The vision of a Columbia Transitway was conceived by Columbia's developers a half century ago to provide an attractive and easily accessible, car-free and environmentally sustainable alternative to connect Columbia residents with core destinations including places of employment and facilities for education, entertainment, recreation, shopping, and health services. At that time, transportation planners laid out a 17-mile right-of-way to serve the existing areas of residential and employment density, key origins and destinations, and several of the Village Centers. Although this right-of-way still exists and is well placed to serve a significant portion of current Columbia, this plan has not yet been realized.
Over the years the Friends of Bridge Columbia (FOBC) has built momentum for the Transitway, and in 2018 the Howard County Office of Transportation funded the Bridge Columbia-Transitway Feasibility Study which is quoted in Chapter 7 of the 2018 Central MD Transit Development Plan (TDP).
"This TDP recommends a complementary transit concept for a high-frequency east-west transit corridor within Howard County, linking the Howard County General Hospital, Howard Community College, Downtown Columbia, and Snowden Square and the Gateway employment area. As proposed, it would connect most of higher density residential and employment locations in Howard County. It would connect with the BRT, local RTA routes, and MTA services at the new Downtown Columbia Transit Center...
Analysis of the concept revealed that the proposed corridor location addressed many FOBC goals, particularly considering projected population and employment concentrations. As the Downtown Columbia plan is implemented and Gateway redevelopment occurs, the conceptual transitway would serve the existing areas of residential and employment density, key origins and destinations, and several of the Village Centers. It is the corridor entirely within the county most likely to support high-frequency transit."