While small in stature geographically, Maryland plays a formidable role in transportation throughout the eastern United States. As a result of its proximity to the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, the nation's capital and the major distribution routes along the East Coast, Maryland's transportation infrastructure is a key to the region's economic vitality and quality of life.
Maryland’s economic engines are its world-class, multi-modal transportation facilities.
- The Port of Baltimore provides a location with connections to six interstate highways, including the East Coast’s major thoroughfare, the I-95 system, and two Class I rail lines.
- A major airport, Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall (BWI), features an international terminal serving as Maryland's other gateway to the world.
- Public transit and highway networks connect commuters and visitors to major job and distribution centers with safety and efficiency.
Maryland offers a safe, efficient system of interstate, primary and secondary arteries, putting businesses within overnight reach of one-third of the nation’s population and industrial base from the central part of the state. Major roadways include:
- Interstate 95, the East Coast's primary north-south route, bisects Maryland in close proximity to the Port of Baltimore, BWI Airport and many of the region's commercial centers.
- Interstate 81, which intersects Interstate 70 near Hagerstown in Western Maryland, provides an alternative route for north-south travelers.
- Interstate 68 extends from Interstate 70, offering an alternative route to the Midwest.
- U.S. Route 50 links Maryland's Eastern Shore to the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area.
- U.S. Routes 13 and 113 extend from Philadelphia to Norfolk, through Maryland's Eastern Shore.
From an ideal inland location to a transportation network that flows into America's heartland, the Port of Baltimore
combines all the necessary physical advantages – along with an experienced, skilled labor force and a committed, supportive private sector – to service the world's needs.
The Port of Baltimore is one of America's busiest international deepwater ports and is closer to the Midwest than any other Atlantic seaport. It prides itself on being one of the safest and most secure ports in the world. The Port is a leader in the U.S. for automobiles and roll on/roll off (Ro/Ro) cargoes. The Port also has extremely modern container facilities as well as special break bulk facilities for steel, pulp, paper, ore and coal. Baltimore is one of only two Eastern U.S. ports where the main shipping channel reaches a depth of 50 feet (15.2 meters), accommodating the largest vessels, with a channel 800 feet wide. Construction of a 50-foot container berth and four super-post-Panamax cargo cranes was recently completed.
The Port of Baltimore serves as a magnet for intermodal cargo as the closest East Coast port to America's industrial center. CSX Intermodal and Norfolk Southern both maintain intermodal facilities that connect Baltimore with key U.S. markets. Every Port of Baltimore marine terminal is within one traffic light of an interchange connecting to I-95 and I-70, the north-south and east-west cargo throughways to the important Midwest and East Coast consumer markets.
Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport – BWI Airport is located approximately ten miles from downtown Baltimore and 30 miles north of Washington, D.C. 22.5 million commercial passengers flew through the airport in 2013, the second busiest year ever, while international passenger traffic grew 20 percent. Southwest Airlines currently handles more than half of the passengers in and out of BWI. Nonstop service is offered to 63 U.S. destinations and eight international destinations.
Travel from BWI to other East Coast locations is facilitated by Amtrak passenger rail and MARC commuter rail at the BWI rail station, light rail directly from the airport to Baltimore, and an interstate highway link connecting the airport to I-95.
BWI is also an important cargo hub, offering 24-hour air-cargo services with 415,000 square feet (38,500 square meters) of cargo warehouse space, including cold storage space with direct ramp access and a 17-acre (7 hectare) air cargo ramp. Cargo services include a Foreign-Trade Zone, convenient customs clearance, international banking, more than 100 freight forwarding and handling firms, and four scheduled cargo airlines.
Maryland also offers several regional airports with runways exceeding 5,000 feet that can handle corporate jets and planes, and numerous other airports with smaller runways that accommodate general aviation. For more information visit the Office of Regional Aviation Assistance
Maryland's freight rail system uses the latest equipment and technology to meet shipper demands for fast, efficient rail service to all U.S. interior points, Canada, and Mexico. Long haul freight services are provided by two primary Class I rail carriers, CSX Transportation
and Norfolk Southern
. These two carriers also connect with Canadian Pacific and Canadian National Railways, which serve Canada and extreme northern points. A wide array of rail services is provided through the Port of Baltimore to firms using the Port, including intermodal U.S. inland locations. Packaged goods and bulk rail commodity transfers between truck, rail and extensive automobile loading and distribution operations exist statewide.
CSX Transportation is currently working with the U.S. Department of Transportation, with support from six Mid-Atlantic states, to raise the vertical height of bridges and tunnels along CSX’s rail network and build intermodal facilities in six key markets. These improvements will occur over a phased development schedule as part of an ongoing project known as the National Gateway. This $850 million public-private partnership will improve the flow of rail traffic throughout the nation by creating a new double-stacked rail corridor that connects Baltimore and other key Mid-Atlantic ports to markets in the Midwest and the South. In conjunction with this project, Maryland is planning to construct a new rail intermodal facility near the Port of Baltimore capable of transferring containers between highway and rail. The goal is to complete construction of the facility and begin operations by 2015.
Maryland has been a pioneer in developing intermodal passenger transportation links. Integrated rail and bus systems in and throughout the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas provide excellent access to downtown business districts and suburban centers, with direct connections to inter-city rail and airports. City and suburban area commuters have access to underground and surface rail.
The Maryland Transit Administration
provides a network of local bus, commuter bus, Light Rail, MARC commuter rail, Metro Subway and mobility transport services throughout Maryland, including access to Park & Rides for commuters.
The Washington Metro Area Transit Authority
provides Metrorail and Metrobus service to the District of Columbia, portions of Northern Virginia and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland.
offers great connections to East Coast cities via its Metroliner service.
In addition to these major mass transit systems, the Charm City Circulator
provides free bus service seven days a week on four routes connecting downtown Baltimore with Amtrak, MARC, Light Rail, Metro Subway and less expensive parking on the fringes of downtown.