The MARC Growth and Transformation Plan will update and expand upon the MARC Cornerstone Plan, last published in 2019, which provided strategic priorities for the system and the capital investment needed to achieve those initiatives. This long-range plan synthesizes MTA plans, policies, and reports with performance data, local and national trends, and stakeholder input. MTA is comprehensively analyzing this information to create targeted recommendations for growth and investment that coordinate with the needs of the transit system overall.

The MARC Growth and Transformation Plan will identify a vision and strategies for MARC that reflects:

  • Current commuter travel patterns (post-COVID)
  • MARC’s critical infrastructure needs
  • MARC’s long-term service objectives based on market analysis and public input
  • Improvements needed for an equitable and socially just service that meets the needs of the community
  • Available federal funding opportunities such as through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA)

The MARC Growth and Transformation Plan analysis will shape a refreshed vision and objectives, findings from market analysis and equity assessments, recommendations for necessary capital improvements, and implementation strategies for MARC. It will also incorporate requirements of the 2022 Maryland Regional Rail Transformation Act (House Bill 778/ Senate Bill 524). The Plan will encompass the existing MARC system and potential extensions in Delaware, Virginia, and Western Maryland.

MARC Growth and Transformation Plan Objectives

Plan Objectives

The following objectives and priorities will set the course for developing an actionable service improvement plan: 

  • Offer a Seamless Network
  • Attract a Wide Range of Equitable Trip Purposes 
  • Balance Service Levels with Market Demand 
  • Offer Competitive Travel Times
  • Spur Economic Growth and Transit Oriented Development (TOD)

Each objective will be evaluated using one or more metrics to inform decision-making within the service scenario evaluation process. 

Study Timeline

The MARC Growth and Transformation Plan process kicked off in Fall 2023, with a public survey, market analysis, development of service objectives, and capital planning occurring between Winter 2023/2024 and Summer 2024. In Fall 2024, implementation strategies will be developed as we finalize the plan and conduct additional public outreach. 

MARC Growth & Transformation Study Timeline

Public Engagement Opportunities

  • An online public survey was conducted in Fall 2023 to collect input on a vision for future MARC service and closed on December 18, 2023.
  • Public outreach will take place in Fall 2024 to share with the public MARC’s service objectives and capital planning.
  • Public feedback on previous related studies will also be considered.

What We Heard

Thank you to everyone who participated in our online public survey! In Fall 2023, we asked you to share your priorities as we worked to develop a vision for the future of MARC service. We appreciate your valuable feedback!

  • The survey received 4,691 responses 
  • The top priorities for improvements are expanded weekend service, improved frequency, and expanded service to new destinations
  • Current MARC riders (70% of survey respondents) told us that reduced stress, environmental benefits, and time savings are their top reasons for riding
  • Non-riders (30% of respondents) told us that they do not or cannot ride MARC because of inconvenient train times, lack of frequency, long travel times, and lack of destinations served by MARC
  • When presented with different types of service improvement options, respondents…
    • Preferred the idea of consistent service frequencies spread evenly throughout the day, rather than frequency concentrated during morning and evening rush hour
    • Slightly preferred the idea of more express trains with fewer stops to get between major stations faster, rather than more local trains that stop at all stations
    • Preferred the idea of equal levels of service on weekends (Saturday and Sunday) compared to weekdays, rather than more service on weekdays (Monday to Friday) 

Study response heat map

What's next? We will use what we heard and learned to develop draft strategies for inclusion in the MARC Growth and Transformation Plan. Check back here for more details on upcoming opportunities to learn more in Fall 2024.

About MARC

MARC Train Service is a commuter rail system comprised of the Brunswick Line, Camden Line and Penn Line. These three routes provide direct access to Washington, D.C. along with connections to Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport, inter-city bus services via Penn Station in Baltimore, and several direct connections to Amtrak’s inter-city services. The Camden and Brunswick Lines operate on weekdays, while the Penn Line operates seven days a week.

Map of the MARC system

Contact Us

Email us at marcplanning@mdot.maryland.gov with any questions or comments for the study team.

For media inquiries, please contact Paul Shepard or Veronica Battisti.

Related Plans and Resources