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Report: Traffic and Congestion Continues to Slow UpCounty Drivers



A report issued earlier this month by the Montgomery County Planning Department finds that traffic and congestion continue to slow drivers in the UpCounty, and throughout Montgomery County. Area residents must be shocked at these findings. Who could have guessed that traffic was an issue in Montgomery County?

All joking aside, the report paints a frustrating picture of life as a commuter in Montgomery County. The is the 2017 Mobility Assessment Report is conducted by the Planning Department every few years. The goal of the report is to inform residents and public officials of how the transportation system is changing, evolving, and performing within the county.

The major findings of the report are that between 2011 and 2015 the average speed has decreased by just over four miles per hour throughout the county. Also, the amount of time a commuter must build into his trip, called the Planning Time Index or PTI, has increased by an average of four-tenths indicating, perhaps, that unexpected delays and peak congestion are increasing. “Generally, areas in down county and the I-270 Corridor experience the greatest levels of both speed reductions and decreases in travel time reliability,” said the report. Three of the five policy area groupings in the I-270 corridor saw reductions in average speed greater than down-county areas.


Not surprisingly, most of the bottlenecks occur along the MD-355/I-270 corridor. Seven of the top 25 bottlenecks occur along MD-355. “The top bottleneck occurs at the intersection of Rockville Pike (MD-355) and First Street/Wootton Parkway in the northbound direction. The average length of the bottleneck is 2.27 miles with an average duration of 51 minutes. The excess time traveling through the average length of the bottleneck compared to the free-flow condition is three minutes and 16 seconds during the evening commute and two minutes and 26 seconds during the morning commute,” according to the report.

The report breaks down roadways and congestion into sections based on location.


For UpCounty residents, the top congested corridor in the entire County was one that shouldn’t surprise anyone who needs to drive this route on a regular basis was Ridge Road (MD-27) in Clarksburg between Brink Road and Davis Mill Road. This section of road was under construction during the period in which data was collected, likely impacting the results, the report said.

“In Clarksburg…the most congested roadway in Clarksburg is Ridge Road in the southbound direction during the morning commute. According to speed data collected in 2015, commuters can expect travel times to take twice as long as they would under normal conditions. These lengthy times were likely in part caused by construction activity due to the expansion of Ridge Road from the new intersection at Snowden Farm Parkway to Brink Road,” said the report.


The report found that northbound speed and travel time did not decrease at much as the decrease in the same trip southbound on Ridge Road through the C