June 6, 2023

$140,000 for Two Technical Assistance Awards Received from Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Transportation Planning Board

$140,000 for Two Technical Assistance Awards Received from Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Transportation Planning Board

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has been awarded a total of $140,000 in technical assistance by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Transportation Planning Board (TPB) for Fiscal Year 2024 through two road planning programs.

“The funding provided by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments will accelerate the advancement of projects that would otherwise have taken years to develop,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “Montgomery County has a best-in-class transportation network. These funds will support critical ‘first-mile, last-mile’ transportation studies, connecting bus riders to and from major transit stations, and will advance important pedestrian safety improvements.”

A technical assistance award, for $60,000, is part of the TPB Transportation Land-Use Connections (TLC) Program.

The funds will be used to study the County’s Ride On Flex service. Flex is an innovative shared ride service, offering on-demand transit service in defined Rockville and Glenmont/Wheaton zones. Riders request the service via the Flex app, or by calling 240-301-3842. Flex accepts ride requests to and from any location within the service zones and provides curb to curb service for those with disabilities.

“The awards will contribute significantly to our vision of creating safe, accessible transportation that adapts to the changing needs of our region,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “By implementing real-time responsive transportation options, we can better serve our community, and in a more resource-efficient way.”

The funded study will evaluate travel behaviors and conditions, market opportunities and service delivery options to improve ridership and expand Flex service or the future. The study will involve public outreach, data collection and will review and coordinate with recommendations from MCDOT’s county-wide Ride on Reimagined study.

The study will build upon a FY 2019 TLC-funded study that evaluated the first six months of Flex service and identified new areas for possible expansion.

The additional funding, for $80,000, was awarded under the TPB Regional Roadway Safety Program.

This award will advance a comprehensive assessment and design study for safety improvements along Bel Pre Road in Aspen Hill.

Bel Pre Road was selected for being a high-incident network that is heavily traveled. The project is in a Transportation Planning Board Equity Emphasis Area and has a high concentration of low-income and minority populations.

Countermeasures proposed by the project will address roadway users' safety and mobility issues, especially pedestrians, related to accessing activity centers, including schools, shopping centers and the numerous bus stops throughout the corridor.

The application was in partnership with the County’s Vision Zero office.

“This award provides crucial funding that will allow us to create walkable communities that center pedestrian safety by design,” said Director Conklin. “This is particularly important in communities that are home to a disproportionate number of low-income and minority populations who may not have regular access to a personal vehicle.”

The proposal garnered support from County officials, including County Council President Evan Glass and County Chief Administration Officer Richard S. Madaleno, who wrote letters in support of the project.

Both projects are slated to begin in FY24 and will last for one year.