Draft Memorandum for the Record

Regional Transportation Advisory Council Meeting

July 8, 2020, Meeting Minutes

2:30 PM–4:10 PM, Zoom

Lenard Diggins, Chair, representing the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Ridership Oversight Committee

Meeting Agenda


Lenard Diggins called the meeting to order at 2:30 PM. Members and guests attending the meeting introduced themselves. (For attendance list, see page five.)

Addressing Transportation Equity through Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Project Selection CriteriaBetsy Harvey, Transportation Equity Program Manager, Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Staff

Betsy Harvey, MPO staff, led a discussion about how MPO staff have been developing revised project evaluation criteria in the TIP, with a focus on evaluating equity. She began by listing the current evaluation weightings (maximum possible points) for each goal area set in the Destination 2040 Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP):

B. Harvey explained that MPO staff are in the process of revising both the goal areas and their respective weightings to better reflect what the MPO and its members think are the most important impacts or projects to address. She said the MPO will soon start rescoring projects with the new, revised criteria and that more detailed discussions will follow about whether the new criteria need to be altered.

B. Harvey listed the populations that are currently evaluated within the equity goal area:

B. Harvey said the MPO proposes to eliminate the “carless households” category; it would be replaced with a “youth population” category. She said another planned change is to measure low-income populations based on poverty status rather than household income. B. Harvey explained that both changes would better align with protected classes as defined under federal civil rights laws.

B. Harvey said MPO staff have revised the equity goal area stated in Destination 2040:

Ensure that all people receive comparable benefits from, and are not disproportionately burdened by, MPO investments, regardless of race, color, national origin, age, income, ability, or sex.

B. Harvey said the change is intended to refocus the MPO’s approach to equity on to the impacts of investments on those populations. She said MPO staff have also established several new equity objectives to prioritize:

B. Harvey discussed the current equity scoring approach and some of its drawbacks. She then discussed the goals for the new criteria formulated by MPO staff:

B. Harvey said the MPO had conducted focus groups and a public survey to engage the public on TIP criteria updates, asking “How can the MPO best improve transportation in the region?”; she said respondents ranked “Promote more equitable transportation mobility” as their first or second highest rated category among the MPO’s goal areas. B. Harvey said these results suggested to MPO staff that the criteria for scoring projects should give more weight to the equity goal; the existing criteria give equity a maximum of 12 points out of a total maximum of 134 points. B. Harvey mentioned a technical memorandum that has more detail about the MPO’s public engagement efforts regarding the project evaluation criteria revisions.

B. Harvey explained that the MPO is proposing to replace the stand-alone equity category with an overall equity multiplier, which would be calculated by identifying the share of each of the six equity populations that live within the project area and that would be affected by the project.

B. Harvey summarized the feedback she has received about the proposed revisions to how equity is weighted during the scoring process:


Andy Reker, City of Cambridge; John McQueen, WalkBoston; Franny Osman, Acton Transportation Advisory Committee; and B. Harvey discussed how the MPO uses data measuring income or disability populations that is derived from the American Community Survey, which is a product of the US Census Bureau.

F. Osman and B. Harvey discussed how to better measure the people who use and benefit from a project rather than those who live nearby.

A. Reker, J. McQueen, and Matt Genova, MPO staff, discussed how the equivalent property damage only (EPDO) index is used in the MPO’s safety scoring calculations.

AnaCristina Fragoso, Boston Society of Civil Engineers, J. McQueen, M. Genova, and B. Harvey discussed whether the MPO incorporates international sustainability standards in TIP scoring criteria, particularly with regard to hiring of equity populations that already reside in a project area. J. McQueen also advocated for raising the “low-income population” equity multiplier to x2 from x1 weight, which it would have in the proposed new weighting.

F. Osman; Ellen Lee, Arlington Disability Commission; and B. Harvey discussed whether transportation needs of elderly populations are adequately represented in the data gathered during the scoring process.

Chair’s Report—Lenard Diggins, Chair

Lenard Diggins recommended a presentation about the Public Input on the TIP Criteria by Kate White, Public Outreach Coordinator on the MPO staff.

L. Diggins also discussed another topic from the last MPO board meeting: updating the definition of a major infrastructure project used in the LRTP.

Approval of Meeting Minutes

A motion to approve the minutes of the August 14, 2019, meeting was made and seconded. The minutes were approved.

Old Business, New Business, and Member Announcements

L. Diggins raised the question of whether Advisory Council members wanted to schedule a bonus meeting for later in July; he said possible topics for the bonus meeting include either the Pedestrian Report Card or Scenario Planning and Modeling. J. McQueen mentioned that walkability scores are a resource that could be combined with the Pedestrian Report Card.

A. Reker suggested a bonus meeting could focus on the selected corridor safety projects in the LRTP.


A motion to adjourn was made and seconded. The motion carried.


Member Municipalities

Representatives and Alternates

City of Cambridge

Andy Reker

Town of Watertown

Laura Weiner


Member Citizen Advocacy Groups

Representatives and Alternates

MBTA Ridership Oversight Committee

Lenard Diggins

Acton Transportation Advisory Committee

Franny Osman

American Council of Engineering Companies

Fred Moseley

Boston Society of Architects

Schuyler Larrabee

Boston Society of Civil Engineers

AnaCristina Fragoso


John McQueen


Other Attendees


Ellen Lee

Arlington Disability Commission


MPO Staff/Central Transportation Planning Staff

Matt Archer

Betsy Harvey

Matt Genova




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
Boston Region MPO
10 Park Plaza, Suite 2150
Boston, MA 02116

By Telephone:
857.702.3700 (voice)

For people with hearing or speaking difficulties, connect through the state MassRelay service:

  • Relay Using TTY or Hearing Carry-over: 800.439.2370
  • Relay Using Voice Carry-over: 866.887.6619
  • Relay Using Text to Speech: 866.645.9870

For more information, including numbers for Spanish speakers, visit https://www.mass.gov/massrelay.