In the Baltimore region, multi-modal transportation planning takes a comprehensive approach which looks at all types of surface transportation and includes input from stakeholders and the public.
To be efficient and fair a transportation system must serve diverse demands. While not everybody uses all travel options, most communities include people who need each one. For example, not everybody uses public transit or needs universal design features such as curbcuts and ramps, but most communities include some people who require them to travel independently, and most people will need them sometime in their lives. Physically, economically and socially disadvantaged people in particular need diverse mobility options: walking and cycling for local travel, public transit for longer trips, and automobiles (ridesharing, chauffeuring and taxi travel) when necessary. As a result, to be efficient and fair transportation must be multimodal.
In addition, multi-modal planning focuses on how different types of transportation connect to each other and work together across jurisdictional boundaries. Ensuring that each transportation mode not only works well by itself, but also that it interacts and connects with other modes is essential. By doing so, there is more opportunity to move around, connect, and adapt to changes in the system such as emergencies, traffic congestion, etc.
Transportation Issues in Historic Town Centers
The Baltimore region includes a number of small historic town centers that have developed with significant geographic constraints that experience challenges with parking management, wayfinding and multimodal access. While this project concentrated primarily in Ellicott City in Howard County and Oella in Baltimore County, the intent of this project is to be used to guide design standards for future development in other historic downtown areas within the Baltimore region.
The project team utilized an advisory committee consisting of local residents, bicycle advocates, business owners and emergency services to provide input regarding existing conditions and recommendations for improvements. The project identified existing conditions within Ellicott City and Oella including: Wayfinding signage, parking availability and usage and existing sidewalk/crosswalk conditions.
With the help of the advisory committee, input from two public meetings and project team members, a series of recommendations for wayfinding and signage, parking and multimodal improvements were developed. Recommendations were broken down into short term, midterm or long term improvements as well as low, medium or high costs.
Best Practices for Promoting Healthy Communities
The practice of promoting healthy communities through transportation planning seeks to identify where improvements can be made to the built environment to promote active lifestyles, connections to jobs and services, and walking and biking on a regular basis. The focus of this study is specifically on the nexus between the built environment and health, and how the transportation system can support healthier outcomes for all members of the community.
Innovative initiatives and strategies at the local and regional level can be incorporated into the transportation planning process to ensure that the Baltimore region is holistically considering the impact of infrastructure on physical and mental health. This study provides a roadmap to coordinating land use decisions, community design, and transportation planning in a way that supports active, healthy, and vibrant communities.
As defined by both local jurisdictions and national leading organizations in health, a healthy community is one that provides access to crucial services, goods, and amenities through multimodal connections that support healthy lifestyles, ensure safe and comfortable access for all ages and abilities, and minimize discrepancies between health outcomes for all community members.
This report summarizes the state of local practice, reviews nationwide best practices, and gives recommended actions to empower the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board (BRTB) local members to integrate planning for health into the communities they serve. The state of local practice and review of best practices are grouped by the four key themes below, which also are reflected in multiple recommendations.
- Planning and Project Implementation
- Equity and Inclusion