Carroll government will be hosting a transit summit as an opportunity for residents and businesses to learn more of its plans to boost public transportation in the county.
The event will be held 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 25 at the K Building of Carroll Community College. Those interested in attending are required to R.S.V.P. by Sept. 18.
"We felt, with the Carroll Transit System in place now, we wanted to discuss the next steps in our Transportation Development Plan, and in fact at the summit people will have a chance to participate to provide input on the plan," said Madeline Morey, director of the Department of Citizen Services.
Members of Carroll's Transit Advisory Council — which was recently granted status as an official county board — will be providing updates on the current transit system in Carroll, which recently transitioned from Carroll Area Transit Systems (CATS) to Butler Medical. They will also be discussing the expansion of shuttle routes and coordination with local businesses to promote the use of public transportation.
The county's Transportation Development Plan will be reviewed with attendees, Morey said, as well as the next steps planned by the Carroll County Board of Commissioners and the Transit Advisory Council. The plan, approved in January 2013, focuses on public transportation in Carroll, and suggests action items designed to increase services, generate revenue and meet the needs of the community.
The summit will also include information regarding the different transportation agencies in the state, such as the Maryland Transit Administration and the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board, a group entrusted with the development and implementation of a long-range transportation plan for the greater Baltimore region, of which Carroll is a part. These agencies will be providing a regional take on public transportation, and how local transportation can be improved using the methods they have employed, Morey said.
Another segment of the summit will include speakers from other counties — including Harford, Frederick, Cecil and Charles — on tactics they have used to improve public transportation and the lessons they have learned, Morey said.
County Commissioner Doug Howard, R-District 5, who will be hosting the event, said this type of summit was first held when he was the director of CATS from 2007-2010.
"Part of it was to get a good handle on what the community needed and what were some of the obstacles; why weren't they using [public transit] and how employers could benefit from it," Howard said.
The focus of this meeting will be to provide the public with a comprehensive overview of the services available to them, he said.
"So anyone who thinks their organization, relatives or their own transportation needs can benefit from this, it's going to be a really good flow of information," Howard said.
In a local community especially, he said, the availability of public transportation is crucial in developing other industries, and the summit will highlight this interconnectivity.
"Transportation really supports everything else, so when there's [community] growth, the ability to commute to and from these other facilities is incredibly important," Howard said. "The summit is a good opportunity, and if it goes well, I hope we can do these annually to continue to move the ball forward."
If you go
What: Carroll Transit Summit
When: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 25
Where: K Building of Carroll Community College, 1601 Washington Road, Westminster