Washington Suburbs Accelerate Push for Rapid Transit

In D.C.'s built-out northern suburbs in Montgomery County, Maryland, officials recently released an audacious plan for a proposed 160-mile “RTV” system that they hope will revolutionize transportation patterns in the area, writes Yonah Freemark.

Planners envision the roughly $2 billion plan for a network of bus rapid transit lines released this month as the "shiny new face for transit in the region" and hope that by operating more like "light rail on rubber tires" the system will "attract a new group of choice riders onto buses operating at headways of 3 to 7 minutes at all times of the day."

Augmenting the existing Metro and MARC lines in D.C.'s inner ring suburbs, "the transit system would be the 'most cost effective way' to absorb excess traffic congestion," and is seen as offering the "'best hope for creating vibrant, mixed-use communities' that will be denser, more walkable neighborhoods."

According to Freemark, "Montgomery County planners have chosen to prioritize the concept of network development with the RTV plan, arguing that the project will only work if it is developed as a unified system. In this way, they are following other regions like the Twin Cities that recognize that the old method of studying transit lines corridor by corridor (e.g. the federal New Starts process) is opposed to the manner in which people actually use public transportation, as part of a network."

Full Story: Major Ambitions for Improved Transit in the Inner Suburbs North of Washington


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