Corridor Cities Transitway

Alternatives

Montgomery County officials developed a general alignment for the Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT) in the 1970s and the project was included in various Master Plan updates over the years. Various segments of the transitway rights-of-way were obtained by Montgomery County and have been preserved. The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) accepted this alignment and proceeded to evaluated transit modes.

The transitway has been designed as a dedicated facility with only limited interaction with vehicular traffic at local street crossings. The transitway design criteria are such to accommodate either Light Rail Transit (LRT) or Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). Construction will involve either twin rail tracks or a two-lane roadway facility, depending on the mode selected. Stations and other amenities will be designed for either mode.

Multiple variations of transit strategies have been evaluated in the Corridor Study including:

The CCT would provide transit from the Shady Grove Metro station to the COMSAT facility just south of Clarksburg. The 14-mile long Transitway would include the creation of 13 transit stations from the proposed COMSAT station to the existing Shady Grove Metro station. The CCT will be comprised of either BRT or LRT. Both alternatives would be built in a dedicated right-of-way, currently reserved for the CCT project. Dedicated lanes or rails would allow passengers to enjoy a faster, more comfortable commute.

The proposed build alternatives are a mix of both highway and transit improvements and are defined with a number and letter pair. The highway build alternatives considered are numbered 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 and represent differing lane counts and configurations. Each of these is paired with the transit alternative: "A" for light rail transit, "B" for bus rapid transit, and "C" for the Premium Bus option (paired with highway alternative 5 only). Build Alternatives are thus identified as 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 5A, 5B, 5C, 6A, 6B, 7A, and 7B. When the highway component is the same for more than one transit option, the alternatives are referred to as 3A/B, 4A/B, 5A/B/C, 6A/B, and 7A/B.

Light Rail Transit

Light Rail Transit (LRT) is a railway that operates on exclusive rights-of-way and usually boards and discharges passengers at floor level. LRT is currently used worldwide and since 1980, LRT systems have opened in 13 metropolitan areas including Dallas, Portland, Salt Lake City, Baltimore, Houston, and Minneapolis. Typically, LRT vehicles are powered by electricity and use an overhead source for their power. LRT cars vary in width and length, but articulated cars, or several car sections hinged together, are most common in North America.

LRT Benefits:

  • A three-car train of articulated cars can safely transport more than 400 passengers
  • Fully automated operation is feasible on an exclusive track
  • Cars are quiet and provide a smooth ride
  • Externally supplied power allows for necessary heating and cooling without wasting fuel or loss in performance
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Bus Rapid Tranist

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a roadway transit option that incorporates the conveniences of rail transit with the versatility of buses. BRT systems have been successfully implemented in Los Angeles, Boston, Oregon and many cities abroad. BRT vehicles utilize dedicated lanes but can leave the exclusive lanes to serve local destinations as needed. The dedicated lanes can also be used by emergency vehicles and can be built next to highways or in the medians of streets. BRT vehicles are built with multiple doors for entry and exit and can be built to station level making it easier for those with disabilities to board. Although capacities and schedules differ, riders will typically have minimal transfers due to the ability of the BRT to service both local and express routes.

BRT Benefits:

  • BRT vehicles can leave the dedicated lanes to serve local destinations, minimizing the need for multiple transfers
  • Clean emission and low emission vehicles can be used
  • Can provide frequent all-day service based on maps, not schedules, carrying more people faster
  • Generally have lower capital costs per mile than rail systems
  • Can be built in phases, providing options to the traveling public immediately, and can be expanded cost effectively.
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Premium Bus Service

Premium bus service targets commuters who are willing to pay a higher fee for a more direct route and a comfortable journey. It offers a network of continuous, rapid bus service connections and typically provides longer distance destination service. Premium buses will serve key transit hubs and Park and Ride lots with limited stops and can operate in separated lanes or shared roadways.

Premium Bus Service Benefits:

  • Enhanced amenities and comfortable travel
  • Can use HOV and ETL lanes
  • Accesses transit hubs and Park and Ride lots via direct access ramps
  • Can provide a more direct route to the Shady Grove Metro Station