Rush Hour.  Image by T. Mertens used with permission.

Metro’s MyTripTime tool gives riders access to their on-time performance data for their actual Metro trips based on their tap-in, tap-out times. It’s a potentially powerful tool, but it has some limitations. We want to make this data public so we (and you) can do some deeper analysis and show WMATA that with some tweaks, the MyTripTime dashboard could be a valuable tool for riders and planners. Will you help?

It’s a great tool

MyTripTime measures customer on-time performance (rather than train on-time performance). It measures how long a rider's trip took from the time they tap their SmarTrip card when they enter a station to when they tap out leaving their destination station. WMATA's provides an on-time range, which includes walking from the fare gate to the platform, waiting for the train to arrive based on normal operating conditions, and exiting to the destination fare gate. You can read more details here.

The MyTripTime tool makes personalized data accessible to riders. That’s awesome! Riders should be able to calibrate their perceptions about their riding experience with hard data about how long their trips are actually taking, from when the tap into the station, to when they exit.

And it could be greater

Unfortunately, the data behind the MyTripTime tool is limited and not public. Right now, riders can only access their personal trip time data by logging in to their WMATA account and navigating to the MyTripTime dashboard (instructions here). When they actually remember to log in, they'll only see their data for the previous three months. So if I log in and want to compare my current three-month on-time scores to the same time last year, there's no way to do so through the dashboard. Additionally, riders can only see their own data and can't compare their on-time scores to other riders. 

So, it's no surprise to us that the MyTripTime tool has lower user rates than WMATA expected. We think there are a few simple solutions that would increase rider usage, give WMATA more data to help inform how they deploy maintenance and service resources, and give riders more insight into their riding stats. 

We’re trying to fix some of these issues by building a database to get these data out from the WMATA backend and into the public realm and show WMATA that a few tweaks could greatly improve the MyTripTime tool!

But we need riders like you to participate

We had hoped to get anonymized individual on-time performance data directly from WMATA to create the database and do some analysis. Unfortunately, the legal hurdles are just too great. But since there are thousands of Metro riders who read GGWash on a regular basis, we decided to crowdsource the database. Will you help?

Next week, we’re launching a site for riders to share their personal on-time scores over the course of three to six months. Not only will you be doing your fellow riders a solid by lending your data to a publicly accessible database, you’ll also get a chance to set personalized on-time performance targets, and maybe even steal a spot on the leaderboard for best (or worst) scores.

You’ll get monthly reminders to log in to your MyTripTime dashboard and share your data through the microsite we're finalizing right now. We’ll also include some quick analyses of the data on a month-by-month basis, and of course, make the database public at the end of the initiative.

Using our collective data to help advocate for a better Metro system

Building a public database of riders’ actual on-time scores can help advocates and Metro supporters across the region push for the reforms and dedicated funding streams WMATA needs to provide a first-class transit system.

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This post is part of GGWash's community engagement program, where we contract with organizations (in this case, WMATA) to run programs which better engage people in crowdsourcing ideas or information to aid in decision-making. Client organizations are never allowed to write or approve the specific copy, and our volunteer Editorial Board reviews all published materials to be sure they maintain GGWash's independence. Have questions? Contact us here.

Sarah Guidi is Greater Greater Washington's Managing Director. A social worker by training, Sarah brings knowledge of nonprofit management, policy and advocacy, and community engagement to Greater Greater Washington. When she's not working, she enjoys visiting new parts of the city by bike, doing gymnastics, and reading novels. Sarah lives in the Petworth neighborhood of DC.