Commuting Tips

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One of the major considerations when buying a home in Montgomery County MD is the commute – whether you are going into downtown DC, across Montgomery County or over the river to Virginia. As you determine your relocation priorities, your new home’s location will play a huge role in how long it will take you to get to work.

Historically, Washington, D.C. was Montgomery County’s main commuting destination, since the majority of the federal government is located there. Over the years the Maryland and Virginia suburbs have evolved, though, and employment is now dispersed throughout the area. Employees commute from as far away as Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia into the Washington metropolitan area.

Some people choose to do a reverse commute. For example, you could live in D.C. and commute out to Montgomery County. Many people live and work in Montgomery County, so knowing the ‘road less traveled’ helps with your commuting time. And regardless of where they work, many people choose to live “further out” from D.C. because home prices are lower.


Montgomery County MD home owners must keep in mind the much-talked-about RUSH HOUR! It is a fact that during the morning hours between 7:00 and 9:00 and evenings between 4:00 and 6:00 traffic moves at a crawl on certain parts of Interstate 495 (the “Beltway”) and I-270. It is a reality we begrudgingly have to deal with. But we have choices!

If you prefer to commute in the comfort of your very own vehicle you will most likely have routing options. The 64 miles of the Beltway run through Maryland and Virginia to encircle D.C. Property values inside the Beltway are higher by virtue of being closer to the city. Major routes from the Maryland side of the Beltway include Wisconsin Avenue (Rte. 355), Connecticut Avenue (Rte. 185) and Georgia Avenue (Rte. 97).

In Montgomery County’s central corridor, I-270 is the main commuting route to the Beltway. Serving Bethesda, Potomac, Rockville, Gaithersburg, Germantown, and Clarksburg, this eight-lane highway carries heavy commuter traffic. High-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes for two passengers or more are marked for those who car- or vanpool during peak hours.

From western Montgomery County, Route 28 (Darnestown Rd.) brings you into North Potomac, where you can get onto I-270 or alternatively take River Road directly into Washington.

From eastern Montgomery County, including Olney and Silver Spring, the highly traveled Georgia Avenue (Rt. 97) can take you into the city, onto the Beltway, or to many of the other main roadways.

Maryland is in the process of building the much anticipated ICC (Inter-County Connector), to be known as MD 200. The ICC will be an 18-mile toll highway connecting I-270 in Montgomery to I-95 in Prince George’s County. It is intended to lighten the load of commuter traffic on the Beltway. Major employers, e.g. USDA and the University of Maryland, are located in Prince Georges County.

Washington DC Metro Subway

Metro Subway


The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) operates both Metro train and bus service throughout the area. The Metro rail system has 86 stations, 42 of which offer hourly and daily rates for parking. At 35 of these, riders can purchase permits to park in reserved spaces. Parking is free on weekends and holidays. Montgomery County maintains additional Park-N-Ride lots near Metro stations and bus routes. Free bike racks and pay bike lockers are also available at Metro stations. Some neighborhoods, such as King Farm in Rockville, provide shuttle bus service to the nearest Metro stop.

Montgomery County also has its own Ride On bus service, with 80 routes running throughout the county. Other parts of the Washington metropolitan area offer additional commuter bus choices: The Bus, in Prince Georges County; ART in Arlington County, VA; and Fairfax Connector in Fairfax County.

You might also take the MARC (Maryland Area Regional Commuter) commuter train, with stops at Union Station in D.C., Penn Station in Baltimore, BWI airport, and New Carrollton, MD, among others. Comparable are the VRE trains running throughout Northern Virginia.

View Montgomery County MD Commuting Map in a larger map


Ride-sharing programs such as van- and carpools have been a great help to some people. Visit the D.C. area’s ERideShare to find others looking for a carpool in your area. Check with your employer about participating in WMATA’s tax-saving “Smart Benefits Program”, which can be beneficial for both parties. Also, check into the “Guaranteed Ride Home” program, which offers regular carpoolers and transit riders a free taxi ride home in case of emergency.

Have you heard of “car sharing”? Members pay an annual fee for the ease and flexibility of not having to own a car (and all of the expenses that come with car ownership) while at the same time having a car at their disposal. The hourly and daily rates for vehicle use cover insurance, gas, and a guaranteed parking spot. Almost all Metro rail stations have shared cars available through ZipCar.

If you are a bicyclist, check with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association for safe routes and lots of other useful information. There is also a C&O Canal bicycling guide.

Visit the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Commuter Connections page for more information.

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