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What is BRT?

Bus Rapid Transit or BRT is a rapid transit system, with the speed and frequency of a train. Think of it as a comfortable train on rubber tires, often using dedicated lanes on busy roads like Route 29, Route 355, and Viers Mill Road, but with fewer stops than a bus to get you places quickly. BRT typically features stations where you can wait comfortably and pay your fare before boarding.

Features include: frequent all-day service, off-board fare collection, rail-like stations, well-designed routes, real-time passenger information, Wi-Fi and power outlets.

BRT buses typically have features similar to light rail, including: level floors, multiple wide doors for easy boarding and departure, and comfortable interiors that include space for wheelchairs and bicycle storage.

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Where will it be?

Montgomery County is currently working with the State of Maryland to study three corridors for possible BRT implementation. The corridors are:

  • US 29 from Burtonsville to downtown Silver Spring: Study funded by the State of Maryland.
  • MD 355 from Clarksburg to Bethesda: Study funded by the State of Maryland.
  • MD 586 from Rockville to Wheaton: Study funded by Montgomery County.

Additional corridors are planned for other parts of the county, as noted in the Countywide Tranist Corridors Functional Master Plan.

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Who is BRT for?

Bus Rapid Transit is for anyone who wants to save precious time and money when they travel around the county. BRT will serve local residents, commuters, and transit users who want cost-effective, quick, comfortable, more frequent transport to destinations along designated corridors. Learn more about who can benefit from this new transit option and how.

Why do we need it?

New transit options are needed because the County must look for ways to address traffic congestion as the area continues to grow. We are already experiencing all of the problems that come with too many cars on our roads. And it’s only going to get worse because congestion is predicted to increase 70 percent by 2040.

County residents, workers, and visitors need a more pleasant, less expensive, and easier way to get around the county. BRT is an affordable, flexible option that would use existing roads to increase the county's transportation connections among communities while providing frequent, reliable service: getting people to and from jobs, homes, shopping, entertainment, schools, medical facilities, and more.

What will BRT cost?

It's too early to tell how much BRT will cost. To accurately estimate the cost of any project, a certain amount of design and engineering work needs to take place. Often up to 30 percent of the project needs to be engineered in order to be able to make a realistic cost projection.

At this point, most of the BRT corridors under study are not far enough along in the design process for MCDOT and the State of Maryland to predict the final cost. Issues such as where specifically the stations will be located, whether the BRT will operate in its own separate lanes, in the median, or in mixed traffic, and construction and operation will have critical roles in determining the future cost of a line.

These issues are still being studied on most corridors. Until they are resolved and the designers can carry out initial design work—that 30 percent point mentioned above—a meaningful cost projection is difficult to provide.

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News and Events

The MD586 BRT Draft Corridor Study Report is now available. Visit the Maryland State Highway Administration website -- scroll to bottom.

MCDOT has received an award as a result of its application to the USDOT's Tiger VIII grant program. The grant will provide partial funding for the BRT project on U.S. 29.  See more details on our Tiger Grant page.

The Maryland Department of Transportation, in collaboration with Montgomery County, conducted two public Open Houses this spring to provide information on a study for developing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) along a portion of the MD 355 corridor.  Learn more details and  offer your comments on the study

For news specific to the corridor advisory committee, click on the button "Corridor Advisory Committees" at top of this page.



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