The preliminary report on Montgomery County’s proposed Bus-Rapid-Transit (BRT) study is posted on-line, but in a recent email from the County, it was disclosed that due to a traffic model coding error, some of the results will need to be recalculated. 

The net effect was that ridership figures across much of the system were overstated.  County officials noted that the cost figures would likely be revised downward as well, as fewer BRT vehicles would be needed once the lower ridership numbers were adopted. 

Read the preliminary report here.

This week the Montgomery County Council was briefed on the summary findings of a new report, due to be released soon, on the feasibility of building a new countywide rapid-transit system, using bus-rapid-transit (BRT) technology. 

The proposed system would divert an estimated 85,000 drivers per day off existing roads, and cost roughly $2.5 billion to build, and another $144 to $173 million annually to operate.    

Look for more detailed coverage here when the entire report is released.  See our News Page for recent coverage in the Gazette.

A new report issued by The Road Information Project (TRIP), a national transportation think-tank, highlights the cost to Maryland citizens of the Free State’s continued failure to invest in its surface transportation network.

According to the report, “with the state’s population continuing to grow, Maryland must improve its systems of roads, bridges, and public transit to foster economic growth, keep business in the state, and ensure the safe, reliable mobility needed to improve the quality of life for all residents.” 

Among its key findings:

  • 44% of the major roads in Maryland are classified as in poor or mediocre condition.
  • 26% of the state’s bridges are either “structurally deficient” or “functionally obsolete.”
  • 55% of Maryland’s urban highways are severely congested during peak travel times — eighth highest rate in the nation. 

Most alarmingly, the report finds that the poor condition of Maryland roads is costing Maryland drivers big-time:  To the tune of about $7 billion a year in unecessary injuries from traffic accidents, lost time due to congestion-related delays, wasted fuel, and additional vehicle operating costs. In the Washington area, that comes out to about $2,296 per motorist, per year, that is being lost due to a failure to invest in our most basic transportation infrastructure. (FYI – the cost to each of us from a 10-cent-per-gallon increase in the state gas tax is only about $40 to $50 per year, depending on how much you drive!)

Former Montgomery County Executive Douglas Duncan, who chairs the Suburban Maryland Transportation Alliance, said it best:  “After decades of under-investment, we are out of time, out of money, and out of excuses.  The time to fix this is now, and that means finding new revenues and making sure they are spent on our failing transportation system. ”  Amen. 

The TRIP report lists some of the key projects that would significantly improve traffic conditions, but are not currently funded for construction:  New transit lines like the Purple Line and Corridor Cities Transitway, improvements to the I-95/I-495 interchange, widening sections of I-70 and I-270 to add new lanes, and a host of other road, intersection, bridge and transit projects throughout the region.

Bottom line:  None of these projects can be funded today without a significant increase in transportation funding.  Read the full report: TRIP Report.

Decades of under-investment, fiscal neglect and local opposition to suburban Maryland’s transportation priorities have finally gotten us somewhere – number one on the list of most congested metropolitan areas in the US – according to a recent study cited by the Washington Post. The news comes as no surprise.

The latest Texas Transportation Institute Urban Mobility Report ranks the Washington, D.C., region number 1 (tied with Chicago) in peak hour delays, with 70 hours lost per commuter, per year, on average, in our region.

What could you do with an extra 70 hours each year? This is not to mention the tons of extra carbon emissions and over $3,000 wasted per household on extra fuel and wear-and-tear on our vehicles caused by severe congestion.

The TTI survey ranks our region-

• #1 in fuel wasted per peak auto commuter

• #2 in commuter stress

• #2 in cost of delay per peak hour auto commuter ($1,555/year)

To read the entire report, click here.

The survey’s authors hit the nail on the head:

“In the end there’s a need for more capacity.”

–Tim Lomax, Author

Texas Transportation Institute

2010 Urban Mobility Report