RELEASE: “MetroGreater” contest solicits rider ideas for small ways Metro can improve rider experience

Greater Greater Washington & Coalition for Smarter Growth

June 22, 2016 – 10:00 AM

David Alpert, Greater Greater Washington
(202) 596-9449

Aimee Custis, Coalition for Smarter Growth
(202) 431-7185

“MetroGreater” contest solicits rider ideas for small ways Metro can improve rider experience

WASHINGTON DC — A new crowdsourcing contest called MetroGreater, which launched this morning, allows riders and other members of the public to suggest small ideas to improve the experience on Metrorail, Metrobus, and MetroAccess. The public is invited to submit ideas at and comment on others’ entries.

The contest is produced by Greater Greater Washington in collaboration with the Coalition for Smarter Growth and WMATA. While Metro is hard at work on serious, long-term, safety-related rebuilding through SafeTrack, there are opportunities to make smaller, faster, cheaper changes along the way which will improve the rider experience both during rebuilding and beyond.

Since General Manager Paul Wiedefeld took over at WMATA, the agency has already taken several steps to help riders, such as adding decals to platforms showing where trains will stop and color-coding eight-car trains on the digital signs. This contest will help WMATA identify further ideas to help riders on rail, bus, and paratransit.

Eligible ideas are those that:

  • Can be implemented by Metro in no more than 3-6 months;
  • Will cost no more than $100,000 to complete;
  • Have negligible costs to continue into the future;
  • Violate no laws or regulations; and
  • Will not negatively impact service or safety.

The public can access the contest details and rules, and submit their own entries, at Submissions will be accepted through July 15, 2016. A jury of regional experts and advocates will select 10 submissions that meet all necessary criteria as finalists. The public will vote for a winner in August.

WMATA has committed to implementing the winning entry within six months, and could implement other ideas as well at their option. Greater Greater Washington and the Coalition for Smarter Growth will offer periodic updates on the implementation status of the winning entry through late 2016. The winner will receive public recognition and some transit memorabilia.

“Metro has serious safety and repair problems that General Manager Wiedefeld is working to address with SafeTrack and other initiatives,” said David Alpert, founder and President of Greater Greater Washington. “But in the meantime, WMATA shouldn’t stop finding quick ways to make things better for riders on all forms of transit. When Mr. Wiedefeld came on board at WMATA, he approached us about ways to better engage with riders, and we were pleased he was willing to green-light a project like MetroGreater. This effort is another small step in the right direction for Metro.”

“Those of us outside the transit agency can’t turn wrenches or replace rail ties,” said Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director at the Coalition for Smarter Growth. “But riders, advocates, and the public have a wealth of knowledge, ideas, and energy that we can share. Riders know the system intimately, and we’re excited to see the small, creative and implementable ideas the contest brings to light that WMATA can use to improve the rider experience.”

Greater Greater Washington and the Coalition for Smarter Growth are regional thought leaders on transit and have repeatedly shaped the region’s conversation on the Metro system, including: making the case for transit-oriented development; building support for the Silver Line, Potomac Yard Metro Station, and priority bus corridors including dedicated bus lanes; and devising the station subtitle naming system that’s on the Metro map today.

About Greater Greater Washington
Greater Greater Washington harnesses blogging and community activism to build informed and civically engaged communities of people who believe in a growing and inclusive Washington DC region and speak up for livable communities for all. Read more at

About the Coalition for Smarter Growth
The Coalition for Smarter Growth is the leading advocacy organization in the Washington DC region dedicated to making the case for smart growth. For 19 years, the Coalition for Smarter Growth has worked for walkable, inclusive, and transit-oriented communities, and the land use and transportation policies and investments needed to make those communities flourish. Learn more at