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Appendix: Case Study Profiles

11. Maryland - MDOT Transit-Oriented Development Initiative

Funding Sources and Amounts: Various

Years: 2007–present

Agencies/Organizations Involved: Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) – Lead. Other organizations: Maryland Economic Development Commission, Maryland Department of Planning, Maryland General Services Administration, Maryland Governor's Office, various local municipalities.

Geographic Area: Statewide.

Problem to Be Addressed

Maryland has an existing network of extensive transit infrastructure and properties around a number of stations. Many of these sites are vacant or underutilized and offer tremendous opportunities for TOD. MDOT's goal for promoting TOD is two- fold: (1) New mixed-use development around transit stations will increase the number of riders and get a better return on the public investment in transit, and (2) TOD offers local communities economic develop- ment opportunities through infill development to create centers of activities that are readily served by roadway, transit, and utility infrastructure.

Because of the unconventional and more complex nature of mixed-use developments and urban locations, implementing and funding TOD is often challenging. These challenges relate to:

Objectives of Project

MDOT realized the challenges to implementing TOD projects and proactively took a lead role in engaging other State agencies, crafting policy changes, and partnering with private entities to implement TOD.

Summary of Project

MDOT created the Office of Real Estate to strengthen its ability to support and fund construc- tion of TOD. This economic development/real estate team is housed within MDOT and has a strong part- nership with the Governor's Office. In the last 3 years it has created and had the State legislature adopt groundbreaking legislation that allows for flexibility in funding and implementing TOD.

Type of Funding Used for Project / Plan

(For TOD projects)

Population Served and ModesServed

Various municipalities statewide; primarily transit but also pedestrian, bicycling, and vehicular.

Project Details

This case study highlights what MDOT is doing in leading the planning, design, and implementation of land development to capitalize on existing transit infrastructure and support increased transit ridership. It showcases the unconventional role a State DOT can play in becoming a catalyst and partner for land use change around transit stations. The following are the key events and activities related to MDOT's TOD initiative.

Establishment of the MDOT Office of Real Estate.The Office of Real Estate has evolved to have an oversight and transaction-oriented function with specific responsibility to help get MDOT-owned properties ready for sale and private development, more specifically to get properties around MDOT's transit infrastructure ready for development, and
to strengthen MDOT's ability to support and fund construction of TODs. This office is staffed with an economic development/real estate team, as well as architects and lawyers, who all have a strong partnership with the Governor's Office.

Transit-Oriented Development Bill of 2008. MDOT has initiated and had the State legislature adopt groundbreaking legislation that allows for flexibility in funding and implementing TOD. In particular, this legislation extends MDOT's authority to apply transportation funds by defining economic development as a transportation need, thus qualifying TOD as a public transportation
purpose and allowing TOD projects access to the State Transportation Trust Fund. Revenues from TOD projects are paid back into the trust fund.

Reform to TIF Legislation. MDOT is pursuing leg- islation reform that would expand on the 2008 TOD bill by making TOD implementation more feasible. The proposed legislation would give local governments more flexibility with project financing by facilitating cooperative project and funding arrangements among State and local government entities, and specifically to allow TIF funds to be used for operation and maintenance of TOD facilities such as parking structures. The legislation would allow bonds to be issued by the Maryland Economic Development Commission (MEDCO) on behalf of municipalities that are not able to issue bonds for TOD financing.

Sustainable Communities Act 2010. Together with other State departments, MDOT is pursuing the Sustainable Communities Tax Credit Program. The bill proposes a 3-year authorization with a $50 million allocation to help make funds available toboth historic and nonhistoric structures in estab- lished areas, such as main street business districts and TOD areas. Paralleling the Federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities, the State's Smart Growth Subcabinet would be expanded to include various departments including health, labor, energy administration, planning, economic development, environment, housing, and transportation, among others. The Subcabinet would make formal recommendations on stations suited for TOD to the Secretary of Transportation, and these areas will be eligible to apply for funding through the Sustainable Communities Act.

Livability Principles Promoted by Project

Promotion Livability Principles
F Increase transportation choices
F Promote affordable housing
  Enhance economic competitiveness
F Support existing communities
  Coordinate Federal policies and leverage investment
P Value communities and neighborhoods

P: Partly Supports
F: Fully Support


  • There is limited funding available for parking facilities to support TOD at the Federal level. Although some of the legislative changes spearheaded by MDOT helped address this issue at the State level, implementation of parking garages to support private development in station areas remains a challenge.
  • There is limited availability of loan guarantees for financing parking garages to support TOD. This makes both private and publicly led TOD more difficult to achieve.
  • The financing for affordable/workforce housing around transit station areas is not readily available and remains a challenge for privately led TOD projects.


  • Legislation has been adopted that allows State transportation funds to be used for TOD facilities.
  • Legislation has been adopted that allows more flexibility for TIF funds to support maintenance and operational needs of TOD facilities, and for MEDCO to issue bonds on behalf of local municipalities.
  • State policy adopted that requires State buildings to be located in TOD or near existing transit stations.
  • Developed strong partnerships with State agencies, municipalities, and nongovernmental organizations to educate and support TOD.

Perspectives on Implementing the Project and Its Impacts

Project Status

There are currently 20 TOD projects being adminis- tered through MDOT's Office of Real Estate. Six of these projects are actively being planned, designed, or constructed. MDOT has selected the top-priority TOD pursuits based on the amount and type of State-owned land adjacent to stations and on the local jurisdictions' support for TOD for the particu- lar sites. MDOT's TOD initiative has resulted in joint ownership of and commitment to TOD development among State agencies and local land use partners. The following are some examples of MDOT's early successes in implementing TOD:

Symphony Center. In 2000 the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) entered into a public-private partnership agreement to redevelop an underuti- lized 6-acre site at the Cultural Center Light Rail Station. This effort resulted in the first successful TOD in the Baltimore region at a high-rise residential building completed in February 2005. This transit development is a catalyst for the larger West Side revitalization efforts and links to more TOD opportunities at the State Center Complex / Metro Station one block to the East.

Owings Mills Town Center. Another joint-develop- ment project, the Owings Mills TOD is a rede- velopment of 46 acres of MDOT-owned surface parking lots around Owings Mills Mall and next to the Owing Mills Metro station. A proposal wasissued by MDOT/MTA in 2000 soliciting develop- ment proposals, and a long-term lease agreement for TOD was signed in 2005. The development is proposed to house a mix of retail, office, restau- rants, residential units, a hotel, and a community college and library. In 2007, two of the garages that will be shared between MTA commuters and private development were completed. In 2008 and 2009, the developer and Baltimore County negoti- ated terms for construction of a county-owned library and community college branch on the site, as well as terms for TIF financing for certain com- ponents of the project.

State Center. The State Center TOD is a redevel- opment of a 28-acre, underutilized State office complex into a mixed-use community of 3,000 residents and 8,500 workers. The project will reconnect nine different neighborhoods through a new network of streets and better linkage betweentwo transit stations (Baltimore Metro heavy rail subway and Baltimore Light Rail). MDOT worked with the Department of General Services (DGS) and a master development team through a public- private partnership to bring the property back into the city's tax rolls. Over a 3-year period, the part- nership assembled resources that designed, entitled, and financed a mixed-use, mixed-income urban TOD that supports surrounding neighborhood needs. The project entails a 10-year phased devel- opment approach, with the first phase scheduled for completion in 2013.

Sustainability is a key tenet in the State Center project's development. Every effort was made to reuse existing buildings, provide for multimodal travel, provide local employment, and enhance the community's social capital. As of early 2010, the development team has organized local stakehold- ers into committees to oversee enhancement of the local social capital. The committees will work to ensure that entrepreneurial and employment opportunities are offered to local residents, and that new development ties back into the various neighborhoods' established community events and activities.

Applicability of Lessons Learned to Other Projects or Challenges


Roles of MPOs / DOTs and Policy / Plan Outcomes

Active DOT involvement as land use partner.

For More Information

Sources and Other Resources:

HUD-DOT-EPA Interagency Partnership | DOT Livability | FTA Livable & Sustainable Communities
Updated: 2/9/2016
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