Why is the MTP Important?

“We can be a state with a dynamic economy. We can be a state where our finances support our ambition. We can be a state that unleashes a new wave of dynamism by harnessing the great assets we already have – and getting them moving in the same direction.”

Governor Wes Moore

Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) Summer Conference Keynote, 2023


Scouting Report

What We Heard

Sports teams rely on scouting reports to assess challenges, evaluate players, and develop strategies that give them the best opportunity to win. Similarly, to deliver an effective transportation system, MDOT must examine its existing system conditions and consider future trends to identify what investments are needed to ensure the system will meet future needs. Transportation investments and decisions impact people’s lives and recognition of those implications is critical for making good investments and decisions. Understanding existing conditions means not only studying data, but also considering people’s experience of traveling in the State. Public engagement is an important part of the scouting report. While MDOT explored many trends, this section features those that are most significant for transportation policy in the coming decades.

What We Heard

These are some of the comments MDOT received from members of the public during the development of this plan.


Though Maryland is the ninth smallest state, it is geographically diverse. The State’s defining geographic feature is the Chesapeake Bay, which nearly divides the State. The Bay’s 7,000 miles of shoreline affords numerous natural harbors for ships large and small; of which the most prominent is the Port of Baltimore, one of the nation’s busiest ports. Maryland’s small size and unique shape mean that many of its cities and towns are within commuting distance of major job centers across the border in Washington, DC, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

Maryland can be divided into five regions – the Eastern Shore, the Baltimore Metro Region, the Washington Metro Region, Southern Maryland, and Western Maryland.

  • Western Maryland, comprised of Garrett, Allegany, and Washington Counties, is characterized by forested mountain ridges, traversed by interstates that connect the State with the Midwest.
  • Washington Metro consists of suburban and rural areas north of Washington D.C. in Prince George’s, Montgomery, and Frederick Counties.
  • Baltimore Metro, Maryland’s most populous region, comprises Baltimore City and its surrounding counties, Carroll, Harford, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, and Howard.
  • Southern Maryland, Charles, Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties, is characterized by rapid, low-density suburbanization driven by its proximity to Washington, D.C.
  • Eastern Shore is relatively flat, mostly rural, and home to a thriving agricultural industry. It is comprised of Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Caroline, Talbot, Dorchester, Wicomico, Somerset, and Worcester Counties. Its coastal beach towns are also a destination for tourists.

Each region has its own distinct needs and associated transportation system. The Playbook identifies strategies that fit these diverse needs, recognizing that our urban, suburban, and rural areas will require targeted and context-specific solutions to implement our statewide goals to implement our statewide goals around mobility, economic opportunity, and the climate.

Maryland Regional Geographies

Maryland Regional Geographies


Maryland is diverse in both its geographic regions and its population. Based on U.S. Census race data, about half (51 percent) of Maryland’s population identifies as “non-white, Hispanic, or more than one race.” The highest percentage of non-white, Hispanic, and populations of more than one race in Maryland is in Prince George’s County, followed by Baltimore City and Charles County, while the concentration of minority populations is lowest in the Western Maryland region.

The working age population is concentrated in areas of high employment density in and around the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas. The working age population is least concentrated on the Eastern Shore and in Western Maryland

Maryland has a statewide poverty average of nine (9) percent. Baltimore City faces a poverty rate more than double the statewide average at twenty (20) percent. Outside of Baltimore City, poverty in Maryland tends to be concentrated in Western Maryland and the lower Eastern Shore.

Understanding where minority populations are located, along with other socioeconomic factors such as income and age, helps MDOT to identify the unique transportation needs of the regions and create strategies to meet those needs.

Maryland has experienced an aging population increase in line with national trends. In 2020, the population age 65 and over equaled 16.3 percent of the total population, compared to just 12.3 percent in 2010. This growth is expected to continue as the Baby Boomer generation ages, presenting new transportation challenges for Maryland. Aging residents often require alternative modes of transportation to help meet their needs. Improved pedestrian infrastructure and transit service are two ways the State can address this challenge.

Percent of the Population Aged 65 Years or Older

Percent of the Population Aged 65 Years or Older

U.S. Census Bureau, ACS 5-Year Estimates (2021)


Maryland’s population is estimated at 6.2 million, making it the 18th most populous state. However, Maryland ranks 42nd in land area, making Maryland the fifth most densely populated state. Population and population density are primarily concentrated in the counties along the I-95 corridor between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Harford, Baltimore, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George’s, and along I-270 extending from Washington, D.C. into Montgomery County. Baltimore, Silver Spring, Bethesda, and Towson are key high-density population and employment centers within this broader area. Outside of these areas, land uses become suburban in character before transitioning into more rural land uses. MDOT will continue to support smart growth and transit-oriented development (TOD) that promotes efficient use of land in our dense corridors, strengthens our economy, and protects our rural and green spaces.

Maryland’s population is growing. Between 2010 and 2020, the State’s population grew 7.0 percent, just below the national average of 7.4 percent.

Continued population growth is expected in Maryland. By 2050, the State is projected to add just over 1,000,000 new residents, representing an 16.28 percent increase in population. Population in Southern Maryland is expected to grow more than 31 percent, the fastest among the five regions. This will put further strain on the transportation system. MDOT will continue to work with our partners in Southern Maryland on solutions to address this growth.


Source: Decennial Census (2020) and MSDC

Population Density and Growth

The population is projected to rise in each region of Maryland with the highest projected rise in the Southern Maryland region.

Population Density & Growth


The 2023 Equity in Transportation Sector Law requires that equity be considered when state transportation plans, reports, and goals are developed. Further, the Climate Solutions Now Act (CSNA) (2022) is a state law with provisions to reduce negative environmental impacts on overburdened and underserved communities. Overburdened communities are defined as any census tract for which three or more of 21 environmental health indicators are above the 75th percentile. Underserved communities are defined as any census tract where the most recent census survey shows:

  • At least 25% of the residents qualify as low-income; or
  • At least 50% of the residents identify as non-white; or
  • At least 15% of the residents have limited English proficiency

MDOT is deeply committed to equity in its transportation policies and initiatives. Recognizing the historical inequities in transportation access and outcomes, MDOT strives to ensure that all communities, particularly those that have been historically marginalized or underserved, have equitable access to safe, reliable, and efficient transportation options. By prioritizing equity, MDOT aims to reduce disparities, improve accessibility, and enhance the overall quality of life for all Marylanders.

Inequities in active transportation are also present. Roadways in communities of color experience higher fatality and injury rates. Additionally, pollution burdens fall most heavily on black and brown neighborhoods.

Transit plays a critical role in providing affordable and accessible transportation options, especially for individuals who rely on it as their primary means of travel. MTA’s and WMATA’s transit ridership trends generally mirror national trends. By improving service quality, enhancing connectivity, and reducing barriers to access, MDOT aims to ensure that transit will be a viable and equitable mode of transportation for all residents.

TOD and the Transportation Alternatives Program are crucial in meeting the housing and community development needs of communities of color, aging populations, and the working population.

MDOT can also make meaningful change through its investment strategy by thoughtfully examining how transportation improvements, when focused in marginalized and underserved areas, can have large impacts on economic opportunity and mobility.

Underserved and Overburdened Communities

MDOT has identified new performance measures in the Attainment Report that are aligned to the equity guiding principle. These measures evaluate access to transit and percentage of CTP investments in underserved and overburdened areas as defined by the CSNA. These areas are highlighted in the map and include over 23 percent of the census tracts in Maryland and 1.3 million people in fiscal year 2023.

Underserved and Overburdened Communities

Maryland Transit Service Ridership (Thousands, FY 2014-2023)

Mirroring nationwide trends, transit ridership has declined and not recovered to pre-COVID-19 levels.

Maryland Transit Service Ridership (Thousands, FY 2014-2023)

Maryland-Only WMATA Annual Ridership (Millions, FY 2014-2023)

Maryland-Only WMATA Annual Ridership (Millions, FY 2014-2023)

*2021 and 2022 data have been revised from previous report.
**2023 data is preliminary and subject to change.

Existing Transportation System

Maryland’s transportation system is interconnected, complex, and critical to the State’s success. Residents and employers have made decisions about where to live and locate their businesses based in part on their transportation needs and how well the system meets their needs. Analyzing data about travel characteristics helps inform the Playbook and guide MDOT in prioritizing services and system investments.

Statewide System

MDOT supports a major statewide transportation system, consisting of many modes of transportation, including the infrastructure, assets and services, as outlined on page 19, to facilitate access and mobility for all Marylanders and support the movement of goods and services.

Existing Transportation System

For more information on the Active Transportation System in Maryland, please visit the 2050 Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, at www.mdot.maryland.gov/bikeped.


Maryland driving habits have changed. Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) has decreased.

While Maryland’s population continues to grow, the number of licensed drivers has decreased from a peak of 4.5 million in 2019. Maryland also has one of the highest rates of employees working from home, which contributes to lower VMT per capita and lower rates of driving alone to work since 2020.

These changing travel habits can help MDOT meet goals about reducing driving alone, but they also pose new challenges for how transit and the broader transportation system operates. As fewer Marylanders hold a driver license, MDOT needs to provide more mobility options for them. As commuting patterns shift, Maryland’s public transit needs to evolve, particularly services like the MARC train, to meet the new patterns of activity and serve workers.

Projected Population Growth

The State of Maryland will experience a steady rise in population by the year 2050.

Projected Population Growth

Mode of Transportation to Work

The majority of people in Maryland drive alone to work with a considerable amount of people working from home.

Mode of Transportation to Work

*The most recent US Decennial Census of Population was completed in 2020.

Decennial Census (2010 and 2020) and MSDC (Preliminary Historical and Projected Total Population for Maryland’s Jurisdictions) U.S. Census, American Community Survey, 2021 1-Year Estimate

Licensed Drivers

The amount of licensed drivers has increased substantially since 2010 but has been in a slow decline since 2019.

Licensed Drivers

VMT / VMT Per Capita

The VMT and VMT PER CAPITA were steadily rising but declined due to COVID-19.

VMT / VMT Per Capita

*2021 and 2022 data have been revised from previous report.

**2023 data are preliminary and subject to change.

OpenData.Maryland.gov – MVA Drivers Licenses

2024 Annual Attainment Report on Transportation System Performance

Roadway Congestion

MDOT employs various policies, programs, and projects to help address congestion and improve roadway mobility in the most congested areas. Roadway congestion causes travel delays and increases the cost of travel for motorists. In 2022, MDOT saved more than $2 billion for roadway users in incident management by using Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) services, signal upgrades and the Coordinated Highways Action Response Team (CHART) program. Maryland has experienced changes in travel during and since the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to monitor these changes and the success of the actions implemented by the agency.

Maryland’s motorists experience travel delays in congested areas of the State. In addition, traffic incidents and construction work zones can cause unreliability in the transportation system. MDOT tracks the performance related to congestion and reliability by measuring the percentage of unreliable travel time and annual person hours of delay. VMT has been increasing since 2021 after the impacts on travel caused by COVID-19 closures. Partially due to increase in travel, the percentage of unreliable travel and annual hours of person delay have increased since 2020 but are not at pre-pandemic levels. MDOT anticipates continued slow growth of VMT in the projection of delay in 2023.

Congestion Cost considers the cost of time and excess fuel used. Overall, Marylanders experienced an increasing trend in annual cost of congestion on Maryland road networks. Congestion Cost generally mirrors this congestion trend and reflects inflation trends from year to year. During the COVID – 19 pandemic, Maryland experienced a drop in congestion cost (FY2020), but with the increase in VMT and inflation, this is rising. Forecasted projections show greater cost in congestion compared to pre-pandemic levels at $5.6 billion in FY 2023.

To leverage investments in the multimodal transportation network, MDOT uses Transportation Demand Management (TDM) strategies to offset vehicle congestion and reduce VMT by promoting alternatives to driving alone, such as taking transit, carpooling, walking, biking, teleworking, and taking advantage of Maryland Commuter Tax Credit and Guaranteed Ride Home. The Commuter Choice Maryland program provides options to maximize travel choices and deliver solutions that can reduce congestion, conserve energy, facilitate economic opportunity, and enhance the life of all Marylanders. SHA’s CHART program continues to reduce congestion and improve travel efficiency by offering travel information, responding to incidents, and clearing obstructions from the highway quickly.

Annual Person Hours of Delay

Annual Person Hours of Delay

*Data are preliminary

**2023 data are projected and subjected to change

Note: The methodology used for reporting the 2022 (and prior years) delay values was updated to reflect recent refinements in OPPE’s Maryland Roadway Performance Tool (MRPT) and because the trends calculated seem to more reasonably reflect ADT/VMT and congestion trends. The methodology for TTR remains the same.

Annual Cost of Congestion (Billions) on the Maryland Roadway Network

Annual Cost of Congestion (Billions) on the Maryland Roadway Network

*The methodology for this performance measure has been updated.

**2018-2022 data have been revised from previous report.

***2021 and 2022 data are preliminary; 2023 data is forecasted and subject to change.

2022 Top Congested Segments on Freeways and Arterials

The top 25 roadway congested segments including Maryland freeways and arterials based on person hours of delay per mile in 2022 is provided. These locations are primarily in or around urban areas including the Washington, DC metro area and the Baltimore metro area. The rank, location, and person hours of delay per mile in 2022 is provided for each congested segment.

  • Roadway sections are MDOT-owned/ maintained; county/city roadways are not included in the rankings
  • 2022 Traffic volume data is Estimated
2022 Top Congested Segments on Freeways and Arterials

Source: Maryland Roadway Performance Tool

Zero Emission Vehicles

Increased adoption of Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs), including battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), is a critical component of reducing the GHG emissions generated by the transportation sector.

In 2013, Maryland established goals for the registration of 300,000 lightduty ZEVs by 2025 and 600,000 ZEVs by 2030. The 2022 Maryland’s CSNA set goals of a 60 percent reduction in GHG emissions from 2006 levels by 2031 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2045. In recognition of the increasingly important role that ZEVs will play in the reduction of transportation sector GHGs, Maryland passed the Advanced Clean Cars II Act in 2023, building on existing clean cars regulations. This and other programs are expected to accelerate the growth in ZEV registration in Maryland by 2030. Projections show more than 1 million ZEVs registered by 2030 as the Advanced Clean Cars II rule and plans to install ZEV supporting infrastructure are implemented.

As the lead agency of Maryland’s Zero Emission Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council (ZEEVIC), MDOT works closely with diverse stakeholders to advance Maryland’s ZEV and infrastructure initiatives by identifying opportunities, addressing challenges, and analyzing uncertainty. ZEEVIC’s collaborative efforts have resulted in development of policies, recommendations, and incentives that increase awareness of ZEVs, support ZEV ownership, remove barriers to ZEV adoption and infrastructure deployment, and encourage private sector investments in ZEVs.

2023 Total EVs Registered Per 1,000 Persons in Zip Code

2023 Total EVs Registered Per 1,000 Persons in Zip Code

Registered EV’s (FY 2017-2023)

Maryland is seeing a rise in the number of registered EVs and has set an ambitious goal for registered EVs by 2030.

Registered EV's (FY 2017-2023)

Source: MVA Vehicle Registration Data, (June 30, 2023)

Registered EV Projections (2023-2030)

Registered EV Projections (2023-2030)

*2023 projection is for 12/31/23

Source: MDOT Climate Pollution Reduction Plan (CPRP) 2023, based on the CSNA


The health of an economy is dependent upon the performance of the transportation system and its ability to transport goods. A reliable and cost-effective transportation network is integral to facilitating the needs of the supply chain. Simply put, the freight transportation network keeps commerce flowing.

Goods Movement Network

Goods Movement Network

Role of Freight Transportation, Warehousing, and Freight-Dependent Industries on Maryland’s Economy (2019)

Role of Freight Transportation, Warehousing, and Freight-Dependent Industries on Maryland’s Economy (2019)

Freight-related industries assumed North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes that encompass agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting (NAICS 11); mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (NAICS 21); construction (NAICS 23); manufacturing (NAICS 31-33); wholesale trade (NAICS 42); retail trade (NAICS 44-45); and transportation and warehousing (NAICS 48-49).

Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore

The Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore

The Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore is located in Baltimore along the tidal basins of the Patapsco River on the upper northwest shore of the Chesapeake Bay, offering the deepest harbor in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. It has a unique geographic advantage by being the closest East Coast port to the Midwest. The Port of Baltimore generates about 15,300 direct jobs, with almost 140,000 jobs overall linked to Port activities. The Port ranks 1st among the nation’s ports for volume of autos and light trucks, roll on/roll off heavy farm and construction machinery, and imported gypsum. Maryland’s Port of Baltimore is ranked as the 12th largest port in the U.S. in terms of foreign cargo tonnage and 10th largest in terms of dollar value. Overall, it is one of the most diverse cargo ports in the U.S. and a top port in terms of total cargo tonnage and overall, in dollar value of cargo.

Port of Baltimore Tonnage (2021)

Port of Baltimore Tonnage (2021)

BWI Marshall Airport Total Annual Passengers

The Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport (BWI) is an international airport in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. It is located 9 miles south of downtown Baltimore and 32 miles northeast of Washington, D.C. It is the busiest airport in the region, serving over 27 million passengers. BWI Marshall Airport has approximately 10,000 badged employees.

BWI Marshall Airport Total Annual Passengers

*2023 data is preliminary and subject to change.

Airport Cargo at BWI Marshall Airport (2016-2022)

Since 2016, BWI Marshall Airport has experienced an increase in total cargo each year aside from 2022. The growth since 2020 has been fueled by e-commerce industry growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. A 200,000 square foot expansion in 2019 has helped to accommodate the growth.

Airport Cargo at BWI Marshall Airport (2016-2022)

Maryland Department of Transportation, State Freight Plan, December 2022

Transportation System Revenues

Maintaining and operating Maryland’s transportation system involves a variety of expenses. These costs include operation and maintenance (O&M) expenses, capital needs of each of MDOT’s modal administrations, and Maryland’s share of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) system. O&M expenses include the costs of service for approximately 100 million annual transit trips, maintenance of highways and bridges, dredging for the Port of Baltimore, and operations for BWI Marshall Airport and Martin State Airport. Capital needs include preservation and modernization of existing assets and strategic expansion.

Funding for these transportation needs is provided through a variety of sources, which are deposited in the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF). Funds from the TTF are not necessarily earmarked for specific agencies or programs. This flexibility is critical for allowing Maryland to meet the varying service and infrastructure needs to support its diverse transportation system. Except for the MDTA, which is funded primarily through tolls and concessions revenues, all activities of MDOT are supported by the TTF. This includes debt service, maintenance, operations, administration, and capital projects. Unexpended funds remaining in the TTF at the close of the fiscal year are carried over to the next fiscal year. Disbursements for all MDOT programs and projects are made from the TTF.

Working with our partners in and outside of government, including the Commission on Transportation Revenue and Infrastructure Needs, MDOT will identify strategies to meet the goals and objectives defined in this plan.

Transportation Trust Fund FY 2023 – FY 2024 (Federal and State $)

Transportation Trust Fund FY 2023 - FY 2024 (Federal and State $)

Future Seasons

Maryland has capital expansion, operations, and preservation needs across all modes that exceed existing revenue projections. It is critical for Maryland to generate greater efficiencies through innovation and capitalize on new funding opportunities in order to address as many transportation needs as possible. Doing so will allow MDOT to overcome today’s financial constraints to implement a vision over the long-term.

Maryland transportation will receive additional federal funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which spans fiscal years 2022 through 2026 and provides more dollars for traditional surface transportation and modal programs as well as a significant increase in discretionary grant programs.

Since the passage of the IIJA, MDOT has been awarded more than 20 IIJA discretionary grants for a variety of multimodal needs. In the coming years, MDOT will continue to seek opportunities to earn more federal dollars to address essential transportation needs and implement critical megaprojects throughout the State.

Transportation System Needs

The needs of MDOT and its modal administrations can be categorized in three ways: the preservation of the existing system, daily operation needs of the agency, and capital expansion across all modes. The approximate distribution of the total MDOT needs by category is illustrated below. In 2023, operating needs are approximately 45 percent of the total MDOT needs.

As part of the public engagement effort to inform this plan, Marylanders were given the opportunity via an online survey to suggest the appropriate percent of funding allocation for a variety of transportation improvements. Public transit, passenger and commuter rail, and maintenance were the improvements receiving the most support. More than 1,300 people submitted their allocations and the resulting average percentages are shown in the graphics here.

2023 Needs

2023 Needs

Public Survey Results: Preferred Budget Allocation

Public Survey Results: Preferred Budget Allocation

How Trends Inform Transportation Needs and Revenues

Transportation investments last for decades. To deliver lasting investments that transform the transportation system for the better, MDOT will consider how transportation needs may change in coming decades, as well as the revenue sources required to meet those needs.

Here are several ways that key trends are reshaping the prioritization of needs:

  • Congestion continues to increase along major corridors, exacerbating long commute times for Maryland residents. It will be critical to implement a variety of strategies to address this congestion.
  • The population of Southern Maryland is projected to grow by more than 30 percent in the next two decades. MDOT must plan for a substantial increase in demand on the transportation system in that region and identify strategies to meet these demands while still serving the needs of the other regions of the State.
  • Climate change will influence transportation investment needs in the coming decades, given projected sea-level rise, increased extreme weather events, and flooding.
  • Motor fuel taxes account for more than 20 percent of all TTF revenues. These tax dollars may decrease significantly as more Marylanders switch to electric and more efficient vehicles.
  • Vehicle electrification requires quality charging infrastructure statewide and new facilities for MDOT’s fleet of cars, trucks, buses, and heavy equipment. Transitioning to new technology may require additional up-front purchase and long-term maintenance costs.
  • The reshaped commute post COVID-19 pandemic has reduced transit ridership and created severe pressure on transit operating budgets. Rebuilding ridership and finances will require reconsidering how transit serves a new set of needs.
  • The cost of construction has grown considerably due to inflation and supply chain issues. It will cost more to deliver the same program in the future.
  • A renewed focus on transit investment will require new investments. New transformative capital projects, like the Baltimore Red Line, will involve substantial State contribution.
  • Maryland’s aging population is expected to grow as the Baby Boomer generation ages, presenting new transportation challenges for Maryland. Aging residents often require alternative modes of transportation to help meet their needs. Improved pedestrian infrastructure and transit service are two ways the State can [3 2 ] address this challenge.

Have questions? Send them to MDOTMTP@mdot.maryland.gov.

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