Christiana Rigby (Howard County Council), center, and Kevin McAliley (Wilde Lake Village Board) participate in Go Howard’s 2022 Cranksgiving food drive. (Photo: TBM/George Berkheimer)

Alternative transportation options are increasing in Howard County, as are planned activities to promote them and the attention they are receiving.

On Nov. 2, the Chesapeake Chapter of the Association for Commuter Transportation presented its annual Transportation Demand Management Collaboration and Cooperation Award to Go Howard, a county Office of Transportation program, and the Downtown Columbia Partnership.

Go Howard seeks to reduce single occupancy travel and its impact by educating residents and businesses about transportation options and alternative work arrangements. DTCP supports Go Howard by partnering with Transportation on community events that promote this effort.

Past collaborative activities have included:

Cranksgiving, a food drive now in its third year that encourages residents to bring donations to a collection point on bicycles

BikeAround, a more than six-mile annual exploration of Downtown Columbia and its neighborhoods

Culinary Walking Tour, an annual event showcasing the ease of walking to and from downtown stores, restaurants and cafes.

In addition to the activities, a walk audit conducted by the Office of Transportation influenced the development of a Pedestrian Action Improvement Plan for Downtown Columbia. Focus groups also helped identify opportunities and challenges to reducing automobile use and encouraging alternative transportation.

Additional partners and stakeholders have helped expand the reach of programs and activities, including engaging the Howard County’s bike advocacy group to implement a reward program, Bike HoCo Trip Rewards. Rewards vary by participating business and include discounts and designated free items.

“I’m proud of the efforts to get people out of their single occupancy vehicles and engaged in active transportation … and I’m honored our activities are being recognized by the national leader in this field,” said Phillip Dodge, DTCP executive director.

The Association for Commuter Transportation is the premier organization and leading advocate for commuter transportation and transportation demand management professionals.