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Adopt-A-Road Program

This program authorizes volunteer groups or individuals (Adopters) to pick up litter and recyclables along the County right-of-ways, and to recognize them for their efforts to improve the appearance of the community and decrease the amount of debris that washes into the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

The program is not intended as a means for providing a public forum for Adopters to use in promoting name recognition or political causes. The Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPWT) reserves the right to limit the number of adoptions by a single adopter, and to restrict the language used on road signs designating the adopted section(s) of roadway.

If, during the term of the agreement, it is determined that the Adopter is not meeting the conditions of the agreement, DPWT reserves the right to terminate the agreement and remove the signs. Any decisions made by DPWT in implementing, administering and, if appropriate, terminating any agreement under the Adopt-A-Road program shall be final and not subject to appeal. If no program activity has occurred within six months of the posting of the signs, DPWT will terminate the agreement and remove the signs.

Who May Participate

  • Eligible adopters include civic and non-profit organizations, school groups, commercial and private enterprises, families, and individuals.
  • Written parental or guardian permission is required for all participants under 18 years of age. Team members under the age of 16 must be supervised by adults (at least one adult for every five participants under 16 years of age).
  • Neither children younger than 12 years old or pets may be allowed at the clean-up location, or in vehicles parked at the clean-up location.
  • Local chapters of national organizations must provide a written statement, from the national organization, which authorizes the local group to use the name proposed for the sign and which identifies the individual(s) from the local chapter authorized to enter into agreements on behalf of the local organization.

What is Required of the Adopter

  • Have an approved Adopt-A-Road application (PDF) on file, and sign an Adopt-A-Road Pilot Program Agreement with DPWT.
  • Pick up litter and recyclables from the adopted section(s) of roadway at least four times per year. The adoption shall be for a period of two years, with renewal for another two-year term upon mutual consent.
  • Non-recyclable material shall be collected in the trash bags provided.
  • Take primary responsibility for the removal of filled trash and recyclables bags. DPWT may, upon request, arrange for their removal.
  • Observe all traffic laws and regulations.
  • Confine clean-up activity to the roadside only, making certain that participants do not trespass onto private property.
  • The Adopter is responsible for replacing required safety vests, safety signs and any other items provided by DPWT, if they are lost or damaged.
  • Designate one adult member to be the Adopt-A-Road Coordinator. This person will be the point of contact between the Adopter and DPWT, and is responsible for ensuring that the Adopter, and its participants, adheres to all provisions contained in the Agreement, this policy statement, and the safety requirements outlined either in writing or orally by DPWT and its representatives.

Roads Eligible for Adoption

  • Should not be primarily residential, where it is reasonable to expect homeowners in the area to remove roadside litter in the course of maintaining their property.
  • Should have a flat walking area along both sides of the road. Roads with steep slopes along the side of the road are not eligible for adoption.
  • Must have sufficient sight distance that allows approaching drivers to clearly see the volunteers and enables the volunteers to see oncoming traffic.
  • Sections of roadway to be adopted will generally be from one to three miles in length, on both sides of the road, but may be of any length subject to approval by DPWT.

The Adopt-A-Road Coordinator Must

  • Prior to engaging in any program activity, attend a safety training session conducted by DPWT or by an Adopt-A-Road Safety Trainer certified by DPWT.
  • Ensure that, before participating in any Adopt-A-Road clean-up, each participant attends a safety training session conducted by DPWT, or by an Adopt-A-Road Safety Trainer certified by DPWT, or by the Group’s Adopt-A-Road Coordinator; and executes the written volunteer waiver provided. Such waiver releases Baltimore County, DPWT, the Bureaus within DPWT, their officials, employees, contractors and agents from any liability whatsoever arising from the volunteer’s participation in the Adopt-A-Road program. In the case of a minor, such release shall be executed by a parent or guardian. Participation in the program shall constitute a waiver of any claim or cause of action of liability against Baltimore County and the entities named above.
  • Be present at all roadside clean-up activity, whenever practicable. If the Adopt-A-Road Coordinator is not present, an adult group member must assume and discharge all of the Adopt-A-Road Coordinator’s responsibilities. This person must attend a mandatory safety training session conducted by DPWT, or by an Adopt-A-Road Safety Trainer certified by DPWT.
  • Complete the provided clean-up report after activity and submit it to the Adopt-A-Road Program Manager.
  • Call 410-887-3560 to notify the Bureau of Highways immediately of any accident or injury to any person relating to participation in the Adopt-A-Road program resulting in treatment at an emergency medical facility. The Adopt-A-Road Coordinator must call 410-887-3560 within one business day to notify the Bureau of Highways of any other injuries relating to participation in the program.

DPWT Will Provide

  • A minimum of two safety warning signs to post during clean-ups.
  • Two permanent road signs, with the Adopter’s name, designating the adopted section(s) of roadway.
  • Safety training for Adopt-A-Road Coordinators.
  • An opportunity for safety training for all participants.
  • Safety information, safety vests.
  • Trash bags.
  • Work gloves.
  • A certificate of adoption, if requested.
  • Replacement signs as necessary due to normal wear and tear, and accidental damage. DPWT will replace, at its cost, up to two signs per adopter if signs are stolen, defaced, or damaged by causes other than normal wear and tear. The removal of defaced or damaged signs will be at the sole discretion of DPWT.

Sign Specifications

DPWT will install two signs designating each adopted section of roadway. These signs are intended to identify and recognize adopters, and to promote the Adopt-A-Road program, not to be an advertising or political forum.

  • DPWT will have sole discretion regarding the size, color, design, text and placement of Adopt-A-Road signs.
  • Only the actual name of the adopter will be included on the signs. No business logos, slogans, telephone numbers, addresses, titles of elective office, or statements will be permitted. Exceptions will be made for in memoriam statements using the following language: “(Adopter name) in memory of (name of deceased)”.
  • The signs shall not contain wording which, in the sole judgment of DPWT is insulting or derogatory; is a term of bigotry or hostility; is racially or ethnically degrading; refers to sexual acts; is a profane, obscene or repulsive term; or appears to promote the use of illegal substances.

Additional Information

For more information call 410-887-3560.

Revised July 15, 2022         


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