The BRTB continues to explore a wide array of emerging transportation technologies to understand the impacts and benefits from their ongoing advancements, development, and deployment in order to deliver a safer, more equitable, and more efficient transportation system for the Baltimore region. These technologies include connected and automated vehicles (CAV), personal delivery devices, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), and electric vehicles (automotive, truck, bike and scooter), as well as technologies that will provide improved real-time information to drivers and vehicles across the region.
The BMC and the BRTB have, and will continue to, host various informal “What’s on Tap” events, inviting a variety of speakers to inform our stakeholders on issues and emerging technologies. The BMC and the BRTB will help our stakeholders stay informed on the latest smart deployment and use of emerging transportation technologies to help us squeeze more value out of our transportation assets, improve our economy and ultimately the quality of life throughout the Baltimore region.
Connected and Automated Vehicles
The Maryland Department of Transportation has been active in bringing together all stakeholders in CAV and has created a web page on this topic. BMC works closely with MDOT staff to ensure coordination and streamlining of effort; BMC staff has been actively involved in the State’s CAV Working Group.
As CAV use increases, it will be critical for local jurisdictions to understand how CAVs might impact the region’s transportation infrastructure, to plan for these impacts (both positive and negative), and to work towards having CAVs support local goals, particularly related to equity, safety, environmental stewardship, and reliability. In September 2022, BMC started work on a project to explore these issues and to develop customized CAV recommendations for local jurisdictions and the region. Products from this project include:
Emerging Technologies White Paper
The Baltimore Regional Transportation Board (BRTB) is engaged in a planning process for Resilience 2050: Adapting to the Challenges of Tomorrow, the next long-range transportation plan (LRTP) for the Baltimore region. As part of this process, the BRTB is developing a series of white papers and surveys to share with the public.
One of the white papers is on Emerging Technologies, which provides an overview of recent and expected advances in transportation technologies across a range of modes, including cars, freight carriers, public transit and micromobility vehicles. With the rise of Electric Vehicles, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, Connected Vehicles and Automated Vehicles, there is potential to reimagine transportation systems in the Baltimore region. The BRTB is preparing for these rapid technological advances while staying true to its mission and goals to make investment decisions and develop programs and projects that support a safe, efficient, accessible, equitable and environmentally-responsible transportation system for all users.
In preparation for the update of the Baltimore Region's Transportation Plan, Maximize 2045, the BRTB hosted the Baltimore Regional New Mobility Transportation Forum in March of 2019, where participants heard about how the significant growth of new services such as ride-share, ride-hail, advancements in electric and alternative powertrains and lighter weight materials, data management and artificial intelligence, and the quest for connected and autonomous vehicle technologies are converging to offer new services and systems for the traveling public. Presentations and an overview can be found online.
Along these lines, one report explored the Regional Potential For New And Shared Mobility. This report compiled case studies related to New Mobility/Shared Mobility and its potential within several of the region’s contexts; these contexts were identified in partnership with the BRTB Technical Committee. Each of these contexts is experiencing development, redevelopment, or change in a different way. These case studies seek to provide insight as to how regulations, programs, and the development review process might change to help align the arrival or expansion of New Mobility/Shared Mobility services and modes with public goals. This effort attempted to consider a broad cross-section of contexts so that value could be provided across the region and not just in the more densely populated jurisdictions.
A second report is The Role of Development Review in Shared-Use Mobility. This report documents Best Practices which compiles exemplary New Mobility/shared Mobility related policies from around the country, and summarizes the consensus State of the Practice research. In this document, “best practices” refer to practices that may be beneficial to adopt in the regionally-relevant contexts discussed in these case studies.
Preparing for these advancements and new technologies begins with a good understanding of how the emergence of a new ecosystem of mobility could offer the Baltimore region a faster, cheaper, cleaner, safer, more efficient, and more customized travel experience to our citizens and businesses.
Unmanned Aerial Systems
On December 4, 2018, the Baltimore Metropolitan Council hosted an Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Information Exchange Forum which was supported in part by the Maryland State Geographic Information Systems Committee (MSGIC) and KCI Technologies. The event brought together over 150 people interested in learning more about using UAS to support public works and transportation functions. Attendees came from a wide range of institutions including local, state, and federal government, private companies, universities, and non-profits. Presentations are posted online.