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Beltway Rail Feasibility

Capital Beltway Corridor Rail Feasibility Study

In May 2000 the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (VDRPT) initiated a study to determine the most technically and financially feasible transit links in the Beltway corridor between Springfield, Tysons Corner and Maryland. Information gathered during this study includes:

  • Modal alternatives considered included heavy rail, light rail, monorail and bus rapid transit.

  • Ten alternatives involving three corridors were initially identified. Five modal and corridor alternatives were selected for more detailed analysis.

  • Capital Cost estimates ranged from $38 million for a bus rapid transit option to $446 million for a monorail option to $2.1 billion for heavy rail.

  • Changes in daily regional transit ridership ranged from 38,000 to 108,000 out of a projected 20,000,000 daily trips of all types in 2020.

  • Study results were presented to the Policy Advisory Committee on February 8, 2001 and to public meetings on February 20th and 21st. The final report was presented on March 22nd.

Conclusions and recommendations regarding rail transit in the Capital Beltway Corridor include:

  • All five alternatives improve mobility in the corridor enough to warrant further investigation.

  • None of the alternatives significantly increases transit ridership in the region. The majority of trips generated by each alternative would be existing transit riders. The tested alternatives generated only about 20,000 new transit trips out of a projected 400,000 total trips in the corridor in 2020.

The implementation of any of the alternatives would require significant financial resources.

The most feasible transit alternatives are:

  • Monorail from Springfield to Tysons Corner with a heavy rail connection to Maryland

  • Heavy rail from Springfield to Tysons to Maryland.

  • Light rail

Similar feasibility studies should be performed on other Northern Virginia rail projects to help establish priorities.

Highway and transit improvements in and adjacent to the Beltway need to be coordinated.

For more information on the Capital Beltway Rail Feasibility study click here.