Baltimore, Maryland - Green Tracks Pilot Project

Image courtesy of Mahan Rykiel Associates, Inc.


The Green Tracks pilot project was commissioned by the transit authority in Maryland and developed by a multi-disciplinary project team to investigate and determine the feasibility of installing and maintaining a vegetated track system on a commuter light rail in Maryland. Modeled after similar projects in Europe that use green roof technology in rail applications, the initiative selected four test sites on the existing light rail system.   The project evaluated and measured the performance of different soil media and planting methods of green tracks and tested the viability for future light rail lines.

The results of the Green Tracks Pilot Project offer evidence and recommendations for how the transit authority might integrate green tracks on future light rail systems to enhance local environmental and social benefits. The multifaceted nature of transportation infrastructure provides the Green Tracks Pilot Project a unique platform to advance these benefits across a broad stakeholder group including community organizations, government agencies, and businesses.  The larger implications for the State’s Sustainability practices compliment the goal of preserving the natural resource of the Chesapeake Bay through reduced run-off, reduction of urban heat island and commitment to environmental justice across a variety of urban and suburban areas. 

The Green Track pilot project was designed to bridge the knowledge gap between the widely accepted green roof technologies used in the building industry in the United States and their allied green tracks technology. The study provides a concrete example of how infrastructure can be transformed from grey to green through retrofitting, as well as, the importance of pilot projects in developing best management practices for stormwater management and green infrastructure.

Baltimore, Maryland

Completion Date


Program Details

< 1 acre

Cost based on furnish, installation, and maintenance for 12 months

Land Use

Green Features

  • Retrofit
  • Recycled materials
  • Bioretention
  • Xeric (drought resistant) species
  • Green roof technology

Design Features

  • Gray to green retrofitting
  • Stormwater best management practices
  • Green infrastructure
  • Education & outreach 
  • Community involvement
  • Pollutant removal
  • Aesthetics & quality of life 

Maintenance Requirements

  • Watering - water should be provided during the first year and initial establishment period
  • Fertilization - yearly fertilization may benefit and replenish soil nutrients; soil tests should be carried out prior to fertilization to avoid an overload of nutrients
  • Weeding - weeding should occur 7 times per year to remove any noxious weeds
  • Mowing - not required

Economic and Environmental Benefits

  • Water quality improvements
  • Run-off reduction
  • Reduced urban heat island effect
  • Increased open space
  • Public education opportunity


Light Rail in Baltimore, Maryland