Public Outreach Plan
The preparation of this document was supported
by Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration through MPO Planning Contract #112310.
Central Transportation Planning Staff is
directed by the Boston Region Metropolitan
Planning Organization (MPO). The MPO is composed of
state and regional agencies and authorities, and
For general inquiries, contact
Central Transportation Planning Staff 857.702.3700
State Transportation Building firstname.lastname@example.org
Ten Park Plaza, Suite 2150 ctps.org
Boston, Massachusetts 02116
The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) operates its programs, services, and activities in compliance with federal nondiscrimination laws including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI), the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987, and related statutes and regulations. Title VI prohibits discrimination in federally assisted programs and requires that no person in the United States of America shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin (including limited English proficiency), be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity that receives federal assistance. Related federal nondiscrimination laws administered by the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, or both, prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, sex, and disability. The Boston Region MPO considers these protected populations in its Title VI Programs, consistent with federal interpretation and administration. In addition, the Boston Region MPO provides meaningful access to its programs, services, and activities to individuals with limited English proficiency, in compliance with U.S. Department of Transportation policy and guidance on federal Executive Order 13166.
The Boston Region MPO also complies with the Massachusetts Public Accommodation Law, M.G.L. c 272 sections 92a, 98, 98a, which prohibits making any distinction, discrimination, or restriction in admission to, or treatment in a place of public accommodation based on race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, or ancestry. Likewise, the Boston Region MPO complies with the Governor's Executive Order 526, section 4, which requires that all programs, activities, and services provided, performed, licensed, chartered, funded, regulated, or contracted for by the state shall be conducted without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, creed, ancestry, national origin, disability, veteran's status (including Vietnam-era veterans), or background.
A complaint form and additional information can be obtained by contacting the MPO or at http://www.bostonmpo.org/mpo_non_discrimination.
To request this information in a different language or in an accessible format, please contact
Title VI Specialist
For people with hearing or speaking difficulties, connect through the state MassRelay service:
For more information, including numbers for Spanish speakers, visit https://www.mass.gov/massrelay
Chapter 1—The Boston Region’s Background, Function and Structure
1.2...... Federal Requirements for Public Participation.
1.2.1 Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Meeting Requirements
1.3...... Composition of the Boston Region MPO
1.4...... MPO Staff.
1.5...... The MPO’s Core Functions
Chapter 2—The MPO’s Public Outreach Vision, Principles, and Guidelines
2.1...... The MPO’s Public Outreach Vision
2.2...... The MPO’s Public Outreach Principles
2.3...... The MPO’s Public Outreach Guidelines
2.4...... Measuring Public Outreach Effectiveness
Chapter 3—Opportunities for Engagement
3.1...... Ways to Be Informed.
3.2...... Ways to Be Involved
3.2.1 MPO Board Meetings
3.2.2 MPO Committee Meetings
3.2.3 The Advisory Council.
3.2.4 MPO-Sponsored Meetings and Activities
3.2.6 Website Feedback Form
3.2.7 Coordinated Activities with MAPC
3.2.8 MPO “Invite Us Over”
3.3...... Notice of MPO Activities
3.4...... Access to MPO Meetings and MPO-Sponsored Meetings
3.4.1 Transportation and Physical Access
3.4.2 Language Access
3.4.3 Virtual Access.
Chapter 4—Public Outreach Schedules
4.1...... Public Engagement Schedule for the TIP and UPWP
4.2...... Public Engagement Schedule for the LRTP
4.3...... Public Engagement Schedule for Changes to Certification Documents
4.3.1 Amendments Procedure
4.3.2 Administrative Modifications Procedure
4.4...... Public Outreach Schedule for Longer-Time Horizon Planning Activities
4.4.1 The Transportation Equity Program
4.4.2 The Public Outreach Program
4.5...... Federal Recertification Reviews
Figure 1 Map of the Boston Region MPO
Figure 2 Annual Planning Cycle for the TIP, UPWP, and Public Outreach
Appendix A—Federal Public Participation Mandates
Appendix B—Demographic Survey Questions
Appendix C—MPO Memorandum of Understanding
Appendix D—Accessibility Checklist
The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) created this Public Outreach Plan (The Plan) to provide guidelines for achieving effective engagement in the regional transportation planning process. The Plan guides the MPO’s Public Outreach Program (POP), which comprises all outreach activities, public meetings, and communications, to ensure that all members of the public—including people who have been underserved by the transportation system and/or have lacked access to the decision-making process—are given the opportunity to be part of the metropolitan planning process. The POP guides the MPO’s efforts to offer continuous and meaningful opportunities for members of the public to influence MPO transportation planning decision-making in the Boston region. The Plan lists the procedures that guide the POP.
The Plan is reviewed by the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration. Members of the public have an opportunity to provide comments and suggestions prior to the MPO board endorsing the Plan throughout the development and public comment period. Contained in the Plan are the details of
The Boston Region MPO encourages public comment. This document is available on the Boston Region MPO website in addition to the companion POP Guidebook. For any questions or comments, please contact the Public Outreach Coordinator, at email@example.com or 857.702.3658.
Chapter 1—The Boston Region’s Background, Function and Structure
The purpose of the Public Outreach Plan (the Plan) is to describe the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) Public Outreach Program (POP), which comprises the various outreach activities that the MPO engages in to ensure that all members of the public—including people who have been underserved by the transportation system and/or lacked access to the decision-making process—are given the opportunity to participate in the Boston regional transportation planning process.
The Plan guides the MPO’s efforts to offer continuous and meaningful opportunities for people to influence transportation decision-making in the Boston region.
The Plan describes federal and state public participation requirements, and the MPO’s specific outreach guidelines, policies, principles, schedules, and opportunities for public involvement. The Plan also includes several appendices that list federal laws guiding MPO outreach and more.
This plan reflects recent updates in information, communication technologies, and public outreach practices. The MPO has incorporated new virtual public involvement strategies for outreach activities and MPO meetings.
Federal metropolitan transportation planning rules require MPO public participation plans include the following:
Other federal legislation, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, also have public participation requirements that MPOs must implement to ensure access to the planning process for equity populations. Transportation equity populations include people who identify as minorities; have limited English proficiency; are 75 years of age or older or 17 years of age or younger; have a disability; or are members of low-income or transit-dependent households. People who identify as minorities are those who identify as Hispanic or Latino/Latina/x/e and/or a race other than "white.". The United States Department of Transportation’s Environmental Justice Order also requires that the agency and recipients of federal funding provide meaningful opportunities for public involvement for minority and low-income populations. To meet these requirements, the MPO, through the Transportation Equity Program, takes steps to include equity populations in outreach and regional planning. Details of these laws are listed in Appendix A.
MPO staff continues to adapt and innovate the POP to be responsive to the community. Staff will continue to update the Plan in the future to reflect changes in federal guidance, requirements, and regional needs.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), Cape Ann Transportation Authority (CATA), and MetroWest Regional Transit Authority (MWRTA), which are FTA Section 5307 applicants, have consulted with the MPO and concur that the public outreach process adopted by the MPO for the development of the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) satisfies the public hearing requirements that pertain to the development of the Program of Projects for regular Section 5307, Urbanized Area (UZA) Formula Program, grant applications, including the provision for public notice and the time established for public review and comment.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishes the MPO’s membership composition, structure, committees, processes for developing its certification documents, voting rules, and more. The full text of the MOU is available in Appendix C. The MPO will undergo an effort to produce an Operations Plan starting in 2021, proceeding the adoption of the Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS) Strategic Plan to expand on board practices and policies.
The MPO board is made up of 22 state, regional, municipal, and council members who work cooperatively to make decisions about regional planning and federal funding for transportation projects. The MPO’s membership includes the following voting members:
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and FTA serve as ex officio members. Figure 1 displays a map of the MPO subregions and current representatives as of August 2021.
Map of the Boston Region MPO
Elected municipal members serve three-year terms. Terms are staggered and each year, four seats are up for election. The chief elected officials of all the municipalities in the region can vote on the elected municipal seats. MAPC and the MBTA Advisory Board jointly administer the election. Elections take place in the fall annually.
The Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation (or a designee) serves as the Chair to the MPO, and the Executive Director of MAPC (or a designee) serves as the Vice Chair. It is not required by the federal government for the MPO to be chaired by the state’s Department of Transportation, but in Massachusetts, MassDOT chairs each MPO.
The MPO currently has three recurring committees. The MPO Chair appoints MPO members as representatives to the committees. Any MPO member can ask to join a committee at any time. The three committees and their responsibilities are as follows:
CTPS was created in 1974 as staff to the Boston Region MPO and to be a permanent resource of expertise in comprehensive multimodal transportation planning and analysis. CTPS authors planning studies, produces the MPO’s certification documents, and develops and maintains technical tools that help the MPO conduct its work. CTPS also provides technical assistance to municipalities and transit providers and conducts contract work for government entities.
Congress created MPOs to promote cooperation among state agencies, organizations, and local cities and towns in regional transportation planning. MPO funding is established through federal transportation legislation, the most recent of which is the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015.
The Boston Region MPO carries out seven core functions:
Chapter 2—The MPO’s Public Outreach Vision, Principles, and Guidelines
Transportation enables mobility, social interaction, commerce, personal development, and fulfillment. The region relies on transportation to move people and to move goods, such as food, fuel, and medical supplies. The MPO’s challenge is to maintain the regional transportation network to meet existing needs, increase equity in the transportation system, and adapt and modernize it for future demand, while working within the reality of constrained fiscal resources.
The Boston Region MPO envisions a modern, well-maintained transportation system that supports a sustainable, healthy, livable, and economically vibrant region. To achieve this vision, the transportation system must be safe and resilient; incorporate emerging technologies; and provide equitable access, excellent mobility, and varied transportation options. This vision was endorsed in the MPO’s recent LRTP, Destination 2040, in 2019. The vision was developed over several years of engagement—a process that included technical analyses, studies of transportation needs, and incorporating public feedback. The vision guides the MPO in all of its work, and paints a picture of the desired regional transportation system of the future.
Public outreach improves decision-making by helping to illuminate the social, economic, and environmental benefits and drawbacks of transportation decisions. Public outreach also supports a continuous feedback loop in ever changing circumstances. The MPO’s vision for public outreach in the region is to hear, value, and consider, throughout all planning work, the views of and feedback from the full spectrum of the public and incorporate this input in all decision-making.
The Boston Region MPO is committed to fostering a robust and inclusive public outreach process for regional transportation planning. The following principles guide the MPO’s efforts in public outreach:
Through the MPO’s public outreach guidelines, the MPO makes every effort to
MPO staff uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative measures to evaluate public outreach effectiveness. The different methods used include:
Beginning in FFY 2022, MPO staff will produce memorandums describing the effectiveness of public outreach activities at the end of each federal fiscal year and present them to the MPO. MPO staff also maintains a Consolidated Stakeholder Database to manage the contact information of stakeholders, and track event attendance and comments.
Chapter 3—Opportunities for Engagement
The MPO’s outreach activities and programs are designed to meet the needs and preferences of the public. This section covers specifics on how the MPO provides opportunities for public engagement. Activities include presentations and discussions, interactive opportunities in various in-person venues, and online platforms for meetings, forums, workshops, and focus groups. Staff also uses the MPO website, digital and print flyers, emails, and social media channels to communicate with the public.
The MPO website provides comprehensive up-to-date information about all of the MPO’s work, such as:
To ensure web access for people with low or no vision who use screen readers, all documents and digital outreach materials are posted in both PDF and HTML versions. In addition, the MPO makes every effort to make data represented in tables fully navigable by a screen reader and provides alternative text to describe tables, figures, and images.
MPO staff is committed to producing materials in plain language following the Plain Language Act of 2010. The Plain Language Act requires that federal agencies use, “clear government communication that the public can understand and use…to enhance citizen access to government information and services by establishing that government documents issued to the public must be written clearly.”
The MPO’s Language Assistance Plan (LAP) identifies the most commonly spoken non-English languages and the percent of the population in the Boston region that speak that language. Based on this information, the LAP describes the MPO’s strategies for providing oral interpreter services and written translations. The LAP is updated every three years to reflect changes in demographics in the region. The most recent LAP was produced and endorsed in 2021.
The MPO website features a translation function through Google Translate for more than 100 languages. In addition, vital documents (as designated in the LAP), outreach materials, and surveys are professionally translated into the six most commonly spoken non-English languages, which are:
The digital translated materials are posted on the website and the print translated materials are available at outreach events and upon request. Documents currently defined as vital in the LAP include:
All emails are automatically translated by the MPO’s email service, which is currently MailChimp. Readers can select the language to view the message by opening the email in the MailChimp browser window and selecting translate, and then selecting the language to see the content in.
As of March 13, 2020, videos of past MPO meetings and virtual MPO-sponsored activities are posted to the Boston Region MPO YouTube channel and linked to the corresponding Meeting Calendar date on the website. YouTube provides Closed Captions on all videos. Prior to March 13, 2020, MPO meetings were recorded audibly. These recordings, available as MP3 files, can be found on each of the corresponding Meeting Calendar dates on the website in addition to the support documents and endorsed minutes from that meeting.
The MPO uses a variety of other tools to inform the public, including email subscriptions, MPOinfo, and Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. The MPO has email lists for the Transportation Equity Program, the Advisory Council, Bike and Pedestrian Activities, and other programs and projects. The MPOinfo email communications focus on major MPO updates, projects, and programs, such as certification document releases, amendments, and announcements of public comment periods, survey releases, and outreach event details.
The MPO hosts a number of meetings and events where members of the public can learn about MPO activities and participate in the regional transportation planning process. These include official MPO board meetings, MPO committee meetings, and hosting or presenting at outreach events. The purpose of these meetings is to present and discuss pertinent information, solicit feedback, and gather input from the public on specific topics to inform transportation planning decisions for the region.
The MPO typically meets on the first and third Thursday of each month at 10:00 AM. During busier times of the year, an additional meeting might be scheduled during the month, while during slower times of the year, there might be one meeting scheduled per month. Most in-person components of the meetings are held at the State Transportation Building at 10 Park Plaza in Boston. Every quarter, the MPO works with MPO member communities to host an off-site meeting in a MPO municipality. Starting on March 13, 2020, the MPO hosted virtual meetings through video conferencing platforms. Links to virtual meetings are available on the MPO Meeting Calendar webpage along with agendas and support materials for that day. The MPO will maintain a virtual component of MPO meetings through video conferencing so that participants can attend either in-person or virtually, in compliance with the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law.
Each MPO meeting follows the general process below:
Members of the public can also submit comments through the online Feedback Form on the MPO website or by emailing MPO staff. Members of the public can also call staff to provide comments or to ask questions. Staff responds to questions and comments promptly by phone or email. Staff shares public comments on MPO agenda items on the corresponding date on the MPO meeting calendar web page in advance of meetings and summarize comments received during MPO presentations. If comments are not connected to specific agenda items, but are about MPO activities, MPO staff will routinely share these comments back to the board through the Executive Director’s report.
Individuals with low or no vision or with low literacy are informed on the website and at meetings that they may submit comments through a recording or staff transcription of their spoken remarks before or after MPO meetings and MPO committee meetings. Any member of the public can provide a live public comment during the public comment section of the MPO meeting and MPO committee meetings.
Members of the public can provide a comment in any language. Staff will translate comments received in languages other than English. By request, MPO meetings can include interpreter service with two weeks’ notice. However, if it is less than two weeks’ notice, MPO staff encourages any interested individual to reach out and request interpretive services and staff will do their best to obtain those services.
The UPWP, CMP, and A&F committees meet as needed. Committee meetings are usually held before or after MPO meetings. All committee meetings are open to the public and have a virtual participation component. The Chair can also create ad-hoc committees for specific issues and activities. The ad-hoc committees follow the same policies as the permanent committees. Video recordings of committee meetings are available on the Boston Region MPO’s YouTube channel and are linked in the MPO Meeting Calendar on the corresponding date.
The Advisory Council is an independent body of community and professional organizations, advocacy groups, transportation management associations, and municipalities. Municipalities that sit on the MPO board cannot be part of the Advisory Council. The primary function of the Advisory Council is to help communicate information to different stakeholders and coordinate feedback to the MPO to advise on transportation policy and planning. Members of the Advisory Council elect their own Chair and Vice Chair annually.
Advisory Council meetings are designed to foster robust discussion on transportation topics related to planning and programming. Meetings are generally held on the second Wednesday of the month at 2:30 PM in the State Transportation Building at 10 Park Plaza, Boston. As of March 13, 2020, Advisory Council meetings are held with a virtual component through video conferencing platforms. Links to virtual meetings are available on the MPO Meeting Calendar webpage, along with agendas and support materials. Video recordings of Advisory Council meetings are available on the Boston Region MPO’s YouTube channel. Advisory Council meetings follow the same guidelines as MPO meetings. Agendas do not routinely include a specific item for public comment, but members of the public are allowed to speak and ask questions at the discretion of the Chair.
To improve public outreach opportunities offered by the Advisory Council, MPO staff works with members to hear and share ideas on specific MPO topics and supports the Advisory Council’s membership outreach to organizations that focus on individuals who are more underserved by the region’s transportation system.
The MPO sponsors a variety of public engagement opportunities that are planned and managed by MPO staff:
MPO outreach events are designed for as much interaction as possible among all in attendance. MPO staff also partners and collaborates with other regional, state, and municipal agencies and community organizations for outreach events and pop-up outreach activities.
MPO staff strives to host public engagement opportunities in areas with higher concentrations of people of color, people with limited English proficiency, people with low incomes and other people who have been traditionally marginalized, to expand inclusion in the regional planning process. In addition, staff works with local stakeholders to learn about particular cultural or language issues that should be recognized and respected when planning and operating the event, such as dates of community celebration or observations, and/or cultural preferences or restrictions.
MPO staff frequently conducts surveys to learn perspectives on topics like certification document activities, corridor issues, MPO policy decisions, and other transportation study issues. The MPO website houses survey links on project pages and/or homepage banners. The survey information and links are shared on social media, email blasts, and newsletters, in addition to staff directly reaching out to community stakeholders who forward the information and links to their members and community. MPO surveys always include a slate of demographic questions, the notice of nondiscrimination, and contact information for specific MPO staff. The current demographic questions are listed in Appendix B and are subject to change to adapt to more inclusive language in the future.
The MPO website features a feedback form section that viewers can reach from any page on the website. Using this function, members of the public are invited to submit a comment on any topic. Comments are directed to the appropriate staff member who responds to the comments promptly and considers the input for future MPO work. MPO staff also answers questions and directs members of the public to other helpful information, resources or contacts. Comments submitted during a formal comment period for a document under review, such as the TIP and UPWP, are summarized along with the staff responses and reported to the MPO when the MPO votes to endorse the document. Those comments are listed in the final document and posted to the website.
MAPC Subregional Coordinators facilitate monthly or bimonthly subregional meetings of member municipalities and other stakeholders to discuss topics related to land use, community development, transportation, climate change, housing, and other issues. MPO staff regularly meets with MAPC’s subregional coordinators and shares updates in the MAPC Matters monthly newsletter and subsequent subregional newsletters. MPO staff attends subregional meetings to present TIP and UPWP engagement opportunities and engages in conversations around subregional and regional transportation issues.
MPO staff works with advocacy groups, community organizations, professional organizations, and other stakeholder groups to host activities to discuss transportation issues that are important to them. MPO staff specifically focuses on connecting and collaborating with organizations that serve and/or are primarily comprised of people who are often underserved by the regional transportation system. Staff will continue to work to increase the number of in-person and virtual
“Invite Us Over” events to bolster the MPO’s visibility and expand outreach.
The MPO provides notification of meetings through the Meeting Calendar on the MPO website and email lists. MPO, MPO committee, and Advisory Council meeting agendas and materials are posted on the website one week in advance of the meeting, except in cases of emergency or other constrained circumstances. Under Massachusetts Open Meeting Law, materials have to be posted 48 hours in advance of a public meeting. Outreach event information is also posted on the MPO Meeting Calendar and sent through the MPOinfo and Transportation Equity email lists, and to the Advisory Council members and contact lists of stakeholder groups. Flyers for outreach events in communities with a higher proportion of non-English speakers are translated into the most spoken languages in that community.
The MPO aims to make all meetings accessible to all members of the public whether that be in person or virtually, and accessed in different languages.
All MPO-sponsored in-person meetings are held in locations that are accessible to people with disabilities and are located near public transportation. To ensure accessibility for persons with disabilities, locations for meetings held outside the State Transportation Building are selected through a process that includes an on-site review of the meeting facilities. As part of this review, staff refers to an accessibility checklist with a list of physical characteristics necessary to accommodate individuals with a variety of mobility limitations. This checklist is listed in Appendix D.
When selecting meeting venues, staff consults the MPO’s LAP. The LAP identifies locations of people with limited English proficiency. Based on the meeting location, the LAP provides information regarding languages into which materials may need to be translated, and describes the language services that will be provided. Staff also frequently brings outreach material in the six most spoken languages in the region to events and meetings with community organizations. Staff also brings an interpreter(s) if the partner organization’s meeting provides activities in multiple languages or the event is conducted in a language other than English.
Members of the public can request interpreter services for MPO and MPO-sponsored activities whether the event is virtual, in-person, or both. Staff asks that requests be made two weeks in advance to ensure that an interpreter can be booked. Staff encourages participants to still request interpreter services if it is less than two weeks in advance, and staff will do their best to secure an interpreter. Upon request, interpreter services include, but are not limited to, Sign Language, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Haitian, Vietnamese, Cantonese and Mandarin.
As of March 13, 2020, MPO meetings, MPO committee meetings, and online MPO-sponsored events are hosted virtually through a video conferencing platform. The MPO is exploring a hybrid format with in-person and virtual engagement for future MPO meetings and MPO committee meetings. MPO-sponsored events will take place either virtually or in-person. Virtual access is available through Zoom links on the MPO meeting calendar.
Chapter 4—Public Outreach Schedules
The regional transportation planning process includes the development of the certification documents and other programs and studies annually. Development of the certification documents follows established cycles as depicted in Figure 2.
Annual Planning Cycle for the TIP, UPWP, and Public Outreach
Public engagement to support this work follows similar cycles and is paired with general MPO outreach. The MPO makes the public aware of the details of each year’s public engagement time frames at the beginning of the federal fiscal year to assure predictability for those who wish to participate in the transportation planning process. Public engagement opportunities for other MPO programs and studies occur throughout the year.
The TIP and UPWP are produced each year. The schedule may change due to updated guidance from agency partners and MPO board decisions; however, the general schedule for the TIP and UPWP is as follows:
The LRTP is updated every four years. Throughout those four years, LRTP outreach work continues, such as gathering data for the Needs Assessment and conducting scenario planning with public input. A specific public outreach plan is developed for each LRTP. The most significant public outreach is conducted during the fourth year, leading up to the endorsement of the LRTP. LRTP public outreach activities are coordinated with TIP and UPWP outreach when applicable. The draft LRTP is released for a public review period of 30 days.
The certification documents can be modified or amended to reflect changes made through the course of the federal fiscal year. Any change to the LRTP is generally considered an amendment. For the TIP, consistent with federal guidelines, if a project is valued at five million or less, the threshold for defining a change to the project as an amendment is a change of $500,000 or more. The threshold for projects valued greater than five million is 10 percent or more of the project value. Changes below these thresholds may be considered administrative modifications. These rules apply to Regional Target-funded projects and non-Regional Target-funded projects in the TIP. Changes to the UPWP, such as the addition or deletion of an MPO-funded study or project, major changes to a UPWP task description, and funding changes to a UPWP task budget of 25 percent or more, also trigger an amendment.
When the MPO considers amending the LRTP, TIP or UPWP, it votes to do so at an MPO meeting. MPO staff then posts the proposed draft amendment to the MPO’s website, sends an email to the MPOinfo list, and posts on social media. The public comment period begins once the amendment is posted on the website. For TIP and UPWP amendments, the public comment period lasts 21 days, while the public comment period for the LRTP lasts 30 days.
The MPO notifies the Advisory Council and affected municipalities and agencies of pending amendments to inform them about the proposed changes, when and where decisions will be made, and how they can provide comments. The MPO also informs TIP contacts and project proponents of affected projects.
In extreme circumstances, such as an unforeseen regulatory requirement, the MPO may vote to shorten the public comment period to a minimum of 15 days. In emergency circumstances, such as the need to take immediate action to protect public safety or take advantage of an extraordinary funding opportunity, the MPO may waive the public comment period.
The MPO may extend a public comment period for an additional 15 days if a proposed amendment is significantly altered during the initial public comment period. If a significant alteration occurs after the close of the initial public comment period, the MPO may schedule an additional comment period lasting 21 days for TIP and UPWP amendments and 30 days for LRTP amendments.
MPO staff collects public comments and presents them to the MPO in both summary form and full text as submitted. MPO members review and consider these comments as they decide what action to take regarding the proposed amendment.
Changes to certification documents that do not rise to the level of an amendment may be addressed through an administrative modification. The MPO may decide to make an administrative modification without issuing a public comment period, although one may be scheduled at the MPO’s discretion. If a public comment period is scheduled, public notification follows the same process that is used for amendments.
The MPO’s Transportation Equity program is ongoing and is part of all MPO planning work. Equity is an integral part of the MPO’s vision, and is reflected in its goal areas and objectives.
The Transportation Equity program focuses on
The MPO engages equity populations to center equity in planning work, identify the transportation needs of protected populations, and promote involvement in the planning processes. The Transportation Equity program focuses on outreach to organizations comprised of and/or serving communities with a high proportion of equity populations, in addition to outreach at community events in areas with a high proportion of equity populations. Staff continually explores creative ways to conduct outreach and produce communications to engage people who are underserved by the regional transportation system.
The MPO reviews the POP’s progress and effectiveness on an ongoing basis. The MPO revises the POP as needed to reflect changes in federal guidance, and regional needs, and improvements in the state of practice. The most recent Plan has specifically taken into account virtual public involvement opportunities and techniques. Changes and revisions to the Plan occur in consultation with members of the public and the MPO board.
Federal recertification reviews of MPOs are conducted every four years. The federal transportation agencies evaluate the program and activities of the MPO to determine whether they are in keeping with the required 3C (continuing, cooperative, and comprehensive) process. The federal agencies certify that the MPO is operating as it should. A recertification review is conducted typically over the course of a work week (Monday to Friday) in a series of public events. Members of the public are invited to participate. Members of the public are also invited to submit comments before and during the review sessions. The federal agencies may contact certain parties to hear their views on MPO programming and operations, including public outreach. The material prepared for the recertification review and the recertification report from the federal agencies is posted on the MPO’s website. The most recent Boston Region MPO recertification review was conducted in 2018.