Access Management in Maryland

Access management is the coordination of land use and access to a highway. The goal is to develop plans that will allow for economic growth and rational development while maintaining or improving safety and mobility along an existing roadway. This can be a powerful tool to direct development and preserve agricultural properties along a corridor. In designated development areas, access management can increase the capacity of a corridor to accommodate development. In rural areas access management can minimize development pressure associated with highways in areas where development is not planned.

The program applies to State Primary Highways and involves developing access management plans that are implemented through the county development process. SHA expertise is available to work with local jurisdictions on corridor access management plans or other techniques to help integrate the highway with development plans. Once a corridor is funded under the Access Management Program, state funds are identified to acquire property or access controls (access from private property to a state highway) from willing sellers. Currently the US 301, US 50, US 113, and MD 2/4 corridors are eligible for such funding. (Click on the .pdf version of the Access Management in Maryland brochure for more information about Access Management Corridors.)

The Access Management Program is based on developing an Access Management Plan for a corridor. An access management plan identifies long-term access concepts, including access locations, locations of median breaks and/or local service road concepts. This plan can be used as a guide for State and local agencies to address the requests for access from development/redevelopment properties. There is no set time for implementing an Access Management Plan; usually the pace of development within the corridor will determine the schedule for implementation. Access management is implemented by evaluating proposed access for each new or redeveloping property independently to determine its relationship to corridor plans and policies. SHA, the local jurisdiction and the property owner will work together to manage access through such techniques as:

  • consolidating private entrances so that adjacent properties share common driveways
  • issuing temporary private access permits pending the location of future alternate access
  • determining the location and number of median openings along the highway
  • restricting the number of turning movements into and out of properties
  • eliminating certain access points when access to an alternate route is available

For corridors that are funded under the Access Management Program, property or controls of access may be purchased from willing sellers. In rural portions of these corridors, SHA purchases controls along agricultural properties to minimize opportunities for future highway access.

Local Participation
In addition to working with SHA on Access Management plans as described above, specific actions local jurisdictions can take to help integrate highways with development plans include:

  • developing local service road concepts in coordination with SHA to enhance land access in designated development areas
  • developing master plans that include protecting state Primary Highway System corridors adopting adequate public facilities ordinances
  • developing local zoning ordinances that require dedication/reservation of land for future transportation improvements when right-of-way needs are known
  • requiring adequate setbacks through local building ordinances for future right-of-way needs.

Approval Process
Access management plans can be developed jointly with SHA by contacting the Access Management Program Manager. State funding for access controls measures is available for selected corridors and must be approved by the Maryland Department of Transportation as part of the annual capital programming process.

For Further Information
Contact the program manager at:
Maryland State Highway Administration
Regional and Intermodal Planning Division
Mail Stop C-502
P.O. Box 717
Baltimore, MD 21203-0717
Telephone: 410-545-5675 or toll-free at
FAX: 410-209-5025