Howard County Transit Development Plan
This document is an update to the Howard County Short-Range Transportation Development Plan (TDP), which is a short-term (typically a five-year period) plan to guide transit system development. The TDP provides a vision of the future public transportation system.
Howard County’s (County) last TDP was completed in 2003. Since that time, the transit program has undergone significant change. The TDP called for service expansion in several areas, and for the County to develop its own maintenance facility. Initially transit services were expanded, but in FY 2005 funding cuts reduced the amount of service by 21%, leading to a 4.3% drop in ridership. However, overall ridership recovered, and so ridership has increased from 672,178 in FY 2004 to over 818,182 in FY 08. In part this reflects expanded service hours and miles, but it also reflects other service improvements since that time. These include development of services that cross jurisdictional boundaries, providing regional linkages, such as the Silver Route. It also reflects improved marketing efforts, including bi-annual customer surveys of both the fixed-route and paratransit services, marketing and information materials in additional languages (Spanish and Korean), expanded hours of toll-free information lines and expanded customer service staffing to reduce waiting.The County has instituted a policy that all new transit vehicles will be hybrid gas- or diesel- electric to reduce the carbon footprint of the transit system. This policy uses County funding to pay for the incremental costs of the hybrid vehicles. New hybrid vehicles delivered so far include hybrid sedans for the paratransit system (offering improved access for those persons not using wheelchairs), and heavy-duty hybrid transit coaches for the busiest routes. In addition, the County has purchased low-floor buses to provide for easier access and quicker boarding.
The TDP is organized into five sections:
- Chapter 1 includes an assessment of current and near-term unserved potential need
- Chapter 2 provides an inventory and review of existing services
- Chapter 3 documents stakeholder and community input
- Chapter 4 develops alternatives to address identified needs and performance concerns
- Chapter 5 recommends a plan for improvements (with phased implementation) including capital and operating budget projection