MPO Meeting Minutes

Draft Memorandum for the Record

Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization Meeting

December 19, 2019 Meeting

10:00 AM–12:45 PM, State Transportation Building, Conference Rooms 2 and 3, 10 Park Plaza, Boston

David Mohler, Chair, representing Stephanie Pollack, Secretary, and Chief Executive Officer, Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT)


The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) agreed to the following:


Note: This meeting was preceded by a Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Criteria Focus Group in Conference Rooms 2 and 3 at 9:00 AM.

Meeting Agenda

1.    Public Comments  

There were none.

2.    Chair’s Report—David Mohler, MassDOT

There was none.

3.    Committee Chairs’ Reports

There were none.

4.    Regional Transportation Advisory Council Report—Len Diggins, Chair, Regional Transportation Advisory Council (Advisory Council)

L. Diggins reported that at the last meeting the Advisory Council heard a presentation from Kate Fichter, Secretary for Policy Coordination, MassDOT. K. Fichter discussed the congestion report and climate engagement. The Advisory Council also discussed the Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) process with Sandy Johnston, MPO Staff, and proposed UPWP study ideas. The Advisory Council is working to be part of early program development.

L. Diggins, representing the Advisory Council, met with Kate White and Anne McGahan, MPO Staff, to discuss public engagement across the region, and the feedback process for the Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), Destination 2040. In addition, the Advisory Council is working on conducting more outreach in the subregions to recruit more members.

5.    Executive Director’s Report—Tegin Teich, Executive Director, Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS)

Going forward, the MPO meetings will be held in the Transportation Board Room unless there is a conflict. T. Teich also shared that a break will be built in for the meetings since food and beverages are not allowed in the Transportation Board Room. Board members do not have to use that break.

T. Teich also stated that the February 20, 2020, MPO meeting is taking place during school vacation week. The intent is to keep the date unless board members want to move it. Tina Cassidy (North Suburban Planning Council) (City of Woburn) asked that the agenda not contain highly important items since board members may not be there.

T. Teich asked board members to fill out the MPO Member TIP Criteria Survey. T. Teich summarized the preceding MPO member focus group where members talked about 15 goals for TIP projects and how to prioritize these goals. T. Teich stated that members tended to select overarching criteria goals like economic development, equitable transportation mobility, and safety. An important point included the fundamental responsibility of making sure the system is safe. The focus group members acknowledged that one of the challenges of the TIP criteria is that these items tie to much larger concepts and ideas, and that the responsibility for these larger goals might lie at the state or federal level.

6.    Action Item: Approval of November 21, 2019, MPO Meeting Minutes—Kate White, MPO Staff

Documents posted to the Meeting Calendar

A motion to approve the minutes of the meeting of November, 21, 2019, was made by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) (Eric Bourassa) and seconded by the MetroWest Regional Collaborative (City of Framingham) (Thatcher Kezer III). The motion carried.

7.     Action Item: Work Program for MassDOT Diversity Series Posters—Kenneth Dumas, MPO Staff

Documents posted to the Meeting Calendar

For over 24 years, CTPS has supported MassDOT’s diversity events by designing and producing posters for the series. This work program provides for the continuation of these services for the period of January 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020, and documents the projected tasks, products, schedule, and costs of producing diversity series posters and flyers for five events in the calendar year. The program is funded by the Office of Diversity and Civil Rights at MassDOT and costs $6,000.


A motion to approve the work program was made by the North Suburban Planning Council (City of Woburn) (Tina Cassidy) and seconded by the Town of Arlington (Daniel Amstutz). The motion carried.

8.    Addressing Transportation Equity through Project Scoring—Betsy Harvey, MPO Staff

As part of the TIP criteria revisions, MPO staff will be giving presentations in the upcoming months on each goal area to ask for input on key questions and issues surrounding the criteria. B. Harvey’s presentation centered on the transportation equity (TE) goal area and the scoring phase of project selection.

The presentation was divided into four parts, which included background on the federal regulations related to equity and the MPO, a review of the current equity criteria and some of the drawbacks, possible changes to the criteria including public input on TE criteria, and a discussion on MPO member feedback for the following two questions:

·         Should the MPO integrate equity into other goal areas, rather than have a standalone set of equity criteria?

·         To what extent should the MPO devote a larger percentage of possible points to TE?


The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) do not require equity criteria to select projects for programming. However, by establishing the equity goal and objectives in Destination 2040, the MPO has made clear that equity is a critical component of how the MPO makes programming decisions. The FTA and FHWA provide guidance on how populations covered by federal regulations should be defined and how they should be identified spatially.

B. Harvey stated that equity is different from how projects are distributed geographically in the region. There is no federal law that governs the geographic distribution of projects. Equity refers to the demographic groups protected by numerous federal laws and executive orders; there are no legal protections governing the geographic distribution of projects.

Through the 2021 TIP, staff will evaluate equity populations, as it has been done in the past. Most of these groups are those that are covered by federal regulations. These groups are:

·         Minority populations

·         Low-income households

·         People with limited English proficiency

·         Elderly, age 75 or older

·         People with disabilities

·         Carless households

Starting with the federal fiscal year (FFY) 2022 TIP, the equity populations will change slightly. The groups that are still included are the minority population, people with limited English proficiency, the elderly population, and people with disabilities. Carless households will be removed because they are not protected under federal regulations. A youth population group will be added as age is a protected class.

Staff are also changing how the MPO defines the low-income population to bring the MPO in line with FTA and FHWA guidance. Going forward, the MPO will define the low-income population as those whose family annual income is at or below 200 percent of the poverty level, which captures the high cost of living in the Boston region. Poverty level is based on family size and number of children, therefore, the threshold varies. For one person it would be $24,632, and for a family of four, it would be $48,016.

The equity objectives also underwent significant changes as a result of Destination 2040, which are listed below:

·         To prioritize investments that benefit equity populations

·         To minimize potential harmful environmental and safety effects on these populations

·         To promote investment that support transportation for all ages

·         To promote investment that are accessible regardless of ability

Federal regulations require the MPO to do a disparate impact and disproportionate burdens (DI/DBs) analysis for each TIP program that analyzes the impacts of the projects in the aggregate. This analysis helps staff understand whether the projects adversely affect minority and low-income populations. The new equity goal and objectives purposely mirror the analysis so that staff address them through the entire planning process.

The DI/DB analysis for the TIP is in the early stages. The long-term goal is to integrate these different pieces so that they address the impacts of MPO investments on equity populations from beginning to the end of the planning process.

For the current equity criteria, there is a maximum of 12 points. Staff calculate the percent of the population that belongs to each equity population that lives within one-half mile of the project. Then, staff will compare that to the region’s average. If it does not exceed the average, the project automatically gets no points. If it does, it gets one or two points depending on the number of people.

There are several drawbacks to the current TIP criteria. The distribution of equity scores across projects programmed in the 2017 to 2020 TIPs primarily scored less than five, out of 12 possible points. A closer look at the data shows that all projects have at least some people from each equity population in the project area, but projects are not getting points for this. This runs contrary to environmental justice (EJ) federal guidance, which says that the MPO should consider the impacts of investments regardless of the population size. Further, federal laws protect all people who belong to the protected group, regardless of how many there are.

The second drawback to the current criteria is that proximity to a project does not mean people will benefit from it. For example, people with disabilities may benefit more from new sidewalks than from roadway improvements. The criteria should reflect these distinctions.

MPO staff have conducted in-person and online outreach to get input on which criteria are most important to people. The MPO can expect a more in-depth presentation on all of the results later this winter. B. Harvey specifically focused on the equity-related input. In-person outreach consisted of seven focus groups, six of which focused on equity populations, and interpreter service into Spanish was provided as needed. A total of 112 people attended the focus groups. Staff grouped the current TIP criteria into 15 categories and asked participants to select the top three categories and rank them. Promoting more equitable transportation mobility was ranked first, and was the most commonly selected criteria overall. Staff also conducted an online survey and received 461 responses. The survey asked respondents to select the five criteria that are most important, out the same 15 categories that were asked at the focus groups. Of those criteria, promoting more equitable transportation mobility was the second most selected, behind pedestrian safety. The results from the survey and the focus groups suggest that the MPO should weigh equity more than it has in the past since it has consistently emerged as one of the top priorities selected during outreach.

Staff recommend changing the low-income definition to be based on poverty status, adding youth to equity populations, and removing carless households as a measure. Staff also recommend clarifying how to identify burdens on equity populations.

B. Harvey asked the MPO whether they are comfortable with integrating equity into other goal areas. This strategy could allow staff to evaluate project impacts. To exemplify this, B. Harvey showed how the MPO could select several criteria from the other goal areas that staff found through public outreach, MPO input, and the needs assessment to be among the most important transportation issues for equity populations. Compared to the current criteria, instead of looking only at proximity, staff would look at how equity populations would be affected and score projects accordingly.


E. Bourassa (MAPC) voiced concern that this process might double count points. B. Harvey responded that staff are still developing what this new process would look like but staff will keep this concern in mind. E. Bourassa asked if a project received points for extending a sidewalk, would TE criteria add points to the same item if the project served TE populations? B. Harvey responded that essentially a project would get extra points if the project impacted TE populations.

D. Mohler added a few clarifying questions: If an intersection project, for example, could still receive points based on proximity, or if equity points are transit, bike and pedestrian improvements, are accessibility improvements multiplied? E. Bourassa and B. Harvey responded that an intersection project could get equity points based on location. B. Harvey confirmed that no particular type of project is ineligible from receiving points under this proposal. It depends on the impact of the project. If the project was addressing pedestrian safety and the MPO wants to reward that for equity, then that project could receive more points.

D. Mohler continued: If a project was located in an EJ community, would that project always get a multiplier for transit, bike and pedestrian, and accessibility improvements? B. Harvey responded that regardless of the investment program that the project is in, and regardless if that project is aimed at benefiting single-occupancy vehicles (SOVs), a project could still receive points for addressing a multitude of issues. D. Mohler affirmed changing the process to measure impact versus proximity and asked for further details before completely signing off on the new process.

L. Diggins asked whether all equity population measures are averages or if some were based on medians. B. Harvey responded that all are averages except for the measure for area median income. L. Diggins asked if the measures would change if the MPO employed more medians than averages. B. Harvey could not confirm but believes that there would not be much change. L. Diggins voiced concern about integrating equity criteria into the other criteria and commented that it would be easier for the public to understand if equity remained its own criteria. B. Harvey commented that staff will work on displaying the equity criteria in a digestible way.

David Koses (City of Newton) stated that with the most selected priority being “promoting more equitable transportation mobility,” how can the MPO know if people understand the term equitable in the way that the board is discussing it today (in regards to language proficiency, youth, seniors, and not evenness or equality)? B. Harvey responded that staff cannot be certain about what respondents thought. In the focus groups, respondents did have different understandings of what equity meant. Staff clarified the definition of equity when respondents had questions.

Jim Fitzgerald (City of Boston) (Boston Planning & Development Agency) shared his concern around respondents’ interpretation while taking the survey. D. Mohler stated that the MPO has a commitment to address the inequitable system, and to make sure that the MPO is not perpetuating it. Even if respondents had not selected equity as a priority, the MPO cares about equity.

D. Mohler then asked to clarify that a project would have to be designed in a way that it specifically helps equity populations. B. Harvey responded that there is no minimum in this process, because all projects serve some equity populations. What staff hope for is a graduated scale and that the more people are impacted from a project, the more points the project receives.

D. Koses asked if the MPO would end up having the same areas highlighted if the MPO changes the underlying demographics, such as carless households, and switches it to the percentage of youth. B. Harvey stated that staff will test projects with the new scoring. B. Harvey commented that her initial look at the data suggest that areas will change in some ways by incorporating the measure of poverty status. The youth population is spread out throughout the region as well as the elderly and people with disabilities populations. Minority populations and people with limited English proficiency tend to be more concentrated within the inner core. Carless households are not a federal protected population, and it overlapped with other equity population data. Carless household populations might reflect households who choose not to have a car rather than a household who cannot afford to have a car.

E. Bourassa asked if staff are proposing to incorporate equity criteria into other criteria like clean air. B. Harvey confirmed and stated that staff would select elements that are important to equity criteria.

Steve Olanoff (Three Rivers Interlocal Council) brought up a concern that respondents may not have understood equitable mobility. K. White confirmed that many respondents, when selecting equitable mobility as a priority, do mean equity populations that have historically been underserved by transportation, such as the elderly, people with mobility impairments, and more. During focus groups, respondents talked about equity as wanting to be able to get to jobs and services. K. White reiterated that it can be interpreted in different ways but it can be tied to what B. Harvey was discussing. K. White also stated that for the focus groups, the staff specifically worked with organizations that serve equity populations. D. Mohler asked if this was the same for the survey. K. White responded that in most of the comments, respondents mentioned equity in the way that the MPO is discussing it.

Note: At this time, D. Mohler had to leave. E. Bourassa took over chairing the meeting.

T. Teich stated that she wanted to bring the discussion back to answering B. Harvey’s presentation questions. T. Teich reiterated that despite the survey responses, it is important for the board to address equity and understand the impact of projects. T. Teich asked that with the understanding that details need to be more developed, is the board okay with the direction of integrating equity into the TIP criteria, based on what was discussed? E. Bourassa stated that this is a good approach and he supports exploring it more. However, he wants to make sure to think about the transparency of the changes and process. MAPC does the economic vitality scoring, and they are trying to balance simplicity and transparency with complexity.

Tom Bent (Inner Core Committee) (City of Somerville) commented that if equity is incorporated with all the criteria, a subsection of the descriptions should make it clear that equity is a part of project assessment. It is important to be transparent and understandable.

D. Koses commented that under this process, the MPO adds points in economic vitality based on the populations in that area. Could economic vitality points include the number of potential jobs created for vulnerable populations and new connections for people to get there? B. Harvey stated that staff can look into these specific questions and clarify.

Wig Zamore (Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership) arrived and made a public comment stating a concern about environmental exposures near busy roadways. He stated that “the health effects near highways and arterials are much different between regions when looking at elements like ozone. For particles and negative health effects, there are 50 percent increases in cardiovascular and heart disease mortality, asthma, and potentially autism and Alzheimer’s. For active transportation, there is five times more particle inhalation near busy roadways.”

W. Zamore stated that “there are studies that show that bicyclists who live in the 10 percent most polluted parts of Copenhagen have a 20 percent higher mortality than people living in the cleanest parts of Copenhagen… they are much fitter, they have much less diabetes, and pulmonary mortality.” W. Zamore asked that the MPO try to place bicycle facilities on less polluted roadways. B. Harvey responded that staff will try to take that into consideration.

B. Harvey continued, and stated that currently, the total possible number of points a project can get for equity is 12 points. When staff were revising the goals and objectives, the MPO expressed an interest in focusing on prioritizing equity. Staff hope to learn how much the MPO would like to weight criteria.

L. Diggins endorsed the idea of weighting equity criteria more, and expects that analysis of equity in each goal area will help determine what that weight will be. T. Teich responded that TE does not have to be a separate criteria for it to be communicated clearly. At the top of the criteria descriptions, TE can be defined and explained in the criteria.

S. Olanoff asked if the federal guidelines or other MPOs provide any direction on the percentage of equity points to specifically incorporate in scoring. B. Harvey stated that the federal government does not provide direction but the Boston Region MPO has asked staff to develop equity criteria that recognizes impact. S. Olanoff asked what other MPOs are doing. B. Harvey responded that the Boston Region MPO is ahead of the curve by having equity be part of the criteria in the first place. Many MPOs do not consider equity as extensively, and do not necessarily consider all the populations that the Boston Region MPO considers. Generally, equity is not the most heavily weighted criteria, and is often less than safety and other goal areas.

Sheila Page (Town of Bedford) endorsed the idea of a multiplier because it has the potential to be more transparent. The impact of reducing emissions and air pollution is higher in communities with more equity populations than in communities like Ashland or Acton. S. Page would like to see impact as weighted higher.

E. Bourassa asked if the MPO incorporates equity into all other criteria, does it provide equity with more points? B. Harvey stated that it is possible since the score would increase the impact that the project has on equity populations.

S. Olanoff stated that it was still unclear to him on whether there will be additional points or a multiplier. B. Harvey says that the advantage of the multiplier is that there could be a wider range of scores. With adding whole points or a multiplier, there is a range that is based on the equity population that is benefiting and the impact the project is having. Either situation, the project would get extra points. B. Harvey stated that this will be clearer as staff develop a detailed proposal. T. Teich summarized the next steps and confirmed that B. Harvey will move forward and develop a proposal.

9.     Emerging Metrics—Ryan Hicks, MPO Staff

 Documents posted to the Meeting Calendar

R. Hicks presented the New and Emerging Metrics for Roadway Usage study in the FFY 2018 UPWP, which was conducted to determine how to maximize capacity through a corridor, conduct multimodal performance monitoring focused on the movement of people, and develop a plan for the integration of selected performance metrics.

This study is related to the ongoing Congestion Management Process (CMP) monitoring. The main goal of the CMP is to have a multimodal picture of what is going on in the region, identify problem spots within the transportation network, come up with solutions to alleviate congestions, and any other problems in those locations. It is an ongoing program that is federally mandated and required by all MPOs to complete on a yearly basis. Staff undertake robust performance monitoring with many different performance metrics that monitor multiple modes; however, currently, the performance metrics typically focus on singular modes. The other studies related to this work are the Pedestrian Report Card Assessment (PRCA), the Bicycle Level of Service (LOS) Metric, transit monitoring, and freight research.

R. Hicks stated that there is a focus on reducing demand for motorized vehicle use by moving the most people with the least number of vehicles. Typically, lanes occupied by SOVs move the fewest number of people per hour.

The study made use of various methods of research, including a survey conducted throughout the region, interviews with several transportation professionals in the field, and a literature review of six specific studies conducted across the globe. From there, staff were able to create a list of performance metrics and, use them to conduct data in the field. Recommendations could come in the form of transportation projects, for example, adding a bus lane to move more people through a corridor or adding additional service. 

Many transportation agencies are minimizing or eliminating automobile LOS and are promoting the use of monitoring vehicle-miles traveled. Many studies provide performance metrics for multiple modes and incorporate a land use component. The best way to accurately measure congestion across multiple modes is to determine a way to measure the movement of people rather than vehicles.

It is recommended to use five to six metrics per travel mode. Both mobility and comfort of travel should be the focus of a multimodal performance monitoring program. Using multimodal metric criteria is ideal for corridors of one to five miles long. For the purpose of the study, public transit is represented by bus transit and freight is represented by truck traffic.

Twenty-four metrics were selected for these criteria. All metrics can be found on pages 15 through 17 in the memorandum. Required data for these applied metrics include:

·         Crash data (bike and pedestrian)

·         Vehicle pedestrian buffer

·         Bicycle parking

·         Crosswalk location and length

·         Presence of bike lanes and trails

·         Signal timings

·         Sidewalk presence and condition

·         Bus loads and travel times

·         All vehicles/truck travel speeds

·         Duration of roadway congestion

·         Vehicle volumes (all modes)

·         Vehicle occupancies (all modes)

Staff were able to test two different types of corridors: Route 9 between the Newton city line to Washington Street, and Route 16 between the Mystic River and Everett city line in Medford. Staff visited the corridors twice and surveyed the corridors between 8:00 AM and 9:00 AM. Before staff went out to the field, staff reviewed other data reports to better understand the context of the corridor.

R. Hicks described Route 9 between Newton city line and Washington Street. R. Using the metrics, he described some of the highlights. The full analysis is included in the memorandum. Each metric was rated good, average, or poor. The bicycle facility continuity and proximity to a bike network was rated average. For pedestrian vehicle buffers and safe crosswalks, the segment rated average. For transit time index, the corridor rated average/good with bus travel during peak hour; however, bus riders were experiencing too much delay along the corridor. For truck metrics, there was a large variability in travel time making it challenging to predict how long it will take a truck to travel the corridor.

This corridor is average to poor for bikers and pedestrians. Businesses will need to allocate contingency time to meet delivery deadlines due to truck congestion. This corridor is moderately successful in moving a large number of people per travel lane, as many as 826 people per hour. Many of these problems can be alleviated by improving the mobility and comfort of transit. If more people took the bus and less people took personal vehicles, this would improve congestion for the buses, trucks and SOVs that travel through the corridor and improve the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists. 

Staff recommend that these criteria be used to supplement evaluation criteria for different studies and programs and not replace the current criteria. These criteria can also help determine an appropriate transportation project or policy that can help relieve congestion by better facilitating people movement.

The next steps include refining performance metrics, conducting outreach, using criteria to supplement corridor studies, and determining if these criteria are suitable for supporting other MPO activities, such as CMP, the LRTP, and the TIP.


T. Teich mentioned that staff welcome any questions about the metrics and restated the idea that these metrics were developed to make sure measures match policies. In the past, metrics like LOS have not done a great job of helping to think about projects and how it matches policy. At a high level, staff are interested in hearing from the board if these metrics meet this goal.

S. Olanoff inquired about the specifics around pedestrian and bicycle metrics. R. Hicks clarified the bike and pedestrian counts for person throughput in addition to the pedestrian facility measures. Mark Abbott (MPO staff) added that what staff find in corridor studies is that bicycle and pedestrian counts are not necessarily that high but that it is not the ideal criteria to determine whether this is a good place to have improved bicycle or pedestrian facilities. Staff are looking at the accessibility of these modes, such as cross walk presence, which provides comfort to people. Staff have found that actual counts are not helpful in determining potential demand.

D. Amstutz inquired about person throughput measures and estimates for buses because of the challenge of counting occupancy when the buses are passing by. R. Hicks responded that staff cross-checked the data collection with Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) route data. D. Amstutz brought up the challenge and time needed for detailed data collection. R. Hicks responded that there are third party companies that can provide that data if needed.

L. Diggins inquired about data collection and time taken to test these metrics in the field. R. Hicks responded that there are details in the memorandum describing the specific data collection points, and shared that staff would look at existing data so that staff could cross-check and count when they are in the field. L. Diggins asked about the truck time reliability index. R. Hicks explained that the truck time reliability index is a measure adopted by FHWA and that staff are required to do that for all MPOs. R. Hicks described how staff took the 95th percentile for truck travel time and divided it by the 50th percentile and came up with the index. The calculation is done for the entire corridor and normalized for a roadway segment. R. Hicks shared that staff used a buffer time index.

T. Teich thanked board members for the comments and suggested that these metrics allow for more flexibility, and can be accommodated specifically to the project. E. Bourassa also commended the work and he appreciated refocusing measurement on the movement of people rather than vehicles. He also suggested doing a focus group with transportation professionals and consultants, and commented that consultants can overestimate LOS. These new metrics could be more helpful and effective.

10.Update on Transportation Priorities in the North Suburban Planning Council (NSPC) SubregionTina Cassidy, MPO Representative for NSPC, Brian Szekely, Winchester Town Planner and NSPC Co-Chair, Danielle McKnight, North Reading Town Planner and NSPC Co-Chair, and Alex Koppelman, MAPC Regional Housing and Land Use Planner and NSPC Subregional Coordinator

E. Bourassa shared that the board is interested in having all the subregions come to present to the MPO to share the subregion’s priorities. The plan is to have all subregions present over the next six months. The NSPC offered to go first.

T. Cassidy thanked the board for giving time to NSPC to present. T. Cassidy commented that it is not often that the subregions are given the opportunity to present what the subregion has been working on.

A. Koppelman shared that NSPC is excited to present to the MPO and is looking forward to strengthening the relationship with the board. He thanked K. White, Sandy Johnston, and Matt Genova (MPO staff). He shared that NSPC partnered with the citizen planner training collaborative to hold a workshop on subdivision controls. NSPC also hosted a breakfast introducing local leaders to the metropolitan planning process in preparation for MetroCommon 2050, which is being spearheaded by MAPC. NSPC plans to hold a breakfast for state legislators to engage with the legislators on the subregion’s needs. As a result of a lot of public engagement work, NSPC has been awarded technical assistance to create a Community Art Trail through the communities of Wakefield, Lynnfield, and Stoneham and possibly other NSPC communities.

In defining transportation priorities for the future, NSPC conducted a subregional mobility study that MAPC completed in 2017. A. Koppelman then introduced the co-chair, D. McKnight to discuss some of the key challenges the subregion faces and some of plans to address these in the future.

D. Knight discussed how MAPC worked with NSPC to complete the North Suburban Mobility Study. MAPC looked at journey-to-work data and did a suitability analysis to areas that would be best served by new access to transit, considering employment clusters, vehicles per household, income, and other demographic factors. Focus groups were held to obtain feedback from residents, town officials, and employers from each community. Priorities identified in the study included first- and last-mile support and increasing access where service is limited. Many residents do not live within walking distance of transit stops and additional service is needed to access them. This study looked at both ride-hailing services and new shuttles to help meet this need, suggesting several new shuttle services for the towns to further explore. The study made a recommendation for a new mobility hub at the Burlington Mall to serve the MBTA, Burlington Transit, Lowell regional transit authority and LexPress, and it recommended extending the 132, 134 and 137 bus routes to better connect certain routes to the Anderson/Woburn commuter rail station, and to expand service in Reading and Stoneham. The study also suggested Complete Street projects along major corridors and main streets. The study showed that better and safer pedestrian access to multiple modes of transportation can not only increase access but also be transformational for downtowns with positive impacts on the local economy, environment, aesthetics and safety.

B. Szekely shared that addressing some of the challenges identified in the 2017 Transportation Plan are a priority for NSPC. There are a number of new housing and commercial developments in NSPC where developers want to fund and start new shuttle services rather than creating a financially sustainable plan to keep these shuttle systems going. NSPC could benefit from funding from the MPO and other sources to establish shuttle services in the subregion, and NSPC is interested in technical assistance from the MPO to develop a long-term financial operating plan for shuttle services so these services can be sustained by local funding over time.

T. Cassidy shared that NSPC is working to improve communication and coordination between the NSPC committee members and her role as the MPO representative. T. Cassidy added that the NSPC legislative delegation was able to secure some seed money to look at east-west connections. NSPC is looking at how to coordinate and effectively use resources.


L. Diggins asked how the Advisory Council and the Transit Committee could help NSPC. T. Cassidy appreciated the question and wants to work with the NSPC team to see how they can use these resources. E. Bourassa asked S. Johnston if he had collected NSPC’s technical assistance request. S. Johnston confirmed he had.

11. Members Items

There were none.


Without objection, the meeting adjourned.




and Alternates

At-Large City (City of Everett)

Jay Monty

At-Large City (City of Newton)

David Koses

At-Large Town (Town of Arlington)

Daniel Amstutz

At-Large Town (Town of Lexington)

Sheila Page

City of Boston (Boston Planning & Development Agency)

Jim Fitzgerald

City of Boston (Boston Transportation Department)

Federal Highway Administration

John Bechard

Federal Transit Administration

Eric Pappetti

Inner Core Committee (City of Somerville)

Tom Bent

Massachusetts Department of Transportation

David Mohler

MassDOT Highway Division

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

Jillian Linnell

Massachusetts Port Authority

MBTA Advisory Board

Metropolitan Area Planning Council

Eric Bourassa

MetroWest Regional Collaborative (City of Framingham)

Thatcher Kezer III

Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination (Town of Acton)


Austin Cyganiewicz

North Shore Task Force (City of Beverly)

Denise Deschamps

North Suburban Planning Council (City of Woburn)

Tina Cassidy

Regional Transportation Advisory Council

Len Diggins

South Shore Coalition (Town of Rockland)

Jennifer Constable

South West Advisory Planning Committee (Town of Medway)

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


Steve Olanoff



Other Attendees


Josh Klingerstein


Alex Koppelman


Danielle McKnight

Town of North Reading, NSPC

Sharon Ron


Brian Szekely

Town of Winchester, NSPC

Frank Tramontozzi

Quincy Mayor’s Office

Wig Zamore

Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership


MPO Staff/Central Transportation Planning Staff

Tegin Teich, Executive Director

Mark Abbott

Seth Asante

Andrew Clark

Annette Demchur

Kenneth Dumas

Róisín Foley

Hiral Gandhi

Matt Genova

Jane Gillis

Betsy Harvey

Ryan Hicks

Sandy Johnston

Ariel Patterson

Scott Peterson

Michelle Scott

Kate White