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.
Telework is another great option for jobs that can be done remotely on a regular basis or on one or more days a week. Teleworking takes cars off the road, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Our small office of 10 people moved to telework during the COVID-19 emergency, and we have had a weekly greenhouse gas reduction of 0.44 metric tons of CO2 equivalent equaling 7 new trees planted per week.
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. For more info visit 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.
RTA Mobility. 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 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.
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 the Commuter Connections webpage.
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 biketoworkmetrodc.org
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 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.
- Keep your car maintained and tires full to make the vehicle as efficient as possible.
- Avoid rapid acceleration and braking.
- Carpool, bike, or walk whenever you can.
- Combine trips for errands so that the trip is more efficient.