Fort Meade is Maryland’s largest employer, generating more than $22 billion in economic activity annually. More than 53,000 people show up each day to work at the post, which creates the potential for the region’s largest daily traffic jam.
If you look at the evolution of Fort Meade, the installation began life as a transfer station for troops staging and training for transfer to service in World Wars I and II. As the nation’s defense needs shifted, the Meade campus began growing as a center for the Department of Defense’s (DoD) intelligence activities, and eventually became the headquarters for the National Security Agency (NSA). It continues to grow as a focal point for the DOD’s cyberwarfare efforts.
Thanks to the leadership of past and present garrison commanders, as well as the installation’s largest tenant, NSA, employees on the Meade campus and at its next-door neighbor, The National Business Park, can make other choices. Several programs are available to get them out of their personal vehicles for their daily commute.
Two Maryland MARC commuter rail and light rail stations are located relatively close to the post, with federally-supported shuttles seamlessly moving employees from the stations to their offices. Local bus service, provided by the Mass Transit Administration and the Regional Transportation Agency, also serve the area.
Working with the BWI Business Partnership, which is Anne Arundel County’s designated Transportation Management Association, many Meade commuters are making the choice to share the ride via MeadeRide (www.meaderide.com). The service is a great resource for people who want to participate in vanpools or put together a carpool with other Meade area employees who live near them. MeadeRide offers a one-stop travel information resource, connecting Fort Meade commuters with information about transportation choices, including vanpools and subscription buses.
The MeadeRide program began as a local, state and federal partnership to promote ridesharing activities for Meade. The program provides useful transportation resources to get commuters out of their personal vehicles and reduce the number of cars on the road.
The Maryland Department of Transportation recently announced $135 million in additional funding for Baltimore area transit, some of which is dedicated to the Fort Meade area. As part of the MTA’s Fort Meade/Arundel Mills Transit Study, new bus service will be instituted connecting Penn and Camden Line MARC stations with a route passing through the post. Additional funds will also be made available to support increased car sharing operations.
As the nation’s intelligence and cyber needs drive continuing growth at Fort Meade, more and better transit solutions are vital to avoid choking traffic snarls that reduce employee efficiency and deteriorate the quality of life in the region. The BWI Business Partnership is committed to working with post leadership and all other stakeholders to develop and advocate for better transportation solutions for the region.
Greg Pecoraro is the executive director of the BWI Business Partnership. He can be contacted at 410-672-6565 and [email protected].