Foursquare ITP led the redesign of the MTA bus network in Baltimore, Maryland, “BaltimoreLink.” BaltimoreLink was a multi-phase transit planning project that reconceived all local and express bus service that operates under MTA to create an improved and interconnected transit system. We conducted the market analysis, transit service evaluation, operating cost calculations, extensive public and stakeholder engagement, and developed several alternate system plans based on feedback received. Ultimately, Foursquare ITP delivered service plans that were implementation ready and provided operations assistance that helped turn those plans into a reality in June 2017.

The backbone of the system design was the CityLink network of routes, 12 high-frequency, higher speed, color-coded bus routes to improve travel times, provide more connections to jobs, and increase transfer possibilities to other transit modes. The plan improved suburb-to-suburb transit options via additional crosstown services and new crosstown express routes. Local feeder routes provide coverage throughout the system and support CityLink and crosstown bus routes, as well as MTA’s Metro Subway and Light Rail services.

In addition to developing the service alignments and levels of service, we provided scheduling and service development assistance; assisted with operations planning, e.g., turning movements and daylighting; developed all mapping, GTFS feeds, and bus stop sequencing; and provided the route information for each of nearly 6,500 bus stops to the signage development team. We also supported the transit hubs team, provided input on the operations needs of several new transfer facilities, and supported the Transit Signal Priority and Bus Lanes teams in prioritizing locations based on service levels. Foursquare ITP also conducted Title VI service equity analysis to measure and address impacts of the transit network redesign on minority and low-income populations.

Engaging the public in the implementation of BaltimoreLink has been a major goal of the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Maryland Transit Administration (MTA).Throughout its technical work on the project, Foursquare ITP led all public outreach as well as an extensive “in-reach” program to MTA bus operators, maintenance staff, and other front-line employees. Foursquare ITP planned for, led, and implemented the extensive public outreach for this project, from idea seeking at the beginning of the project, to feedback on specific recommendations through several BaltimoreLink plan alternatives, through to public education to inform riders and potential riders about the changes coming to the system.