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Planning Board briefed on the 2023 Travel Monitoring Report

July 20, 2023

The biennial report is a compendium and series of data dashboards of the Planning Department’s Transportation Monitoring programs

WHEATON, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, presented the 2023 Travel Monitoring Report to the Montgomery County Planning Board at their meeting on July 20. The biennial report provides insight into how well the county is meeting its transportation goals, objectives, and metrics defined in Thrive Montgomery 2050, Montgomery County’s General Plan, and Functional Plans. The report serves as a compendium of the Planning Department’s Transportation monitoring efforts and is produced by the Countywide Planning and Policy Division’s Travel Forecasting and Travel Monitoring Group (TFTMG).

View 2023 Travel Monitoring Report.

This year’s report focuses on recent travel trends, performance measures suggested in Thrive Montgomery 2050 , and metrics defined in the current draft Pedestrian Master Plan and adopted Bicycle Master Plan. Also included are aspects of the Complete Streets Design Guidelines and a series of Thrive Montgomery 2050 Growth Corridor Profiles. Although previous editions of the TMR focused on data and less on recommendations, this edition of the TMR includes recommendations to address areas that may need attention based on findings in the report.

Key findings of the 2023 Travel Monitoring Report include:

Travel Trends (Chapter 2)

  • According to a recent survey conducted by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, compared to 2019, there was a nearly five-fold increase in the percentage of commute trips replaced by telework in 2022. Overall, 48% of commute “trips” were replaced by telework in 2022 compared to just 1 in 10 in 2019, eliminating over 2.9 million daily commute trips.
  • Travel time along I-270 between Frederick County and the Capital Beltway was significantly shorter in 2022 compared to 2019. Travelers commuting round trip on average saved one hour and 40 minutes each workweek. Travel times on the Capital Beltway were also shorter in 2022, although to a lesser degree.
  • After a sharp decline at the onset of the pandemic, bus ridership steadily rebounded with a pause during the COVID Delta Variant during the winter of 2021-2022. Ridership in November 2022 was still, however, 31% and 18% below January 2020 levels for Ride-On and Metrobus respectively.
  • Although Metrobus ridership has rebounded, rail ridership remains well below pre-pandemic levels. Overall, average 2022 weekday Red Line station entries in Montgomery County are approximately 55% below pre-pandemic levels.

Thrive Montgomery 2050 Transportation Monitoring (Chapter 3)

  • Areas of the county identified as Equity Focus Areas have greater transit coverage than areas of the county not identified as Equity Focus Areas.
  • On average, travel between Montgomery County’s activity centers and all other activity centers in the region via transit takes 2.7 times longer than traveling by auto during the AM peak period and 2.4 times longer during the PM peak period.
  • A majority of the County’s Growth Corridors exceed the recommended protected crossing spacing in the Complete Streets Design Guidelines. Due to this, the report makes several protected crossing recommendations.
  • Several of the County’s Town Centers and Downtowns lack an in ideal street grid network when compared to recommendations in the Complete Streets Deign Guide. To address this lack of network connectivity, several recommendations are made.

About the Travel Forecasting and Travel Monitoring Group (TFTMG)

The TFTMG, a section of the Countywide Planning and Policy Division, is tasked with providing technical support for planning efforts at all scales including countywide functional plans, area master plans, and development review. The TFTMG performs travel demand forecasting and monitoring of performance-related metrics defined and tracked by Montgomery Planning.