Metro’s Most Popular Trips, by the Numbers
Thanks to PlanItMetro's data dump and Greater Greater Washington's number crunching, we now have a pretty good sense of which Metro stations are busiest at various times of the day. During the morning commute, Union Station sees the most people entering the system (presumably commuters from outside the city/region), and the two Farragut Square stations (which, as GGW points out, would have been a single transfer station if not for the objections of the National Park Service) are the main destinations. During the evening commute, that's flipped: Farragut North is the leading point of entry (followed by Metro Center), and Union Station is the top destination (followed by Vienna). The GGW post has some great maps and is worth reading in its entirety.
But I dug through the data a bit to answer a few supplemental questions. Here they are:
Q: What's the most popular trip?
A: Farragut North to Union Station during the p.m. peak. An average of 1890.6 riders made this exact trip each day during the month of May. No. 2 is Shady Grove to Farragut North during the a.m. commute, followed by Union Station to Farragut North in the a.m.
Q: What's the least popular trip?
A: Trick question. There were 144 trips that were made an average of 0.0 times on weekdays in May. Turns out not many people travel from Wheaton to Arlington Cemetery during the afternoon rush hour, or from Federal Center SW to Congress Heights during the a.m. rush.
Q: What's the most popular intra-District trip?
A: If you count Union Station as a suburban point of entry in the morning and point of exit in the evening, given that the vast majority of riders there are heading from/to places outside D.C., then the top 18 weekday trips are all between the suburbs and the city—or, in a few cases, between the suburbs and the suburbs. (This, by the way, is exactly how Metro is supposed to work: The driving force behind its construction was the desire to reduce traffic for suburban commuters.) No. 19? Friendship Heights to Farragut North during the morning peak. But the Friendship Heights station straddles the D.C./Maryland border, so we'll have to disqualify it and jump all the way down to No. 34: Van Ness to Farragut North.
Q: Seems like this list is kinda dominated by the Red and Orange/Blue lines. What's the top Green or Yellow Line trip?
A: You're very observant! The top Yellow Line trip clocks in at No. 33: Huntington to Pentagon during the morning commute. The top Green Line trip is all the way down at No. 73: Branch Avenue to L'Enfant Plaza. Now you can understand why the Green Line wasn't part of the original Metro plans and had to be pushed by D.C. community leaders.
Q: How about on the weekends? Where do people go?
A: To the National Mall. The top trip on both Saturday and Sunday is Vienna to Smithsonian, by a wide margin. Weekend travel does seem to be more diverse than weekday travel, though: There are no daytime trips made by an average of fewer than 0.3 riders per day. (During the late-night peak hours, the lowest average is 0.1.)
Q: What's the most popular late-night trip?
A: Gallery Place to Columbia Heights. Where the Green Line was left in the dust in weekday commuting, it takes over late at night: Three of the top five late-night trips are on the Green Line. (The other two are U Street to Fort Totten and Gallery Place to Fort Totten.)
Photo by Pfrench99, Flickr Creative Commons Attribution License