The MD 355 BRT Study, part of Montgomery County Maryland’s 11-corridor BRT program, was a planning and conceptual engineering study for a 22-mile corridor in suburban Washington, DC. The corridor runs through the heart of the county’s urban centers, and the project strives to transform an auto-oriented arterial into a true multi-modal corridor, presenting both technical and political challenges in this suburban locale. Foursquare ITP developed the BRT and local feeder bus service plans and cost estimates for three build alternatives, led public and stakeholder engagement, and played an integral role in the strategic evaluation framework and analysis of the impacts of alternatives.

Through a transparent public process, our work defined the most effective use of transit resources for serving the community and identified the operations needs of transit to be addressed by the physical infrastructure. The transit service plans and infrastructure improvements would result in improved accessibility by transit for households and to jobs and increase the number of people—including low-income and minority communities—served by high-quality transit service. Foursquare ITP’s detailed planning work set the stage for accurate ridership modeling, determination of physical improvements to accommodate the BRT service, and impacts analysis of the alternatives.

Our contributions included BRT plans for three build alternatives with three overlapping BRT lines; recommendations for feeder service from more than 50 local routes; analysis of deviations from the main corridor from the perspective of ridership and operations; evaluation of the alternatives for quality of transit service, accessibility, and equity; and developing and implementing a comprehensive public and stakeholder involvement plan that included citizen advisory groups, in-person workshops, and online information sharing.