up to $45 in value and are reused until the value of the card reaches zero. If the card contains the exact fare needed to exit, leaving the card at a zero balance, the card is not returned by the exit gate. Alternatively, passengers may purchase passes at most farecard vending machines. The passes are used the same way as farecards but grant riders unlimited travel within the system for a certain period of time. Some Metro passes restrict the times and distances that the pass may be used.

Users can add value to any farecard, but riders must pay an exit fare
Exit fare
An exit fare is a method of collecting ridership fees, or fare, from a transportation system where the fee is collected from passengers upon reaching their destination....

 if the cost of a trip is higher than their card's balance. Riders may transfer for free, provided they do not exit through the faregates. SmarTrip users receive a $0.50 discount on bus-to-rail and rail-to-bus transfers.

On January 7, 2010, the WMATA board approved hearings to consider a temporary 10-cent fare increase on rail and bus fares to take effect in April through July 2010 in order to make up for a budget shortfall. The increase was approved, took effect on February 28, 2010, and will last through June 26, 2010 (unless the board takes further action to extend or increase it).

Due to severe deficits, Metro introduced a "staggered" fare increase beginning in June 2010 and further increasing on August 1, 2010—its largest increase ever. An increase in fares of from 25 cents to 45 cents depending on distance was implemented, along with an additional "peak-of-the-peak" fare increase of 20 cents during morning and afternoon rush periods. Due to problems with memory capacity and software upgrades on faregates, as of August 12, the morning peak-of-the-peak had not been implemented. Additionally, users of paper farecards will be charged a 25-cent surcharge on each trip in addition to the regular fare; this surcharge does not apply to SmarTrip users.

Future expansion


WMATA expects an average of one million riders daily by 2030. The need to increase capacity has renewed plans to add 220 cars to the system and reroute trains to alleviate congestion at the busiest stations. Population growth in the region has also revived efforts to extend service, build new stations, and construct additional lines.

Silver Line



The most prominent expansion is the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, informally dubbed the Silver Line, a 23 miles (37 km) extension from the Orange Line into Loudoun County, Virginia
Loudoun County, Virginia
Loudoun County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and is part of the Washington Metropolitan Area. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the county is estimated to be home to 312,311 people, an 84 percent increase over the 2000 figure of 169,599. That increase makes the county the fourth...

 by way of Tysons Corner
Tysons Corner, Virginia
Tysons Corner is an unincorporated census-designated place in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States. Part of the Washington Metropolitan Area located in Northern Virginia, Tysons Corner lies between the community of McLean and the town of Vienna along the Capital Beltway . The population was...

 and Washington Dulles International Airport
Washington Dulles International Airport
Washington Dulles International Airport is a public airport in Dulles, Virginia, 26 miles west of downtown Washington, D.C. The airport serves the Baltimore-Washington-Northern Virginia metropolitan area centered on the District of Columbia. It is named after John Foster Dulles, Secretary of...

. Rail to Dulles has been discussed since the system opened in 1976. The current Silver Line project was formally proposed in 2002 and initially approved by the Federal Transit Administration
Federal Transit Administration
The Federal Transit Administration is an agency within the United States Department of Transportation that provides financial and technical assistance to local public transit systems. The FTA is one of ten modal administrations within the DOT...

 in 2004. After several delays, federal funding for Phase 1 was secured in December 2008 and construction began in March 2009. The line will be constructed in two phases; the first phase to Reston – Wiehle Avenue in Reston, Virginia
Reston, Virginia
Reston is a census-designated place in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States, within the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The population was 58,404, at the 2010 Census and 56,407 at the 2000 census...

 is scheduled for completion in late 2013 and the second phase to Virginia Route 772, beyond Dulles Airport, is projected for completion in 2015.

Blue Line realignment


Blue Line trains share a single tunnel with Orange Line trains in order to cross the Potomac River. The current tunnel limits service in each direction, creating a choke point. A 2001 proposal would have rerouted the Blue Line between the Rosslyn and Stadium–Armory stations by building a bridge or tunnel from Virginia to a new station in Georgetown
Georgetown, Washington, D.C.
Georgetown is a neighborhood located in northwest Washington, D.C., situated along the Potomac River. Founded in 1751, the port of Georgetown predated the establishment of the federal district and the City of Washington by 40 years...

. The proposal was later rejected due to cost, but Metro again started considering a similar scenario in 2011. In October 2008, Metro released a study on the possibility of rerouting some Blue Line trains over the 14th Street Bridge, currently used by Yellow Line trains. This Blue Line realignment would increase service directly to downtown and relieve congestion at the Rosslyn tunnel. If implemented, the new service between Franconia–Springfield and Greenbelt stations may be referred to as a new line.

Fort Belvoir and Fort Meade extensions


In 2005, the Defense Department
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

 announced that it would be shifting 18,000 jobs to Fort Belvoir
Fort Belvoir
Fort Belvoir is a United States Army installation and a census-designated place in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States. Originally, it was the site of the Belvoir plantation. Today, Fort Belvoir is home to a number of important United States military organizations...

 in Virginia and at least 5,000 jobs to Fort Meade in Maryland by 2012, as part of that year's Base Realignment and Closure
Base Realignment and Closure, 2005
The preliminary 2005 Base Realignment and Closure list was released by the United States Department of Defense on May 13, 2005. It is the fifth Base Realignment and Closure proposal generated since the process was created in 1988. It recommends closing 33 major United States military bases and...

 plan. In anticipation of such a move, local officials and the military proposed extending the Blue and Green Lines to service each base. The proposed extension of the Green Line could cost $100 million per mile ($60 million per kilometer), and a light rail
Light rail
Light rail or light rail transit is a form of urban rail public transportation that generally has a lower capacity and lower speed than heavy rail and metro systems, but higher capacity and higher speed than traditional street-running tram systems...

 extension to Fort Belvoir was estimated to cost up to $800 million. Neither proposal has established timelines for planning or construction.

Potomac Yard station


In 2008, officials began to explore the possibility of adding a station
Potomac Yard (WMATA station)
Potomac Yard is a planned island platformed Washington Metro station in Alexandria, Virginia, United States. Construction of the station is projected to commence in 2014 and it is scheduled to open in 2016. Potomac Yard station will be operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority...

 in the Potomac Yard
Potomac Yard
Potomac Yard was one of the busiest rail yards on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. Today, it refers to the neighborhood encompassing the same, which straddles southeastern Arlington County and northern Alexandria, Virginia, bounded by U.S. Route 1, the George Washington Memorial Parkway,...

 area of Alexandria on the Blue and Yellow Lines between the National Airport and Braddock Road stations. The project remains in the exploratory stages, and construction funding (estimated at $150 million) has not been approved.

Other new rail lines


In 2011, Metro began studying the needs of the system through 2040. New Metro rail lines and extensions under consideration as part of this long term plan include: a new line which parallels the Capital Beltway; a new line from the Friendship Heights Metro station to White Oak, Maryland
White Oak, Maryland
White Oak is a census-designated place and an unincorporated area in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States.-Geography:As an unincorporated area, White Oak's boundaries are not officially defined...

, which would pass through the District and Silver Spring; an extension of the Green Line
Green Line (Washington Metro)
The Green Line is one of five heavy rail subway lines that constitute the Washington Metro rapid transit system in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. The Green Line consists of 21 stations, with termini at Branch Avenue and at Greenbelt. The Green Line runs through Prince George's County,...

 to National Harbor in Maryland; and re-routing the Blue Line
Blue Line (Washington Metro)
The Blue Line of the Washington Metro in the United States consists of 27 rapid transit stations from Franconia–Springfield to Largo Town Center. It has stations in Fairfax County, Alexandria and Arlington, Virginia, the District of Columbia, and Prince George's County, Maryland...

 in the District between the Orange Line
Orange Line (Washington Metro)
The Orange Line of the Washington Metro consists of 26 rapid transit stations from Vienna to New Carrollton. It has stations in Fairfax County and Arlington, Virginia, the District of Columbia, and Prince George's County, Maryland. Half of the line's stations are shared with the Blue Line, and over...

 and Green Line. None of these lines are yet funded for planning or construction.

Related projects



A number of light rail
Light rail
Light rail or light rail transit is a form of urban rail public transportation that generally has a lower capacity and lower speed than heavy rail and metro systems, but higher capacity and higher speed than traditional street-running tram systems...

 and urban streetcar
Tram
A tram is a passenger rail vehicle which runs on tracks along public urban streets and also sometimes on separate rights of way. It may also run between cities and/or towns , and/or partially grade separated even in the cities...

 projects have been proposed to extend or supplement service provided by Metro. Like the Silver Line in Virginia, the proposed Purple Line has been in planning since the 1980s. The project was originally envisioned as a circular heavy rail line connecting the outer stations on each branch of Metrorail system, in a pattern roughly mirroring the Capital Beltway
Interstate 495 (Capital Beltway)
Interstate 495 is a Interstate Highway that surrounds the United States' capital of Washington, D.C., and its inner suburbs in adjacent Maryland and Virginia. I-495 is widely known as the Capital Beltway or simply the Beltway, especially when the context of Washington, D.C., is clear...

. The current proposal would create a light rail system in Maryland between the Bethesda and New Carrollton stations by way of Silver Spring and College Park. Such a plan would connect both branches of the Red Line to the Green and Orange Lines, and would decrease the travel time between suburban Metro stations. The project is still undergoing regulatory approval but received significant backing from local officials and Maryland lawmakers in January 2009.

The Corridor Cities Transitway
Corridor Cities Transitway
The Corridor Cities Transitway is a proposed light rail or bus rapid transit line in Maryland, USA, that would run from the Shady Grove Metro station in Gaithersburg northwest to Clarksburg...

 (CCT) would link Clarksburg, Maryland
Clarksburg, Maryland
Clarksburg is a census-designated place and an unincorporated area in Northern Montgomery County, Maryland, United States, located along the Interstate 270 technology corridor about 4 miles north of Germantown, MD. As of Census 2010 its population is 13,766....

 in northern Montgomery County
Montgomery County, Maryland
Montgomery County is a county in the U.S. state of Maryland, situated just to the north of Washington, D.C., and southwest of the city of Baltimore. It is one of the most affluent counties in the United States, and has the highest percentage of residents over 25 years of age who hold post-graduate...

 with the Shady Grove station on the Red Line. The CCT is currently scheduled to open in 2016. In 2005, a Maryland lawmaker proposed a light rail system to connect areas of Southern Maryland
Southern Maryland
Southern Maryland in popular usage is composed of the state's southernmost counties on the "Western Shore" of the Chesapeake Bay. This region includes all of Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's counties and sometimes the southern portions of Anne Arundel and Prince George's counties.- History...

, especially the rapidly growing area around the town of Waldorf
Waldorf, Maryland
Waldorf, Maryland is an unincorporated community and census-designated place in Charles County, Maryland, United States. It is south-southeast of Washington, D.C. The population of the census-designated area only was 67,752 at the 2010 census...

, to the Branch Avenue station on the Green Line. The project is still in the planning stages.

In Washington, a new DC Streetcar
DC Streetcar
The DC Streetcar is a surface light rail and streetcar network under construction in Washington, D.C. The streetcars will be the first to run in the District of Columbia since the dismantling of the previous streetcar system in 1962...

 system is under construction to link various neighborhoods to Washington Metro stations. The first tram line will connect Bolling Air Force Base
Bolling Air Force Base
Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling is a military installation, located in Southeast Washington, D.C., established on 1 October 2010 in accordance with congressional legislation implementing the recommendations of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission...

 to the Anacostia station and is expected to open in 2010. Streetcar routes have been proposed in the Atlas District
Atlas District
The Atlas District is an arts and entertainment district located in the Near Northeast neighborhood of Washington, DC. It runs along the resurgent H Street Corridor from the outskirts of Union Station to the crossroads with Maryland Ave, Bladensburg Road, and Florida Avenue. The name is not...

, Capitol Hill
Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.
Capitol Hill, aside from being a metonym for the United States Congress, is the largest historic residential neighborhood in Washington D.C., stretching easterly in front of the United States Capitol along wide avenues...

, and the K Street corridor
K Street (Washington, D.C.)
K Street is a major thoroughfare in the United States capital of Washington, D.C. known as a center for numerous think tanks, lobbyists, and advocacy groups.-Location:...

. In Virginia, the Pike Transit Initiative
Pike Transit Initiative
The Pike Transit Initiative is a collaborative project in Northern Virginia between Arlington and Fairfax counties and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to bring transit improvements to the Columbia Pike corridor...

 is a streetcar project that will link Annandale, Virginia
Annandale, Virginia
Annandale is a census-designated place in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States. The population was 41,008 at the 2010 census, down from 54,994 in 2000 due to the splitting off of the western part of it to form Wakefield and Woodburn CDP's.-Geography:...

 along Columbia Pike
Virginia State Route 244
State Route 244, also known as Columbia Pike, is a primary state highway in the U.S. state of Virginia. It is a four-lane road that runs from State Route 236 in Annandale, Fairfax County east to State Route 27 at the Pentagon in Arlington County.-History:Columbia Pike dates to 1810 when the U.S...

 to the Pentagon City station in Arlington. The streetcars were originally expected to begin service in 2011.

See also


External links



Transit enthusiast sites


Maps


Equipment