Charting Progress to 2040 Logo.

The Boston Region’s Next Long-Range Transportation Plan

Metropolitan Boston Region

Summer 2015


The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) adopted its Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), Charting Progress to 2040, which provides a 25-year vision for transportation in the Boston metropolitan area. In this plan, the MPO sets priorities for future federally-funded transportation planning studies and capital-improvement projects.

The LRTP development process consisted of several steps:

  1. Established a vision, goals, and objectives for future transportation investments in the Boston region

  2. Identified the region’s transportation needs through assessing existing conditions
    and transportation system’s performance, and identifying issues to address in the future

  3. Conducted scenario planning to consider investment strategies that will advance the region’s transportation goals

  4. Developed a plan that accounts for expected transportation funding over the next 25 years, analyzed the greenhouse gas, air quality, and environmental justice impacts of the plan, and circulated the plan for public review and comment

The public played a key role in shaping transportation for the next 25 years. The MPO sought public feedback throughout the development of the long-range transportation plan.


First the MPO established a vision for transportation in the region. It set goals and
objectives to:


The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization envisions a modern transportation
system that is safe, uses new technologies, provides equitable access, excellent mobility, and varied transportation options—in support of a sustainable, healthy, livable, and economically vibrant region.

Goals and Objectives

The MPO’s goals and objectives are shown in the table below.

Please give us your feedback!

The MPO welcomes your input on the LRTP process, particularly with regard to the questions listed throughout this document. Please visit the Charting Progress to 2040 page on the MPO’s website ( to learn more about the LRTP process and provide your comments.

Central Vision Statement

The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization envisions a modern transportation system that is safe, uses new technologies, provides equitable access, excellent mobility, and varied transportation
options—in support of a sustainable, healthy, livable, and economically vibrant region.


SAFETY: Transportation by all modes will be safe

SYSTEM PRESERVATION: Maintain the transportation system

CAPACITY MANAGEMENT/MOBILITY: Use existing facility capacity more efficiently and increase healthy transportation capacity

CLEAN AIR/CLEAN COMMUNITIES: Create an environmentally friendly transportation system

TRANSPORTATION EQUITY: Provide comparable transportation access and service quality among communities, regardless of income level or minority population

Ensure our transportation network provides a strong foundation for economic vitality



Next, the Boston Region MPO conducted a Needs Assessment to identify transportation needs within the MPO’s goal areas, which include but are not limited to, safety, congestion reduction, and transportation options. The Needs Assessment features a Web-based application that displays data on high crash locations, congested roadways, and walking, biking and transit coverage, along with data on
other topics.The tool can be accessed at The MPO used this information to guide development of investment strategies to address these needs.

The maps and data below reflect some of the needs that MPO staff identified through the Needs Assessment process. For example, bottlenecks in the roadway system cause congestion and accidents and result in higher emissions of pollutants. MPO staff analyzed crash data and congestion information from the Needs Assessment to cite bottleneck locations with severe congestion and high crash severity in the Boston region.

Highway Bottlenecks

Arterial Bottlenecks


Congestion on Highways by Planning Time Index

This map displays congestion on highways by planning time index. Planning time index measures the reliability of congestion based on the ratio of the 95th percent peak-period travel time to the free-flow travel time.


Congestion on highways map.




High Crash Locations by Equivalent Property Damage Only

This map displays high crash locations by equivalent property damage only (EPDO). EPDO measures crash severity based on property damage, personal injuries, and fatalities.

Map of high crash locations.


High Priority Bike Gaps

Transit Gaps


Regional High Priority Bike Gaps

This map displays the high priority bike gaps in the regional bike network as prioritized by access to underserved communities, employment centers, town centers, central business districts, schools, universities/colleges, and parks or open space.

Map of high priority bike gaps.


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Scenario planning for developing this LRTP helped both the MPO and the public weigh the benefits and tradeoffs of a variety of investment strategies. The MPO examined how allocating available dollars to various strategies would best address the identified transportation needs of the region, while advancing the MPO’s vision, goals, and objectives.

Using the inputs shown in the figure below, staff crafted three scenarios of alternative investment strategies for the MPO to review. Staff then analyzed the effects these scenarios would have on a selection of transportation-related indicators. Using the results of this scenario planning, the MPO identified the recommended investment strategy for the final LRTP.

Scenario planning will continue to be utilized throughout the MPO’s performance-based planning and programming process, to update the region’s land use plan, and to plan individual transportation projects.

Inputs into the Development of the LRTP

Image showing the development of the LRTP.


Summary of Recent Investments

Looking at past MPO investments is useful when considering how money should be spent in the future. Recent MPO investments have been guided by the MPO’s current goals of providing a transportation system that is well maintained, improves mobility for people and freight, and provides safe transportation for all modes. To advance these goals, the MPO conducted studies and funded the construction of infrastructure projects. Below are examples of recent investments made in the Boston region.

Corridor investments that help to reduce crash severity, increase healthy transportation options, and reduce delay for all users.

Locations Studied:


Intersection investments that help to reduce crash severity and reduce delay for all users.

Locations Studied:


Bicycle investments that help to close gaps between existing facilities and expand access to transit stations, downtown centers, and schools.

Locations Studied:


Interchange investments that help to reduce crash severity and delay for motorists.

Locations Studied:


Transit investments to increase transit usage and improve access and accessibility for all customers.
Locations Studied:


Projects Funded with TIP Target Program Funding

(Fereral Fiscal Years 2008-18)


Pie chart showing division of project funding: 44% Arterial and intersection, 40% Major highway, 13% transit, and 3% bicycle and pedestrian.

Sum of Projects Funded: $730 million

Note: Arterial and Intersection investments include bicycle and pedestrian components of Complete Streets projects. The transit portion reflects highway funding that has been flexed for transit projects.

Transit Projects

Arterial and Intersection Projects

Bicycle and Pedestrian Projects

Major Highway Projects

Future Investment Program

In the future, MPO investments will continue to be guided by MPO goals. In turn, these goals will guide prioritization of infrastructure projects funded through the TIP. Given that the MPO does not have enough funding to address all necessary investments, the MPO weighed the tradeoffs of different strategies before allocating resources. One of the MPO’s investment strategies involved establishing programs in the LRTP that advance multiple goals. Listed below are programs that were included in the LRTP and TIP, along with examples of candidate projects drawn from the TIP Universe of Projects or other planning documents.

An intersection program to reduce crash severity and reduce delay for all users

Goals Addressed: Safety; System Preservation; Capacity Management/Mobility;Clean Air/Clean Communities

Possible Projects:

A Complete Streets program to increase multi-modal transportation options and reduce delay.

Goals Addressed: Safety; System Preservation; Capacity Management/Mobility

Possible Projects:

A bike network program to increase healthy transportation options, enhance connectivity and improve safety.

Goals Addressed: Safety; Capacity Management/Mobility; Clean Air/Clean Communities

Possible Projects:

A pedestrian connections program to improve safety and increase healthy transportation options.

Goals Addressed: Safety; Capacity Management/Mobility; Clean Air/Clean Communities

Possible Projects:

A transit program to preserve the system and increase healthy transportation options, which could consist of state of good repair needs not included in the MBTA’s Capital Investment Program or system expansion projects listed in the current Program for Mass Transportation or proposed Focus 40 Plan.

Goals Addressed: Capacity Management/Mobility; Transportation Equity; Other goals depending on the project

A major infrastructure program for major modernization or expansion projects that impact regional travel.

Goals Addressed: Safety; System Preservation; Capacity Management/Mobility; Economic Vitality

Possible Projects:

Potential Programs for Future Consideration

A bottlenecks program to address congested highway and arterial locations.

Goals Addressed: Capacity Management/Mobility; Safety; Economic Vitality

Possible Projects:

An interchange modernization program to modernize outdated interchanges in the system to improve safety and reduce congestion.

Goals Addressed: Safety; System Preservation; Capacity Management/Mobility; Economic Vitality

Possible Projects:


Once the three LRTP development steps—establishing a vision, goal and objectives; identifying needs; and scenario planning—were completed, the MPO had many of the necessary inputs to develop a draft LRTP. Information about expected land use and transportation funding over the life of the plan also supported an MPO staff recommendation for a preferred transportation investment approach. After the MPO decided upon the preferred investment approach, staff conducted air-quality, greenhouse-gas, and transportation-equity analyses of the approach. Staff also developed supporting chapters on various aspects of the planning process and the selected investment approach that were included in the draft LRTP document. The MPO then approved a draft LRTP document for public review and comment, and MPO staff gathered this feedback. The MPO considered the public’s comments as it decided upon a final LRTP. The LRTP was endorsed at the end of July 2015.

The LRTP will shape all aspects of MPO planning. In particular, it will provide direction for the types of capital projects included in the TIP, and planning activities included in the UPWP. It also will lay the foundation for the MPO’s performance-based planning process, which the MPO will use to monitor progress toward achieving its goals and objectives.

Perfomance-Based Planning

Long-Range Transportation Plan Developement


Perfomance-based planning development chart.

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* Funded in 2016-2020 TIP

** Funded in LRTP