Addressing Safety, Mobility, and Access on Subregional Priority Roadways FFY 2020

SEPTEMBER 19, 2019

Proposed Motion

The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) votes to approve this work program.

Project Identification

Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) Classification

Boston Region MPO Planning Studies and Technical Analyses

Project Number 13420


Boston Region MPO

Project Supervisors

Principal: Mark Abbott
Manager: Chen-Yuan Wang

Funding Source

MPO 3C Planning and §5303 Contract #108217

Schedule and Budget

Schedule: 12 months after work commences

Budget: $115,000

Schedule and budget details are shown in Exhibits 1 and 2, respectively.

Relationship to MPO Goals

The Boston Region MPO elected to fund this study with its federally allocated metropolitan planning funds during federal fiscal year (FFY) 2020. The work completed through this study will address the following goal areas established in the MPO’s Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP): safety, system preservation, capacity management and mobility, clean air and clean communities, and economic vitality.


During outreach for the development of the Boston Region MPO’s UPWP and LRTP, Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) subregional groups and other entities submit comments and identify transportation problems and issues that concern the region. Often these issues are related to roadway bottlenecks, safety, or lack of safe or convenient access to abutting properties along roadway corridors. Such issues not only affect mobility and safety along a roadway and its side streets, but also livability, quality of life, economic development, and air quality.

To address these issues, MPO staff administers the Addressing Safety, Mobility, and Access on Subregional Priority Roadways study each year to identify and evaluate roadway corridor segments in the MPO region that are of concern, but have not been identified in the LRTP regional needs assessment.1 The roadways selected for study are not necessarily major arterials; they can also include arterial or collector roadways that carry fewer vehicles daily. The studies are meant to emphasize the issues that are identified by relevant subregional groups and offer recommendations for short- and long-term improvements. In addition to safety, mobility, and access, other subjects considered are bicycle and pedestrian transportation, transit feasibility, and truck-related issues.

Roadway corridor segments are selected for study based on criteria that are used to evaluate safety and mobility needs; agency, municipal, and MAPC subregional group input; and the feasibility of implementing study recommendations. A segment selected for study may span multiple municipalities, or it may be restricted to a few intersections in a town center, shopping area, or office park.  

A roadway corridor study is a logical way to address subregional multimodal transportation needs, since it evaluates a roadway corridor segment comprehensively and considers all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, public transportation users, and owners of adjacent properties. A holistic approach is taken to analyze the issues and develop recommendations for improvements within the roadway’s right-of-way. The recommendations are intended to improve transportation facilities and traffic operations, and to increase safety and quality of life for all users. Pedestrians and bicyclists should be able to cross the street safely on their way to shops, schools, or recreation; buses should be able to run on schedule; and transit riders should be assured safe access to and from transit stations.



The objectives of this study are as follows:

  1. Finalize memorandum documenting the selection of study location
  2. Identify safety, mobility, access, and other transportation-related problems of the study roadway
  3. Develop and evaluate multimodal transportation solutions addressing the pedestrian, bicycle, truck, and transit modes
  4. Select a roadway segment for study in FFY 2021 based on prioritization criteria and input from agencies, municipalities, and MAPC subregional groups

Work Description

In this work program, the selection of the study corridor began in the previous FFY. MPO staff reviewed over 20 potential corridors in the region. Staff will present the final selection of the FFY 2020 study corridor to the MPO and perform the following tasks:

Task 1  Identify Problem Locations in Study Corridor

The MPO staff, working in conjunction with agencies, municipalities, and subregional groups, will identify the problem locations within the roadway corridor selected for study.

Staff will examine the safety, mobility, and access problems facing pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit users, and any transit service deficiencies and connectivity problems. Staff also will identify truck traffic issues indicated by crash locations with an unusually high level of truck involvement, turning-radius issues at intersections, heavy truck volumes contributing to congestion along the corridor, and points where trucks conflict with cars and pedestrians.

In addition, staff will contact the municipalities in the study areas and review the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Highway Division’s databases and the MPO’s Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) project information database to identify projects and studies planned or already implemented in the study areas. The information gathered from these sources will guide the selection of problem locations within each segment and enable staff to consider previous recommendations for incorporation into this study.

Products of Task 1

Documentation of the following:

Task 2  Collect Data

Once the issues have been identified on the roadway segment selected for this study, corresponding recent and historical data will be gathered from existing sources, including studies performed by municipalities or proponents of private development projects, and databases maintained by the MPO and MassDOT Highway Division. Staff will also review statewide pedestrian and bicycle plans and municipal resource guides for walkability and bikeability to identify existing databases for planning, evaluating, and designing pedestrian and bicycle facilities.2 3 4 5 In addition, staff will use INRIX/RITIS data to collect roadway speeds and trip origin/destination data.6 Some of the data may need to be collected in the field, such as the following:

Products of Task 2

Task 3  Analyze Data

MPO staff will conduct a series of analyses to use in developing recommendations for ways to provide Complete Streets, where pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities are able to travel safely. Staff will perform the following analyses and evaluations:

Product of Task 3

Task 4  Develop and Evaluate Improvement Strategies

Based on the analyses described above, staff will develop short- and long-term improvement strategies that would address the following issues: pedestrian, bicyclist, and motorist safety; accommodation of pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users; other traffic operations issues, including those related to trucks; and bus service issues.

Specific improvements may relate to geometric configuration; traffic control devices; pavement rehabilitation; and traffic operations, including effective and safe accommodations for pedestrians and bicyclists. In addition, MPO staff will recommend safe accommodation and connectivity for pedestrians and bicycles based on the goals and principles of the statewide pedestrian and bicycle plans. Staff will also make recommendations related to truck traffic; improving on-time performance of bus service; and providing safe access to bus stops and train stations for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Staff will then evaluate the proposed strategies and review them with participating municipal officials, agencies, and subregional group representatives.

Product of Task 4

Task 5  Document Methodology, Findings, and Recommendations

MPO staff will produce a final technical report documenting the study’s tasks and products. The final document will cover study background; input from agencies, municipalities, and MAPC subregional groups; identification of problems; data collection; analyses; and recommendations. When preparing the document, staff will follow the MassDOT Highway Division’s guidelines for preparing functional design reports to the possible extent considering the limits of the study’s budget. A draft document will be made available for review by municipal officials, members of the subregional groups where the study segment is located, the MassDOT Highway Division and the MassDOT Office of Transportation Planning.

Product of Task 5

Task 6  Select Roadway Segments for Study in FFY 2021

During the draft report review period, MPO staff will start the process of selecting FFY 2021 roadway study locations. Staff will review public comments gathered during the development of the LRTP, UPWP, and from other FFY 2020 outreach activities, and construct an initial list of roadway segments to consider. Subsequently, staff will invite MassDOT Office of Transportation Planning and Highway Division District officers, and relevant municipal officials, MAPC subregional representatives, and regional transit authorities to provide input. Staff will seek their comments on the candidate roadway segments, and their advice and input regarding data, the selection of study segments, and the identification of major transportation problems associated with those roadways.

MPO staff will develop a ranking system and apply it to the candidate roadway segments in order to select a roadway corridor for study. The ranking system will use metrics based on the following criteria:

The proposed selection, along with the list of candidate segments, will be presented to the MPO for discussion and approval.

Products of Task 6

A technical memorandum containing:

Task 7  Finalize Study and Prepare for MPO Presentation  

After receiving comments on the draft report from municipal officials, MassDOT, and other study advisory groups, MPO staff will address these comments and finalize the FFY 2020 study report. The final study report will be presented to the MPO for approval at the next scheduled MPO meeting.

Products of Task 7

1 Destination 2040, the Long-Range Transportation Plan of the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization, endorsed by the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization on August 29, 2019. The Plan will be reviewed by the MPO’s federal partners and go into effect on October 1, 2019.

2 Massachusetts Pedestrian Transportation Plan, Massachusetts Department of Transportation, May 2019

3 Massachusetts Bicycle Transportation Plan, Massachusetts Department of Transportation, May 2019

4 Municipal Resource Guide for Walkability, Massachusetts Department of Transportation, May 2019

5 Municipal Resource Guide for Bikeability, Massachusetts Department of Transportation, May 2019

6 INRIX is a private company that collects roadway travel times and origin-destination data for most roadways that are collectors, arterials, limited-access roadways or freeways. Regional Integrated Transportation Information System (RITIS) provides INRIX data to the Boston Region MPO through its web portal. The data is archived and provided to transportation planning organizations that use the data to monitor congestion through performance measures.

Exhibit 1
Addressing Safety, Mobility, and Access on Subregional Priority Roadways FFY 2020

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Identify Problem Locations in Study Corridor
From Month 1, Week 1 to Month 1, Week 4.
Collect Data
From Month 1, Week 3 to Month 3, Week 2.
Analyze Data
From Month 2, Week 3 to Month 4, Week 4.
Develop and Evaluate Improvement Strategies
From Month 4, Week 3 to Month 9, Week 2.
Document Methodology, Findings, and Recommendations
From Month 7, Week 3 to Month 11, Week 3.
Select Roadway Segments for Study in FFY 2021
From Month 10, Week 3 to Month 12, Week 4.
Finalize Study and Prepare for MPO Presentation
From Month 11, Week 4 to Month 12, Week 4.

Exhibit 2
Addressing Safety, Mobility, and Access on Subregional Priority Roadways FFY 2020

Direct Salary and Overhead


Person-Weeks Direct
M-1 P-5 P-4 P-3 Temp Total
Identify Problem Locations in Study Corridor
0.2 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.6 1.8 $2,676 $2,732 $5,408
Collect Data
0.2 1.0 0.0 0.0 1.5 2.7 $3,152 $3,218 $6,370
Analyze Data
0.4 3.0 0.8 0.8 2.2 7.2 $10,032 $10,243 $20,275
Develop and Evaluate Improvement Strategies
1.0 6.6 0.8 0.4 1.4 10.2 $17,372 $17,738 $35,110
Document Methodology, Findings, and Recommendations
1.0 6.0 0.4 0.2 0.8 8.4 $15,032 $15,349 $30,382
Select Roadway Segments for Study in FFY 2021
0.4 1.8 0.2 0.0 1.2 3.6 $5,243 $5,354 $10,598
Finalize Study and Prepare for MPO Presentation
0.4 1.0 0.2 0.0 0.0 1.6 $3,020 $3,083 $6,103
3.6 20.4 2.4 1.4 7.7 35.5 $56,526 $57,719 $114,246

Other Direct Costs



MPO 3C Planning and §5303 Contract #108217