Transportation Planning in Montgomery County

Photo by RK & Tina on Flickr.

Making plans for future transportation improvements in Montgomery County is the primary responsibility of two agencies: The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) Montgomery County Planning Department and the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT).  M-NCPPC is responsible for longer-range planning activities, including master plans and specific studies of potential future improvements. MCDOT is responsible for shorter-term planning and implementation of improvements.

Visit the Montgomery County Outreach Center for various ways to stay informed and get involved in planning-related decision-making.

Comprehensive Planning

Montgomery County's General Plan, commonly called the Wedges and Corridors Plan, was originally adopted in 1964.  The Wedges and Corridors name comes from the regional land use pattern it recommends. It channels growth into development corridors while at the same time, wedges of open space, farmland, and lower density residential uses are preserved.

Periodically this 1964 document is updated and amended. The most recent refinement was completed in December 1993. It does not replace the 1964 General Plan but reaffirms the Wedges and Corridors emphasis and replaces the guidelines that were expressed in a 1969 update of the General Plan.

Countywide Transportation Planning

Montgomery County's Master Plan of Highways and Transit, a component of the General Plan, comprises a countywide map showing existing and planned roads and transit.

M-NCPPC in 2013 developed a Functional Plan on Countywide Transit Corridors. This plan is focused on the implementation of a network of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines.  The plan will recommend corridors for inclusion in the Master Plan of Highways, based on projected ridership, as well as identify right-of-way needs. 

Plans for Specific Locations & Transportation Modes

Each community within Montgomery County has a master plan that creates a comprehensive view of land-use trends and future development. Master plans typically include recommendations for local transportation improvements. 

MNCPPC also regularly develops functional transportation plans for specific locations or corridors. Such plans include recommendations for local transportation improvements that respond to growth and demand (for example, the county's BRAC-related planning at the Naval Medical Center). Others focus propose community land-use and circulation changes that will respond to new major transoprtation projects (see, for example, the county's Purple Line Functional Plan or planning related to the Corridor Cities Transitway

Some functional plans, such as the 2005 Countywide Bikeways Functional Master Plan, focus on specific modes.

Operations and Maintenance

Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) operates an extensive bus system, RideOn, with a fleet of more than 300 county-owned buses. MCDOT is also responsible for maintaining all other roads in the County that are not maintained by the state, private home owners associations, or municipalities (such as Rockville or Gaithersburg).  MCDOT provides a variety of other services, including snow removal, senior tranpsortation services and traffic operations.

"Twilight Sky Over Silver Spring," by RK & Tina on Flickr.