Before a transportation project is funded and built, it usually appears in an approved state or local plan. Such a plan identifies how a project meets needs and demands, serves community goals, and fits into the existing transportation system.
State and local governments also conduct a variety of studies to identify solutions to key transportation challenges.
State-Level Plans and Studies
The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) is responsible for statewide transportation planning, including the Maryland Transportation Plan (MTP), which establishes policy goals for state transportation services and infrastructure over a 20-year period. The MTP is a starting point for the development of strategic plans, programs and projects by MDOT’s different administrations. The MTP was last updated in 2013.
MDOT holds a wide range of public meetings throughout the year.
Specific transportation projects in Maryland are identified and analyzed through studies and plans conducted through MDOT’s “modal administrations,” which deal with specific forms of transportation such as roads or public transit. The State Highway Administration (SHA) is responsible for planning, designing, building and maintaining the state's Interstate and state roads. SHA develops the Highway Needs Inventory (HNI) which identifies highway improvements to serve existing and projected population and economic activity in the state.
SHA holds periodic public meetings throughout the planning process.
The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) is the public transportation arm of MDOT. MTA is responsible for planning major public transit projects, as well as running the MARC rail system, operating commuter buses, and providing funding and support for the Washington region's Metro system.
Local Plans and Studies
The Land Use Article of the Maryland Annotated Code requires that municipalities adopt a comprehensive, or “master” plan
The Land Use Article of the Maryland Annotated Code requires counties and municipalities to adopt a comprehensive or "master plan." These plans show existing and planned land uses, including locations for jobs and housing.
These plans usually include a transportation element that identifies specific projects that the county has determined will be needed over the period of the plan—usually 20-25 years. In Maryland, many counties also have separate master plans of transportation. The state of Maryland cannot fund a transportation project unless it has been included in a local plan.
Counties also play a direct role in operating and funding transportation. Counties in Maryland are responsible for maintaining all local roads, although the State Highway Administration (SHA) has responsibility for secondary roads that are designated parts of the state system (including roads classified as minor arterials and major collectors). Maryland counties also operate their own local bus services: RideOn in Montgomery, The Bus in Prince George’s, TransIt in Frederick and VanGo in Charles. Finally, local governments use their property and income taxes to fund local streets and transit in Maryland.
Seven municipalities in Maryland are members of the Transportation Planning Board: City of Bowie, City of College Park, City of Frederick, City of Gaithersburg, City of Greenbelt, City of Rockville, and the City of Takoma Park
"P851 MARC Commuter," by John H Gray on Flickr.