From 2000 to 2008, the percentage of commuters in the Washington D.C. region who use public transit to get to and from work grew faster than in almost any city in the country. Only New York City's percentage grew faster.
The D.C. area's Metro system has strained mightily to keep up with this rising demand. It's one of the only big-city transit systems in the country that doesn't enjoy a dedicated funding source. Consequently, Metro never really knows how much revenue it's going to have from year to year.
The Brookings Institution's Emilia Istrate says this is one of the first things Metro needs to change for it to be able to handle more ridership growth in the future.
To hear what else she has to say, check out WAMU's coverage of the Brookings study.