A new report issued by the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) outlines potential regional transit services and ridesharing opportunities that could be possible if managed lanes are built along the I-270 and I-495 corridors.
The Transit Service Coordination Report is the collaborative product of a Transit Work Group (TWG) formed in May 2019 with representatives from county, state and federal transit agencies.
The work group explored how managed lanes on I-495 and I-270 could complement and benefit local transit agencies in the National Capital Region. Members also looked at the potential for new commuter bus service that could connect Frederick to Gaithersburg, Bethesda to Tysons Corner, and New Carrollton to National Harbor.
Members included representatives from Prince George’s, Montgomery, Frederick, Anne Arundel, Howard and Charles counties. Agency and stakeholder groups included the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and MDOT, including MDOT SHA and MDOT Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA).
“The report illustrates how managed lanes would offer Marylanders potential new travel options through better connection points and faster transit service that also would link key suburban communities that are currently underserved,” said Lisa Choplin, I-495 & I-270 P3 Program Director.
Transit vehicles would have free use of the managed lanes, and alternatives being evaluated as part the P3 Program’s I-495 & I-270 Managed Lanes Study could provide travel speeds for transit vehicles of at least 45 mph, even during rush hour, resulting in a reliable trip for transit riders.
“There’s a clear demand for high-quality transit service to get our customers to life’s opportunities,” Choplin said. “The managed lanes would provide opportunities not otherwise possible to facilitate a transit network that is a time-competitive alternative to individuals driving single occupancy vehicles.”
Members of the work group shared excitement about their work and the report’s findings.
“The managed lanes project has the potential to significantly improve transit reliability,” said Terry Bellamy, Director of the Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation. “Prince George’s County is excited because it allows for the potential to develop virtual BRT (bus rapid transit) services that could connect the Purple Line with activity centers in New Carrollton, Largo, Branch Avenue, National Harbor and even Alexandria, Virginia.”
“The Transit Work Group performed a comprehensive review, including regional travel patterns and population trends,” said Bruce Gartner, Administrator of Howard County’s Office of Transportation. “They listened to us and developed a series of potential new public transit route concepts that could enhance and support ongoing transit investments.
“Howard County is highly interested in advancing opportunities to connect to Montgomery County’s new Flash 29 BRT service and is supportive of efforts by Montgomery County and the state to improve reliable transit service between Columbia and Bethesda,” he added.
The Transit Service Coordination Report is available on the I-495 & I-270 P3 Program’s Transit Benefits page. The website also includes updates and additional information on the ongoing the I-495 & I-270 P3 Program study.
For updates and information on the I-495 & I-270 P3 Program, including details about public input opportunities on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, go to https://495-270-p3.com/.