Bicycle & Pedestrian Priority Areas (BPPA)


The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) seeks to improve safety, economic prosperity, and community vitality by working cooperatively with local governments to enhance multimodal transportation options. Designating bicycle and pedestrian priority areas (BPPAs) is a tool to facilitate the coordinated planning of bicycle and pedestrian facilities in areas with a high potential for bicycling and walking throughout the state. This collaborative approach can help state and local transportation agencies focus on overcoming a wide range of impediments to bicycle and pedestrian travel, regardless of facility ownership.

The Maryland General Assembly created the BPPA designation where the enhancement of bicycle and pedestrian traffic is a priority. The Annotated Code of Maryland allows for the creation of BPPAs, and states:

Bicycle and pedestrian priority area means a geographical area where the enhancement of bicycle and pedestrian traffic is a priority.


Once MDOT designates an area as a BPPA, the process to draft the Bicycle and Pedestrian Priority Area Plan (BPPAP) can begin. In partnership with the local governments, MDOT’s State Highway Administration (SHA) will lead the BPPAP development which will provide assistance creating a plan for implementing bicycle and pedestrian treatments that align state, local, and stakeholder goals to expand on existing or planned bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. If no State roads are within a BPPA, the local agency leads and funds BPPAP development.

BPPAP development may include but is not limited to:

  • Facilitating state, local, and stakeholder coordination
  • Establishing a process and working group for planning and prioritizing bicycle and pedestrian improvements that incorporates stakeholder input and land use and/or comprehensive/master plans
  • Identifying roadway geometric and operational recommendations to better align state and local bicycle and pedestrian planning Estimating construction costs for typical proposed bicycle and pedestrian treatments

Local agency's roles and responsibilities will include:

  • Applying for a BPPA designation in writing with all required information and a letter to the SHA Administrator with support from the local planning authority
  • Demonstrating local support for bicycle and pedestrian mobility
  • Participating in state/local workgroups for each designated BPPA, as a part of BPPAP development
  • Engaging and leading coordination with local community stakeholders and advocacy groups
  • In the event that there are no state roadways within a BPPA, leading BPPAP development
  • Monitoring and evaluating outcomes as recommendations are implemented

Facilitate coordination between state, local, and private stakeholders Provide State funding for capital improvement projects
Align state and local planning goals Replace existing transportation plans and/or goals
Provide for potential use of innovative bicycle and pedestrian treatments Supersede existing bicycle and pedestrian design guidelines


  • Bethesda CBD (Montgomery County)
  • Largo Town Center (Prince George's County)
  • Piney Branch/University Boulevard (Montgomery County)
  • Prince George’s Plaza Metro (Prince George’s County)
  • Rockville Town Center (City of Rockville)
  • Silver Spring CBD (Montgomery County)
  • Shady Grove (Montgomery County)
  • Takoma Langley Crossroads (Montgomery County)
  • The Village of Tilghman (Talbot County)
  • Wheaton CBD (Montgomery County)​
  • White Flint (Montgomery County)


Local jurisdictions may apply annually to SHA for one or more areas to be designated BPPAs. SHA will coordinate the application review and evaluate resources available for BPPA implementation to determine whether to designate the requested BPPA(s). The BPPA application process and screening criteria are described below.

BPPAP development will require a partnership between applicants and local implementing agencies such as municipal or county level public works or transportation departments. If a non-implementing agency applies, a letter of support from municipal or county level public works or transportation departments will be required.

Stakeholder involvement is important when developing a BPPAP. The BPPA applicant will lead stakeholder involvement. This will include soliciting participation from affected stakeholders and selecting participants for inclusion on the BPPAP working group.

For each designated BPPA, SHA will convene a BPPAP working group including the appropriate SHA district office, applicant, local implementing agency (if different from the applicant), local planning agency (if different from the applicant), and stakeholder participants to draft a BPPAP designed to increase safety and access for bicycle and pedestrian traffic.

The BPPA designation process includes the following steps:

  1. Application Submittal - Local agencies will submit BPPA application to SHA for evaluation.
  2. Application Screening - SHA will coordinate the review of submitted BPPA application. SHA will designate areas with high potential for cycling and walking, such as main streets, urban areas and tourist centers, along with documented local commitment to supporting bicycling and walking.
  3. BPPA Designation - MDOT will designate BPPA(s) with the SHA Administrator’s concurrence. The number of designations will be limited by MDOT staff’s capacity to evaluate BPPA designation(s) and draft BPPAP.
  4. BPPAP Development - SHA will lead the BPPAP development, in partnership with the local jurisdiction and affected stakeholders, which identifies roadway geometric and operational recommendations. If no State roads are within a BPPA, the local agency will lead and fund BPPAP development.
  5. BPPA Evaluation - State and local agencies will track and evaluate outcomes as they implement BPPAP recommendations.

APPLICATION SCREENING: MDOT will designate up to two BPPA(s) in areas with high potential for bicycling and walking and characterized by the following:

  • Urban areas, main streets, and/or tourist centers with high potential for bicycling and walking as transportation modes, generally within the areas identified by the MDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan as short-trip opportunity areas;
  • A focused area, generally less than one-half mile radius;
  • Areas with known obstacles to bicycling and walking and/or safety concerns;
  • Areas that emphasize multi-modal transportation; and,
  • Local commitment supporting bicycling and walking, demonstrated by consistency with local comprehensive and/or sector plans, prior investment in bicycle and pedestrian efforts, commitment of investment in BPPA efforts, and proactive maintenance of bicycle and pedestrian facilities.


The BPPA Designation Application shall be completed and submitted to SHA by local agencies between March 5th and close of business May 5th, 2018. State BPPA designation(s) will be made no later than close of business August 6th, 2018. To support designation of appropriate BPPAs, the application will include all of the following elements: (Supplemental information and examples can be found under the section titled Additional Resources.)

  1. Signed concurrence from implementing local agency management on official letterhead
  2. Legible map showing the following elements:
    • Proposed BPPA limits:
      • 1/2 mile radius maximum
    • Land uses that may generate or attract bicycle and/or pedestrian activity:
      • i.e. residential areas; commercial areas; other areas of interest that may be unique to the locality
    • Specific points that may generate bicycle and/or pedestrian activity:
      • i.e. educational facilities; parks and recreational facilities; cultural centers; major employment locations; transit hubs; other major trip generators
    • Existing bicycle and/or pedestrian facilities
    • Planned bicycle and/or pedestrian facilities
    • Obstacles to bicycle and/or pedestrian routing
  3. Written justification for BPPA designation including the following:
    1. Description of BPPA limits
    2. Description of bicycle and pedestrian activity, opportunities, and impediments
    3. Identification of bicycle and/or pedestrian obstacles
    4. Identification of local contribution for BPPAP development and implementation, which may include:
      • Ability to obtain right-of-way
      • Maintenance commitment
      • Community outreach plan
      • Financial contribution for BPPAP plan development
      • In-kind contribution for potential projects within BPPA
      • Planning support
      • Bicycle/pedestrian counts and/or other supporting data
    5. References to consistencies with adopted plans:
      • Planned bicycle and/or pedestrian routes
      • Existing bicycle and/or pedestrian routes
      • Continuity with existing adjacent plans
  4. Point person and contact information (name, title, phone, email, and address)
  5. Identification of Maryland designations and planning areas (including but not limited to):
    1. Designated Transit Oriented Development
    2. Maryland Heritage Area
    3. Maryland Main Street
    4. Priority Funding Area
    5. Sustainable Community
    6. Scenic Byway


If you have any questions, please contact:

Ms. Samantha Biddle, AICP
Chief, Regional and Intermodal Planning Division
Maryland State Highway Administration
Regional and Intermodal Planning Division
707 N. Calvert Street
Baltimore, MD 21202

Phone: 410-545-5560
Fax: 410-209-5025