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Pub­lic trans­porta­tion is an impor­tant tool for reduc­ing air pol­lu­tion, energy con­sump­tion, and green­house gas emis­sions. By pro­vid­ing an effi­cient and con­ve­nient pub­lic trans­porta­tion sys­tem, Howard County helps the envi­ron­ment, pro­vides an eco­nomic way for peo­ple to com­mute to work, and pro­vides trans­porta­tion options for seniors and peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties. Other local pro­grams pro­mote car­pool­ing, pedes­trian and bicy­cle path­ways, and effi­cient trans­porta­tion planning.

Indi­vid­u­als can save energy and money by keep­ing engines tuned up, keep­ing tires prop­erly inflated, and avoid­ing rapid acceler­a­tion and brak­ing. Car­pools and pub­lic trans­porta­tion are even better.

Howard County Pub­lic Transportation

Elec­tric Buses — Howard County received a fed­eral grant to add three full-size, light­weight elec­tric buses to the Howard Tran­sit fleet for use in and around Colum­bia. These new buses are pow­ered by an induc­tive charger that pro­vides energy to the bus bat­ter­ies through elec­tro­mag­netic induc­tion. In other words, the bat­ter­ies are re-energized with­out hav­ing to be plugged in. The induc­tive charg­ing sys­tem, which looks like a large pad that the buses park on top of. The buses oper­ate on Howard Transit’s Green Route which is the most heav­ily used line, pro­vid­ing ser­vice to Colum­bia Mall, Howard Com­mu­nity Col­lege and Howard County Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal.  For more info visit http://transitrta.com/electric.

Regional Trans­porta­tion Agency of Cen­tral Maryland

RTA pro­vides daily bus ser­vice in Colum­bia, Elli­cott City, Sav­age, and other loca­tions in and around Howard County. For infor­ma­tion on fares, routes and sched­ules, please visit the RTA web­site: www.transitRTA.com

RTA Mobil­ity - is a curb-to-curb, shared ride trans­porta­tion ser­vice for rid­ers who are unable to ride RTA fixed route tran­sit sys­tem due to a dis­abil­ity or age.  Learn more at http://www.transitrta.com/paratransit/

MTA Com­muter Bus — The Mary­land Tran­sit Admin­is­tra­tion (MTA) pro­vides con­tracted com­muter bus ser­vice from within Howard County to Bal­ti­more City and Wash­ing­ton, DC. Many of these buses meet at park and ride loca­tions. Sched­ules are avail­able online at the MTA’s Web site.

MARC Train — The Mary­land Area Regional Com­muter (MARC) train ser­vice is a 187-mile com­muter rail sys­tem man­aged by MTA. MARC trains pro­vide ser­vice through Howard County to Bal­ti­more and Wash­ing­ton with 5 sta­tions in Howard County on the Cam­den Line. Sched­ules are avail­able online at the MTA’s MARC Web site.

Alter­na­tive Transportation

Carpool/Vanpool — Car­pool­ing or van­pool­ing can save money by reduc­ing vehi­cle fuel and main­te­nance expenses. It can also con­tribute to reduc­ing traf­fic con­ges­tion and air pol­lu­tion. Con­sider find­ing some­one in your office to share a car­pool or van­pool and save a lot on gaso­line pur­chases while help­ing the envi­ron­ment. The Mary­land State High­way Admin­is­tra­tion has 12 Park and Ride loca­tions in Howard County and many more through­out the state to help facil­i­tate car­pool­ing.

Guar­an­teed Ride Home - This pro­gram offers a free ride home to com­muters who reg­u­larly (at least twice a week) travel to work by mass tran­sit, van pool, car pool, bicy­cle or by walk­ing. Reg­is­tered com­muters can get a free ride home for unsched­uled over­time or per­sonal or fam­ily emer­gen­cies. This offers flex­i­bil­ity and peace of mind that they can get home if they need to.

The Guar­an­teed Ride Home pro­gram offers reg­u­lar com­muters a free ride home up to four times a year in a taxi or rental car, depend­ing on the commuter’s home loca­tion. To be eli­gi­ble, com­muters must reg­is­ter in advance and must renew their reg­is­tra­tion annu­ally. For more infor­ma­tion, visit Com­muter Con­nec­tions.

Walk­ing and Biking

Pedes­trian Plan — Howard County’s Depart­ment of Plan­ning and Zon­ing has devel­oped a pedes­trian plan and as of 2018 is work­ing on updat­ing it. To learn more, please visit the Walk Howard web­site. Howard County also has a Tran­sit and Pedes­trian Advi­sory Group.

Bicy­cle Com­mut­ing —  One of the green­est and health­i­est ways to com­mute to work is on a bicy­cle. Bike­Howard, the Howard County Bicy­cle Mas­ter Plan, pro­vides guid­ance for improve­ments for trans­porta­tion and recre­ational bicy­cling, both on-street and off-street. Rec­om­men­da­tions are pro­vided in the gen­eral areas of infra­struc­ture improve­ments, pol­icy and pro­grams. Learn more at the Bike Howard web­site.  Howard County has also started at Bike­Share pro­gram where you can loan bikes from estab­lished loca­tions.  Learn more at the Howard County Bike­share web­site. For tips on bik­ing to work, visit the Bal­ti­more Metro Coun­cil web­site fea­tur­ing the annual Bike to Work Day.

Trans­porta­tion Planning

Dri­ving cars and trucks com­prises the major­ity of trans­porta­tion in our region. Effec­tive trans­porta­tion plan­ning can help to min­i­mize traf­fic con­ges­tion and air pollution.

Howard County coor­di­nates trans­porta­tion plan­ning efforts with the Bal­ti­more Met­ro­pol­i­tan Coun­cil (BMC) and the State High­way Admin­is­tra­tion (SHA).

Howard County also par­tic­i­pates in the Bal­ti­more Regional Trans­porta­tion Board (BRTB). The mis­sion of the BRTB is to pro­vide regional trans­porta­tion plan­ning and pol­icy mak­ing for the Bal­ti­more region.

Green Tip

Check your tire pressure.Increase your gas mileage by keeping your tires properly inflated.