By Mary Duggan
(Dec. 04, 2017–BALTIMORE, Md.) For the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration, it’s about moving people—in more ways than one.
“From senior management down to our operators and maintenance staff, we have a personal commitment to being good stewards of the environment and the communities we serve,” said MDOT MTA Administrator Kevin Quinn. “Public transportation provides personal mobility and freedom for people from every walk of life. Access gives people options on how to get to work, go to school, visit friends, go to a doctor’s office, and many other activities of day to day life.”
Environment is another crucial element to MDOT MTA’s theory on life quality. Its slogan “Think Green. Ride MTA,” is a reflection of this commitment.
“Think Green. Ride MTA exemplifies MDOT MTA’s goal to educate Marylanders, riders and non-riders alike of the environmental benefits of public transportation,” Quinn explained. “Heavy rail transit, like Metro SubwayLink, produces on average 76 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions per passenger mile than an average single-occupancy vehicle. Light rail systems, like Light RailLink, produce 62 percent less and bus transit produces 33 percent less.”
To make it easier for MDOT MTA riders to go green, the state agency introduced 43 electric vehicle charging stations at 19 rails stations and Park & Ride lots throughout eight counties in Maryland. It partnered with Maryland Energy Administration to fund and construct these projects, using proceeds from Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative CO Auctions. These MDOT MTA EV charging stations allow Marylanders to charge up while they commute and, according to the MDOT MTA, position Maryland as a leader in stewardship of a cleaner environment.
“It helps to encourage the growth of the state’s electric vehicle market,” said Quinn. “That, in turn, can help reduce emissions and support the growth of businesses such as the GM facility in White Marsh that is GM’s exclusive manufacturer of electric motors and drivetrains.”
Last June, a new transit system for the Baltimore region was officially launched. Quinn said since the launch of BaltimoreLink, transit riders now have improved access to jobs, medical facilities, school, libraries and other transit modes.
“As one of the ways MDOT MTA worked to get the word out about BaltimoreLink, we opened a storefront information station on the first floor of 6 Saint Paul for several weeks before, during, and after BaltimoreLink launch,” he explained. “A young woman who had recently experienced a stroke and felt unprepared for the changes due to her time in the hospital was able to stop by the info station and talk one-on-one with knowledgeable MDOT MTA staff. They were able to walk her through the route changes, print maps and directions for her, help her reload her CharmCard, and let her know where else she could find information and resources from home.”
As more Marylanders become regular users of public transit, it’s essential to focus on rider safety. The MTA linked up with the “See something, say something” campaign, which aims to raise awareness by providing direction on detecting and reporting suspicious behaviors or objects around transit stations.
“The safety of our passengers and the public is at the heart of our participation in and promotion of the US Department of Homeland Security’s ‘See Something, Say Something’ campaign,” Quinn said. “By promoting the campaign, MDOT MTA hopes to get across to our riders that public safety is a shared responsibility.”