Frederick County Transportation and Land Use Study

Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments

Frederick County, Maryland is becoming an increasingly important distribution center due to its proximity to Washington-Baltimore and growing population and economy. The County and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) realized continued growth will place greater demands on the existing transportation system and will require coordinated planning. They initiated a study to prepare for future growth of the County and to improve the short- and long-term coordination between land-use planning and freight transportation while maximizing safety, air quality, and quality of life.



  • Improve the relationship between freight transportation and existing and proposed land uses.
  • Identify ways of accommodating short- and long-term haul trucking and rail on the County’s transportation network in a way that balances land-use planning goals with mobility needs.
  • Educate the general public and stakeholders on economic development through accommodation of freight within the land use planning process.

Our Approach

The Cambridge Systematics approach to performing the Frederick County Transportation and Land Use Study included the following steps:

  • Identify major opportunities and constraints through data analysis to improve freight transportation and land use connections in the County;
  • Evaluate existing conditions of transportation infrastructure, population and economic growth, traffic congestion and existing bottlenecks, safety challenges, commodity flows, and existing land uses;
  • Identify transit oriented development through bicycle, pedestrian, and transit improvements;
  • Conduct public outreach, including an on-line survey, stakeholder public meeting, site visit, and phone interviews with representatives from local industry, land developers, trucking companies, and the railroads; and
  • Review and recommend national best practices for integrating freight transportation and land use planning.

Project Results

Through the efforts of this study, Cambridge Systematics provides policy and transportation infrastructure recommendations and a toolkit of strategies to improve the coordination between freight-related land uses and the multimodal transportation system of the County (e.g., highway, rail, aviation) to use in upcoming small area and corridor plans, and local and regional transportation plans.

Recommendations include “low-, medium-, and high-cost” strategies to help identifying and rank those solutions that are most feasible to implement in the County, including funding approaches. These recommendations also leverage existing efforts, and promote cooperation with other stakeholders. The Frederick County Freight and Freight Dependent Land Use Study can be viewed here.