To increase the reliability and efficiency of the LocalLink 75 route and improve the experience for riders, MDOT MTA has developed a plan to pilot a more flexible microtransit service in the area between BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, Arundel Mills Mall, and Parkway Center. This segment of the LocalLink 75 is where delays and inefficiencies exist related to area land use and roadway configuration. Implementation of the microtransit pilot is expected to allow MDOT MTA to change the LocalLink 75 to run express-only between the airport and the mall, cutting travel time and improving on-time performance for the majority of riders who are traveling from points north to the airport or the mall.

Pilot Development

MDOT MTA developed a pilot service concept through participation in the Mobility on-demand (MOD) On-Ramp program lead by the Shared-Use Mobility Center, and with support from the Federal Transit Administration. The On-Ramp program included rider and stakeholder engagement, data analysis, industry workshops, and more as described below.

Milestone Description of Activity
March 2018
Application submission
MDOT MTA’s proposal submitted with over 20 support letters from state agencies, regional and local agencies, elected officials, and other organizations. 
Summer 2018
On-Ramp kick-off
MDOT MTA selected as one of six On-Ramp agencies nationwide.
Fall 2018
Route tour and stakeholder interviews
Over 30 public, private, and non-profit groups or community representatives engaged in individual and group meetings and site visits. SUMC staff toured the existing route guided by agency staff and a bus operator familiar with the service area and ridership.
Winter 2019
Data collection and rider surveys
Over 300 rider surveys were collected, capturing information on travel patterns, service accessibility, equity needs, and other characteristics of riders. Employer surveys were also collected to understand employee transportation benefits and shift schedules.
March 2019
On-ramp workshop and knowledge exchange
MDOT MTA presented to an audience of 100 attendees from other transit agencies and professionals in the mobility sector. Group work sessions included lessons learned and best practices from agencies with experience in similar microtransit projects.
Spring 2019
Scenario analysis and cost estimates
Preliminary analysis of existing ridership, operations, and performance data conducted to define draft service concepts.
Summer 2019
Business Plan Development
Workshops held with staff from SUMC and the FTA focusing on accessibility, equity, payment integration, and procurement methods for the pilot service.
Winter 2019
Request for Proposals
Stakeholder and agency feedback informed development of a request for proposals to provide the preferred service concept. If acceptable proposals are received, MDOT MTA will pursue a microtransit pilot.

Pilot Service Concept

In the preferred service concept, Microtransit service would operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, alongside a modified fixed route service based on the current LocalLink 75. The LocalLink 75 would be modified to operate as a local service (similar to today) in the area north of BWI Airport. From BWI Airport, the modified LocalLink 75 would operate express to Arundel Mills. The route would no longer serve the BWI MARC Station and the stops along Aviation Boulevard, Mathison Way (Cargo Complex), Dorsey Road, Candlewood Road, or New Ridge Road. In the overnight, and on Sundays when Light RailLink is not operating, the modified LocalLink 75 would maintain all current stops between BWI Airport and downtown.

The existing LocalLink 75 stops in the southern area would be served by the accompanying microtransit service that would run as a zoned service. Microtransit would serve any of the current LocalLink 75 stops that are no longer served by the modified LocalLink 75. Trips contained within the zone itself are not expected but would be permitted. Riders would not be permitted to take microtransit between BWI and Arundel Mills Mall as trips would be better accommodated on the modified LocalLink 75 service instead.

 
 

Equity and Accessibility

Performance requirements for both equity and accessibility considerations will be incorporated into the potential pilot. At least one WAV (wheelchair-accessible vehicle) will be required during all service hours, and more than one will be required if needed to provide equivalent wait times for passengers requesting WAV trips. Alternatives to mobile applications also must be provided for riders to plan, book, track, and pay for their trip without use of a mobile device.

Request for Proposals

MDOT MTA is currently requesting proposals for the potential pilot microtransit service. If acceptable proposals are received, MDOT MTA will pursue a pilot of microtransit service.

Until the contract is awarded, the only person available to respond to questions about the solicitation is the assigned Procurement Officer whose contact information is provided with the solicitation. After the RFP is posted online, all updates, amendments, and Q&A’s related to the RFP will be distributed through eMaryland Marketplace Advantage (eMMA) at https://emma.maryland.gov/page.aspx/en/bpm/process_manage_extranet/21730.

Click here to see the Request for Proposals