Office of Planning and Preliminary Engineering (OPPE)

OPPE is responsible for short and long-range highway and multimodal planning; project planning; environmental planning; capital programming and scheduling; performance-based planning; and an asset management program and highway statistics, including production of maps and maintenance of the Administration's primary highway information database.

The input for this process is comprised of environmental and engineering inventories, statistical data relating to traffic, road and bridge inventories, planning and finance.

The end products consist of long-range plans for the several State Highway systems, location and design approval for major projects in the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT SHA) capital program, the compilation of MDOT SHA's capital program, a statistical database, a Geographic Information System, an automated Traffic Monitoring System, and coordinated environmental planning.

OPPE consists of these divisions:

Project Management Division

The Project Management Division (PMD) conducts project management for all major projects in pursuit of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and general location and design approvals. It develops engineering alternatives for major projects and conducts engineering quality assurance reviews for consultant engineering products on major projects. PMD works together with the Environmental Planning Division (EPLD) to develop the required environmental documentation to obtain NEPA approvals, conducting public hearings and meetings, and coordinating project reviews with federal and state environmental agencies, and local governments. The division also conducts planning, corridor, feasibility and other special studies to identify potential projects that could be evaluated under the NEPA process. It is an OPPE sub-unit.

Environmental Planning Division

The Environmental Planning Division (EPLD) ensures compliance with federal and state environmental requirements (National Environmental Policy Act/Maryland Environmental Policy Act) and related laws and regulations. It obtains project-specific environmental approvals for all MDOT SHA projects.   

The division does the following:

  • develops environmental inventories
  • coordinates project reviews with the public and environmental regulatory/resource agencies
  • conducts public hearings and meetings
  • works with project managers/engineers to develop and evaluate engineering alternatives and ways to minimize and avoid impacts.   

It ensures that the possible economic, social, cultural and natural environmental effects of highway construction are identified and considered, and that final decisions on highway projects are made in the public interest. It also conducts a variety of environmental technical analyses (natural, community effects, air and noise quality, cultural resources, etc.), prepares and circulates environmental documentation for reviews/approvals. To these ends, it works closely with PMD and other MDOT SHA offices.

It is an OPPE sub-unit.

Data Services Division

The Data Services Division (DSD)has two sections: 

  • Data Collection and Management   
  • Mapping and Data Development

The Data Collection and Management section is responsible for the collection of road inventory of highway information for all publicly maintained roads in Maryland, coordinating with state and local government agencies to identify mileage and other changes that affect road networks, updating and validating the road inventory database of highway mileage and other physical and administrative attributes to reflect current conditions, and maintaining MDOT SHA’s GIS centerline for all publicly maintained roads in Maryland.

It is further responsible for:

This section also manages the construction and maintenance of Automated Traffic Recorders throughout the State that feed the various required reporting and mapping needs.

The Mapping and Data Development section compiles, reviews, edits and publishes various mapping products, including Maryland’s Official Highway Map, Grid Maps, Index Maps and County and Municipal Maps, Bicycle Map, Trucker’s Map, Scenic Routes Map, Truck Volume Maps, Traffic Volume Maps. It produces and annotates mapping products and GIS applications.

Innovative Planning and Performance Management Division (IPPD)

IPPD is responsible for performance-based planning, as well as coordinating and integrating performance measurement and management into MDOT SHA plans and programs.  It develops performance analyses for mobility, safety, economics, freight, assets and sustainability, and ensures that this information is integrated into MDOT SHA and other MDOT-wide and modal plans.

IPPD supports the MDOT Excellerator, MDOT SHA Key Business Areas, the MDOT Attainment Report, and the Governor’s Office of Performance Improvement. It reports for Managing for Results. 

A key role of this division is federally mandated performance reporting for safety, bridge and pavement, system performance (congestion, freight, and CMAQ) and asset management. It develops federally required highway networks such as the Maryland Highway Freight Network, manages asset planning and performance measurement, and manages climate change efforts and sustainability research.

Program Development Division

This division serves as the lead office in coordinating and producing MDOT SHA's portion of the Department's Consolidated Transportation Program (CTP) and leads MDOT SHA’s asset management program. This includes projecting MDOT SHA's six-year funding levels and allocating the appropriate categories of federal funds. This division is a key player in preparing for the annual CTP tour meeting with local governments and elected officials. It analyzes the fiscal ramifications of federal funding changes and proposals for changes in funding of individual projects.

This division develops quarterly updates to the MDOT SHA capital program for Major and System Preservation projects and tracks program forecasts and program level. The division also develops the Statewide Planning Program, which identifies the financial plan, work program, end products and the way federal funds will be allocated for State highway planning. The division coordinates asset management and performance-based planning.

It is an OPPE sub-unit.

Regional and Intermodal Planning Division

The division is responsible for the long-range systems planning to establish the state highway portion of the CTP and integration of MDOT SHA's program with local and regional transportation plans.

The division coordinates with the Department of Transportation, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, the counties, and local jurisdictions to develop intermodal planning reports, establish improvement priorities, and complete long range planning and systems analyses. The division is the main planning liaison with federal agencies and other State agencies. The division manages the Transportation Alternatives, Safe Routes to School, Recreational Trails, Park and Ride, Access Management, Pedestrian Roadway Safety Audits, Bicycle and Pedestrian Priority Areas, and Managed Lane Programs.

The division coordinates:

  • Bicycle/Pedestrian Program
  • Highway Needs Inventory
  • Transit-oriented development
  • Freight planning
  • Functional classification updates
  • Development of strategies that incorporate planning into safety

It is an OPPE sub-unit.

Travel Forecasting and Analysis Division

The division develops existing and future traffic data and analysis to fulfill federal requirements and complete technical studies in the planning, design or construction phases for all MDOT SHA transportation projects.

The division leads programs in congestion management; prepares the annual MDOT SHA Mobility Report, as well as before and after-studies, which are crucial to evaluating the performance of our state highway system; and administers the Maryland Statewide Transportation Model (MSTM).

The division conducts research partnerships with the University of Maryland, American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO), Transportation Research Board and FHWA. Traffic data provided by this division is critical to the outcome of all major transportation projects.

It is an OPPE sub-unit.