Planning Group Tackles Regional Growth Concerns outside Aberdeen Proving Ground

Since 2005, the Chesapeake Science & Security Corridor (CSSC) has helped coordinate a variety of planning needs stemming from the growth experienced at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., following the 2005 round of base closures, including transportation, workforce and infrastructure.

The regional growth management organization for eight jurisdictions in three states outside Aberdeen Proving Ground has spearheaded multiple initiatives aimed at sustaining the post’s R&D missions and boosting economic development outside its boundaries, relying on partnerships and a commitment to the soldiers and civilian personnel working for the 90-plus tenant organizations located there.

Several of its most recent achievements address the proving ground’s transportation needs. Last year, CSSC opened a commuter center in partnership with the installation to reduce traffic congestion there by lowering workers’ reliance on single-occupant vehicles. The center’s primary goal will be to encourage military and civilian employees to consider alternative commuting options, including commuter rail, a private bus line providing service to New Jersey, and car and vanpools.

When budget cuts forced the proving ground to eliminate a commuter shuttle connecting it to the local train station, CSSC partnered with vanpool companies to transport commuters the “last mile.” The program, funded through the federal transit subsidy, proved critical in preserving regional commuter transit as an option for the proving ground’s workforce.

Another CSSC effort intended to fight traffic outside the installation was completed earlier this year. A telework study reviewed existing policies of tenant organizations, surveyed commuters at the post, examined best practices at federal installations and analyzed potential traffic impacts of policy changes.

The group also is coordinating participation among three counties, two municipalities and a consulting team on a joint land use study for the proving ground. The study is intended to alleviate potential conflicts between the installation’s operational missions and surrounding communities at the same time the surrounding region experiences population growth and economic development.

In carrying out its mission to ensure local government efforts to support Aberdeen Proving Ground are strategically aligned, CSSC has been defined by the innovative solutions it has identified to regional problems. That resourcefulness has earned the group ADC’s Community or State Excellence Award. Award winners will be recognized at a special ceremony on Capitol Hill next week during the Defense Communities National Summit. 

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