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Chevy Chase, MD (September 19, 2014) - In response to a request from the Town of Chevy Chase for data related to Purple Line ridership estimates, the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) has provided several publicly-available travel forecasting reports along with encrypted and unusable data files used in the travel forecasting models.
In its letter to the Town dated July 31, the MTA claimed that it could not provide the proprietary software used to read the encrypted files and run the travel forecast models. The MTA also noted in its letter that it used nationally-accepted practices for travel forecasting for the Purple Line project. However, the Town cannot determine from the reports whether these practices are objective or reasonable, or even applicable to this specific project or region. As a case in point, while Purple Line operating speeds have slowed significantly since the start of the study, ridership projections have increased -- a counterintuitive result that is not explained by the MTA.
According to Town Mayor Kathy Strom, “Although we appreciate the MTA’s responsiveness to our request, the information they have provided is useless in determining the validity of Purple Line ridership estimates. For this reason, the Town will be submitting requests and questions to the MTA regarding the practices and assumptions used to estimate ridership so that we can determine whether they are appropriate and whether they changed during the course of the study.”
The Town recently requested that Sam Schwartz Engineering review the data provided by MTA. The report is available here.