Memorandum for the Record

Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization

Unified Planning Work Program Committee Meeting Summary

March 16, 2017 Meeting

1:00 PM to 2:45 PM, State Transportation Building—10 Park Plaza, Conference Rooms 2 and 3, Boston, MA

Bryan Pounds, Chair, representing the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT)


The Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) Committee agreed to the following:

•      Approve the summary of the UPWP Committee meeting of February 16, 2017.


Materials for this meeting included the following:

1.    February 16 UPWP Committee Meeting Summary

2.    Draft FFY 2018 UPWP Universe of Studies

3.    Results of survey of priority ratings of Universe of Studies by MPO staff and committee members.

Meeting Agenda and Summary of Discussion

1.    Introductions

Bryan Pounds, Chair of the UPWP Committee, called the meeting to order at approximately 1:00 PM. UPWP Committee members and MPO staff introduced themselves. (For attendance list, see page 4)

2.    Action Item: Approval of UPWP Committee Meeting Summary

A motion to approve the UPWP Committee meeting summary of February 16, 2017, was made by B. Pounds and seconded. The motion carried unanimously.


3.    Discussion of FFY 2018 Universe of Studies and Development of Committee List of Priorities


Bryan Pounds (Chair) and Sandy Johnston (MPO staff) led a discussion of the existing Universe of Potential Studies and narrowing the list of possible work down to a set of the highest priorities.


S. Johnston introduced the results of the surveys sent out to MPO staff and UPWP Committee members, in both verbal and graphic formats. He explained that because of the accelerated schedule for UPWP development this year, budget estimates for the studies are not yet available. Before beginning discussion of the discrete study concepts, S. Johnston responded to several clarifying questions from Committee members about the presentation materials.


After discussion, the Committee decided to move forward with a discussion of the studies by topical category. S. Johnston introduced each study and summarized its level of support (based on the survey), then the committee members discussed the study, with S. Johnston or other staff responding to technical questions.


Dennis Crowley (Medway/TRIC) asked why voting was conducted by asking Committee members to indicate their 10 highest and 5 lowest priority studies, rather than through ranked choice voting, which has been done in the past. S. Johnston responded that while it is possible that such voting had been conducted in the past, and might be a good idea in the future, he had simply replicated the surveys from the previous year. Some discussion ensued. S. Johnston agreed to consider a different survey format for next year.


Discussion about potential studies focused on ordered tiers: those that had clear support from both the staff and the committee; those that had strong support from some sectors, but reservations from others; those about which there were no strong priorities; and those about which there was a negative consensus. Two study proposals that provoked significant discussion included study M-5 (on autonomous vehicles), and study T-17 (Allston Transit Study). Ultimately, study M-5 was included in the list of priority studies, with instruction to staff to clarify intent to some extent, while it was decided that study T-17 lacked clear definition and might be better funded in the future once the broader proposal for the Allston/I-90 interchange reconstruction project has more clearly formed via its environmental review process.


There was some discussion about prioritization of projects that have regional benefits vis-ΰ-vis those that are more focused on a single geographic area.


After discussion, it was decided that between this meeting and the next one MPO staff would focus their efforts on the ten studies that had been color-coded as dark green (high priority), light green (priority), and yellow (priority with reservations), with the exception of the Allston Transit Study (previously yellow). Staff would also provide details on an additional two studies and staff research projects, which had been included as recurring studies in previous years. Last, staff would be able to provide detailed descriptions and full budget estimates at the next committee meeting, when the list of priority studies would be finalized.



4.    Member Items

There were none.


5.    Next Meeting

The next meeting was scheduled for April 20, 2017 at 1:00 PM. Staff committed to preparing materials by 4/13.


6.    Adjourn

A motion to adjourn was made and seconded by another member. The motion carried unanimously.






Massachusetts Department of Transportation

Bryan Pounds

Metropolitan Area Planning Council                                                                                              

Eric Bourassa

City of Boston

James Gillooly

At-Large Town (Town of Arlington)

Laura Wiener

At-Large City (City of Newton)

David Koses

MetroWest Regional Collaborative (Town of Framingham)

Dennis Giombetti

Inner Core Committee (City of Somerville)

Tom Bent

Three Rivers Interlocal Council (Town of Norwood/Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce)

Steve Olanoff

Three Rivers Interlocal Council (Town of Norwood/Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce)

Tom O’Rourke

Regional Transportation Advisory Council

Tegin Teich Bennett


MPO Staff/Central Transportation Planning Staff

Karl Quackenbush, Executive Director

Robin Mannion, Deputy Executive Director

Scott Peterson, Director of Technical Services

Lourenηo Dantas, Certification Activities Group Manager

Jen Rowe, Public Participation Program Manager

Sandy Johnston, UPWP Manager

Steven Andrews, Transit Analysis and Planning Group

Mark Abbott, Traffic Analysis and Design Group Manager

Rσisνn Foley, Administrative and Communications Assistant