This comprehensive study looks at the feasibility of bus rapid transit in the county. It is now available for public review.
MCDOT initiated a county-wide bus rapid transit (BRT) study to identify key corridors that could facilitate premium rapid transit service. The intent of this effort was to complete a planning-level analysis of how feasible a network of BRT routes across the county would be. This feasibility study serves as the first step toward implementing a BRT system in Montgomery County for individual corridors. Many additional factors of such a system will need to be discussed and resolved jointly by the County and neighboring agencies, jurisdictions, and the general public. These discussions will ultimately drive policy and investment decisions.
The report can now be accessed via MCDOT’s website. Readers can read and print the more than 30 page PDF document from their computer. The study also contains additional appendices and maps of potential BRT corridors.
What is Bus Rapid Transit?
The study focuses on implementing a BRT system that would emulate light rail operations in terms of its features, but would operate on the local arterial roadways of the county. This system would rely on walk access, local bus transfers, and some park-and-ride access. It would combine the most attractive features of light rail with the lower costs of bus technology. Instead of trains and tracks, BRT invests in improvements to vehicles, roadways, rights-of-way, intersections, and traffic signals to speed up bus transit service. BRT systems currently exist in various locations across the U.S. and in other countries including South America.
The study recommends developing bus rapid transit along 16 corridors, totaling 150 miles. Such a system would feature streamlined vehicles with service similar to light rail, but at a lower cost. Passengers would pay their fares in advance and enter low floor buses directly through multiple doors—no steps or lifts. Buses would arrive at stations every 10 minutes or less, preferably operating in the median of major roads, such as Veirs Mill, Georgia Avenue, and Randolph Road. When operating on general use lanes, the buses could be given priority at traffic signals—meaning buses can hold the green light a little longer while clearing the intersection.