The Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) Bus Stop Design Guide provides guidance for the design of bus stops. The guide is intended to serve as an internal resource for MDOT MTA, provide guidance to local governments and developers for best integrating MDOT MTA bus stops into their plans, and educate passengers, elected officials, and the public about the planning and design of bus stops.

The design and location of bus stops must be consistent with state and federal laws, regulations, and industry best practices. Previous MDOT MTA design guides have included Access by Design: Transit’s Role in Land Development in 1988, Maryland Transit Guidelines in 2002, and Bus Stop Guidelines in 2006. Since the publishing of these guides, new government regulations have been introduced, national interest in public transit has increased, and practices that prioritize transit in transportation networks have proliferated across the United States. Like previous MDOT MTA design guides, this document focuses on the bus network, but also recognizes the connections between bus and rail modes in the MDOT MTA integrated transit network.

The Bus Stop Design Guide incorporates best practices from numerous guides from across the United States and around the world, but substantially draws from the Transit Street Design Guide by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO). As stated in the Transit Street Design Guide, “reliable public transportation depends on a commitment to transit at every level of design.” Using the guidance provided in this document, MDOT MTA will work toward the continued improvement of MDOT MTA bus stops.

bus stop sign design

Click here to download the complete guide.

Sections to the Guide

  • Bus Stop Hierarchy and Location defines seven configurations of bus stops and provides guidance for the optimal design of bus stops in diverse street and road contexts, including on streets with dedicated bicycle facilities.
  • Bus Stop Placement provides guidance about the spacing of bus stops according to context, and describes MDOT MTA processes and procedures for adding, relocating, and removing bus stops. These sections also explain the operational considerations that must be accounted for when siting bus stops.
  • Bus Stop Design and Amenities classifies bus stops into five tiers based on levels of service and amenities. Requirements for signage and accessibility are provided, and guidelines are presented for bus stop amenities both provided and not provided by MDOT MTA. These sections also outline the Adopt-A-Stop Program.
  • Appendix A: Resources recognizes the many design guides and other resources that made this guide possible.
  • Appendix B: Glossary provides readers with a list of common terms used in discussions about public transit.
  • Appendix C: Bus Stop Sign Designs provides the designs of standard sign types installed at bus stops.
  • Appendix D: Facilities Engineering Standard Details for Bus Stops presents standard engineering details of standard bus stop infrastructure with goals of simplifying and expediting engineering and approval processes.
Board Island Stop Graphic
Far Side Pullout Stop Graphic
Tier 3 Stop Graphic

How to Use This Guide

The Bus Stop Design Guide is designed to serve as a reference document for many different audiences, including bus passengers, neighborhood associations, elected officials, advocates, real estate developers, transportation planners, bus operators, and anyone who has questions about how and why decisions are made about the location and design of MDOT MTA bus stops.

Readers of the Bus Stop Design Guide may want to refer to the following lists to quickly and easily locate answers to their questions about MDOT MTA bus stops.

Transit Riders

MDOT MTA passengers may be interested in the following chapters, sections, and tables of the Bus Stop Design Guide:

Advocates & Elected Officials

Elected officials, neighborhood associations, and transportation advocates may be interested in the following chapters and sections of the Bus Stop Design Guide:

Planners & Designers

Transportation planners, civil engineers, real estate developers, and local government staff may be interested in the following chapters and sections of the Bus Stop Design Guide:

Bus Operators

Bus operators may be interested in the following chapter and sections of the Bus Stop Design Guide: