Date      April 6, 2017

TO           Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization

FROM     Karl H. Quackenbush, Executive Director

RE           Work Program for MBTA Rider Oversight Committee Support

Action Required

Review and approval

Proposed Motion

That the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), upon the recommendation of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), vote to approve the work program for MBTA Rider Oversight Committee Support, presented in this memorandum

Project Identification

Unified Planning Work Program Classification

Technical Support/Operations Analysis Projects

CTPS Project Number




Project Supervisor: Melissa Dullea

CTPS Project Supervisors

Principal: Annette Demchur

Manager: Andrew Reker


Future MBTA Contract


Impact on MPO Work

The MPO staff has sufficient resources to complete this work in a capable and timely manner. By undertaking this work, the MPO staff will neither delay the completion of nor reduce the quality of any work in the Unified Planning Work Program.


In 2003, the MBTA Board of Directors approved a systemwide fare increase to prevent reductions in transit service levels and to continue to fund projects included in the MBTA’s Capital Investment Program. However, in response to concerns raised by community activists regarding service reliability, customer communications, and the existing fare structure, among other issues, the board agreed to mitigate the fare increase through a number of measures, one of which was the creation of the Rider Oversight Committee (ROC). The ROC is made up of members of the public, and MBTA staff serve as a resource for the ROC members.

The ROC has considerable latitude when choosing the issues it wants to address. In recent years, the ROC has become interested in exploring the revival of late-night MBTA service, investigating the long-term health of the MBTA’s finances, ensuring that the MBTA successfully communicates with the public, and several other topics.

The Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS) supports the MBTA by providing technical assistance to the ROC and its subcommittees on an ongoing basis. Over the past several years, the assistance provided by CTPS has included analyzing the revenue and ridership impacts of potential fare and service changes; providing ridership statistics of the MBTA’s transit services; providing insights into the MBTA’s planning processes; conducting data analyses; and attending committee meetings where staff respond directly to ROC members’ questions.


CTPS is expected to continue to support the MBTA by serving as an ex officio, nonvoting member of the ROC. As such, CTPS will participate in the ROC’s discussions, respond to technical questions posed by other members, and perform technical analyses that will assist the committee in developing recommendations and supporting its objectives.

Work Description

Since the support CTPS provides to the ROC will be ongoing and new issues will likely be brought before the committee each month, many of the tasks described in this work program will be performed concurrently.

Task 1  Participate in Regular Meetings of the Rider Oversight Committee

The ROC holds meetings of its full membership on a monthly basis. The ROC’s two standing committees also hold monthly meetings, and there are meetings of ad hoc committees. CTPS will provide staff support for each of the monthly meetings and will also participate in standing and ad hoc committee meetings as necessary. During the course of these meetings, CTPS staff will respond to any technical questions that arise, especially those pertaining to ridership statistics, the current fare structure, adherence to the MBTA’s Service Delivery Policy standards, and the MBTA’s and the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization’s capital planning processes. CTPS will also provide support to the Finance and Capital Standing Subcommittee for discussions about potential fare increases.

Task 2  Perform Technical Analyses or Peer Reviews Requested by the Rider Oversight Committee

Depending on the agenda of each ROC meeting, CTPS staff may be called on to assemble summaries of pertinent MBTA user data or provide overviews of the MBTA’s planning processes. In other cases, the ROC may be interested in exploring peer transit agencies’ programs that have been instituted to promote a greater transit mode share for work, shopping, and other trips. Such requests will likely be made by one of the co-chairs of the ROC, a standing committee chair, or MBTA staff members who are scheduled to make presentations at the meetings. CTPS staff will work with appropriate MBTA staff to prepare these materials for ROC meetings, so as to facilitate discussions of planned agenda items.

In addition, during the course of each meeting, ROC members may determine that some technical analysis is necessary to inform their decision-making and assist ROC members in arriving at recommendations on service- or capital-related issues. For example, when developing recommendations for ways to increase transit ridership by area residents who currently make trips between their homes and workplaces in their automobiles, the ROC may request a technical review of mode share, by community, of commuters to central business districts in Boston and Cambridge. Similarly, when reviewing service quality standards and developing recommendations to improve the levels of service, the ROC may request summaries of passenger loads on selected bus, rail, or ferry routes, either in the aggregate or for selected periods of the day. CTPS staff will coordinate with appropriate MBTA staff members to complete these analyses and provide the necessary written, graphical, and oral summaries and interpretations of the analyses in advance of and at ROC meetings.

Products of Task 2

  1. Summaries of pertinent MBTA user data that would be used to facilitate discussions of meeting agenda items
  2. Written, graphical, and oral summaries and interpretations of technical analyses, as requested by the ROC

Estimated Schedule

It is estimated that this project will be completed 48 months after work commences. The proposed schedule, by task, is shown in Exhibit 1.

Estimated Cost

The total cost of this project is estimated to be $24,500. This includes the cost of 8.5 person-weeks of staff time, overhead at the rate of 102.70 percent. A detailed breakdown of estimated costs is presented in Exhibit 2.



Exhibit 1
MBTA Rider Oversight Committee Support

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
Participate in Regular Meetings of the Rider Oversight Committee
From quarter 1 to 16.9.
Perform Technical Analyses or Peer Reviews Requested by the Rider Oversight Committee
From quarter 1 to 16.9.

Exhibit 2
MBTA Rider Oversight Committee Support

Direct Salary and Overhead


Person-Weeks Direct
M-1 P-5 P-3 Total
Participate in Regular Meetings of the Rider Oversight Committee
0.2 2.0 4.0 6.2 $8,849 $9,088 $17,937
Perform Technical Analyses or Peer Reviews Requested by the Rider Oversight Committee
0.2 0.5 1.6 2.3 $3,238 $3,326 $6,564
0.4 2.5 5.6 8.5 $12,087 $12,413 $24,500

Other Direct Costs



Future MBTA Contract