ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today announced the completion of the County’s draft Transit Development Plan (TDP) 2023. A short-term plan, the TDP serves as a guide for our local transit system development and funding requests and provides a roadmap for implementing service and organizational improvements, including potential service expansion, during the next five years.
As highlighted in chapter four of our new General Plan, HoCo By Design, there is a growing recognition of the necessity to expand transit and multimodal networks to promote equity, improve roadway safety and take advantage of Howard County’s position as a link between Baltimore and Washington, DC. Through our latest Transit Development Plan, we hope to achieve this, while providing faster, more reliable transit service, improving the customer experience, growing our ridership, increasing access to jobs and opportunities, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The TDP process reviews, assesses and identifies transit goals and objectives, unmet transit needs, and alternatives to address unmet needs or to improve performance. The plan recommends phased improvements and provides capital and operating budget estimates for the recommendations. Short-, medium- and long-term improvements within a five-year horizon are identified.
“Our 2023 TDP strives to improve the local experience, expand service to underserved areas, and provide additional regional connectivity,” said Bruce Gartner, Administrator, Office of Transportation.
In the next five years, the draft 2023 TDP calls for the following improvements:
- Fiscal Year 2024 – Realignment of Route 405 (completed in July 2023), new Route 505 to Catonsville (completed in July 2023) and extension of Route 409 to Lansdowne via Elkridge (scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2024)
- Fiscal Year 2025 –Implement weekday service from Columbia to Howard County Public School System’s Board of Education, Homewood Center and Applications and Research Laboratory,and launch a Microtransit Pilot along US 1 Corridor
- Fiscal Year 2026 – Extend Route 501 to BWI MARC/Amtrak Station, launch new route between Columbia and Elkridge, and implement a Flash Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) extension along US 29 to Downtown Columbia
- Fiscal Year 2027 – Launch new route between Columbia and Laurel to Fort Meade and extend service from Howard County Public School System’s Board of Education, Homewood Center and Applications and Research Laboratory to Clarksville
- Fiscal Year 2028 –Create new routes from Laurel and Bowie and from Columbia to Maple Lawn/ Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
The development of the TDP was guided by a technical advisory group that consisted of Howard County’s Office of Transportation, the Regional Transportation Agency of Central Maryland (RTA) and the Maryland Transit Administration. The plan was also informed by input from the public through multiple stakeholder meetings and surveys, as well as briefings and comments from Howard County’s Multimodal Transportation Board, the Central Maryland Transportation and Mobility Commission and the RTA Rider Advisory Council.
The Multimodal Transportation Board supports the draft Transit Development Plan as it will improve service through route and schedule designs that make transit more convenient for county residents to travel in- and out-of-county, as well as providing transit infrastructure improvements to allow the future growth of service.