Transit Task Force Outlines Vision For Bus Transit Network

The task force's 150-page report was unveiled Tuesday.


A county-commissioned task force Tuesday called for a “comprehensive” bus rapid transit network across Montgomery County that would span 160 miles, providing an alternative to congested roads.

A bus rapid transit network was first envisioned four years ago by County Councilman Marc Elrich (D-At Large) of Takoma Park, The Gazette reports.

The task force unveiled a detailed report Tuesday outlining their vision for the transit system. The group refined the vision over a period of 15 months, meeting more than 30 times to create the 150-page report, The Washington Post reports.

Officials have touted the system as the “future of transportation” in Montgomery County, according to The Gazette.

In a statement Tuesday, Elrich called the group’s findings the “most practical, efficient and cost effective way to develop a world-class transit system to deal with the challenges of mounting congestion and declining mobility.”

Greater Greater Washington reported Tuesday on some of the key features of the network proposed by the task force, which include vehicles that would run in lanes separated from traffic. Advocates, including the Action Committee for Transit, lauded the finding and urged county officials to “use existing roadway lanes more efficiently by reserving them for bus-only traffic.”

The group envisions a system with “sleek and stylish” vehicles equipped with WiFi capabilities and electronic real-time messaging, a peak period frequency of three to five minute headways and off-peak period frequency of five to seven minute headways, and safe, wide and weather-protected stations with a “consistent and distinctive style,” GGW reported.

The network is expected to cost about $1.8 billion to construct, along with $180 million annually to maintain. The task force recommends funding the system in part through special taxing districts, which would require approval from the state legislature, The Washington Post reports.

The network would have up to 25 routes, including the Corridor Cities Transitway, the proposed north-south corridor from the COMSAT facility near Clarksburg to the Shady Grove Metrorail station. Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) this month endorsed the use of a bus rapid transit system for the CCT,

Most of the routes would fall in the heavily populated downcounty and along Interstate 270, the Post reports. The system is proposed to be constructed in phases, with the first phase “emphasizing service to areas that are most critical to our economic development and connects our federal research facilities,” County Executive Isiah Leggett (D), who commissioned the task force, said in a statement Tuesday.

In the statement, Leggett recognized the work of the task force and said he would begin work immediately with county transportation and finance departments to develop an “affordable plan” for the system.

A rapid transit network is a perhaps the single most practical and cost-effective alternative in solving our significant transportation capacity problems and relieving not only current, but future congestion,” Leggett said in the statement. “Gridlock is rampant and is hurting our economy, our safety and our quality of life.  That is why we need to invest in alternative transportation on a scale that will really make a difference to our residents and employers.”

Jerry May 23, 2012 at 10:06 PM
No, Frank, this was a DC Transit bus strike circa 1964. There was no subway then, and so to compare it to the 1978 strike would be the proverbial apples and oranges. Clearly, if you suddenly transfer thousands of subway commuters to the streets during a strike, then there is going to be gridlock. This is a good demonstration of why subways are a more desirable means of transportation compared with busses. They take commuters off of the streets and redistribute them into the subway tunnels. That's a good thing. Simply taking them out of personal vehicles and attempting to restribute them onto busses is not relieving the congestion on roadways.
Jerry May 25, 2012 at 11:56 AM
Frank, I respectuflly disagree. While busses do remove individual commuters from the roadways, that is not nearly to entire story. In fact, the congestion those same busses cause surpasses that due to a dozen or more small computer vehicles that they might replace. In this case, size very much matters. In fact, it is critical. No doubt, we have all experienced the congestion on I-95 in the vicinity of DC. Based upon my personal observation, that congestion is mostly due to trucks, busses, and RVs, more so than the pure number of vehicles. Common sense, as well as some fundamental physics, substantiates that observation. If the only vehicles on commuter routes were scooters or motorized bicycles, then there would be little or no congestion and traffic would move swiftly. At the other extreme, if the only vehicles on the same commuter routes were trucks, busses, and RVs, then traffic would be perpetually at a standstill. The fact is, those large vehicles are less maneuverable, accelerate more slowly, obstruct vision for smaller vehicles, and, in the case of busses, make frequent stops. A good analogy is the human circulatory system. Lots of tiny red blood cells can easily move swiftly and without stopping throughout the system. Introduce a few large bodies, and circulation comes nearly to a standstill. In view of this, introduce behemoth busses onto commuter routes is counterproductive, just about the least sensible thing one could do.
macadoodle June 16, 2012 at 01:33 AM
A smarter group of people on this page than in the entire bureaucracy of the County Executive building and the County Council. Unfortunately, the opinions of John & Jane Q. Public mean very little to the people they elected. The leaders enjoy noblesse oblige and rule their Montgomery County fiefdom like the princes of another time in the distant past. They have no idea how their subjects live day to day. As King Arthur and his Guinevere sang in Camelot: What do the Simple Folk do? ......
Corbin Dallas Multipass June 16, 2012 at 10:30 PM
"A good analogy is the human circulatory system" Red blood cells have no ability to change their route as far as I know. Humans can maneuver around large obstructions. From my personal observation, I see it every day and do it myself, and so the Busses only slightly affect my commute. I think comparing fluids to traffic only gets you so far.
Bob B June 18, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Corbin, you make the point. You have to go around the bus, into the other lane. Tons of busses, tons of people doing that, messing up the other lane. Add in someone turning left where is no left hand turn lane and you have a three lane road narrowed down to one lane. With the stopping, restarting, and doing that again as people come into your lane to avoid the bus, congestion is created that need not be.


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