A Guidebook to Updating the TIP Criteria
What are the TIP criteria?
The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) uses a set of criteria to evaluate the transportation projects being considered for capital funding through the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). These criteria align with the MPO’s goals established in the MPO’s Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). The latest LRTP, Destination 2040, endorsed six goals for the region’s transportation system: Safety, System Preservation and Modernization, Capacity Management and Mobility, Clean Air/Sustainable Communities, Transportation Equity, and Economic Vitality, with corresponding objectives for each.
Click here to see the Destination 2040 Vision, Goals, Objectives Document
Visit the Destination 2040 webpage here
Why is the MPO making changes to the criteria?
These updated goals led the MPO to reimagine the TIP criteria and how they assess projects within the MPO’s investment programs: Complete Streets, Intersection Improvements, Bicycle Network and Pedestrian Connections, Major Infrastructure, and Transit Modernization. The MPO also has a new investment program, Community Connections, which funds first- and last-mile shuttle connections and improved access to transit stations. Community Connections has its own set of criteria that is in the process of being revised now that the pilot round of this program is complete.
The MPO also sought to keep pace with existing transportation needs in the region. In an effort to better understand what those needs and priorities are, MPO staff reached out to the public through in-person focus groups and an online survey from September to December of 2019. This outreach, in addition to looking at practices from peer MPOs, data and methodologies of state and federal partners, and researching performance-based planning, led staff to these proposed changes. This handout highlights the changes staff are presenting to the MPO from Winter 2019 to Summer 2020. Staff are seeking feedback on these changes and whether the changes align with your priorities. Provide your feedback in this survey! The board will approve the final changes to the criteria in late September or early October 2020.
Provide your feedback in the survey here
Why are the criteria important?
Projects receive points based on the extent to which they meet each criterion. The more points a project scores, the more likely it is that the project will be funded. Projects compete against others in their respective investment programs and each project’s score is a major factor in whether the MPO chooses to fund it.
Click here to learn more about the Current TIP
What are the criteria’s limitations?
These criteria will be applied to projects being evaluated in the next TIP, the federal fiscal years (FFY) 2022–2026 TIP, and projects already programmed in the FFYs 2021–2025 TIP will not be rescored. The MPO hopes that the proposed changes will help fulfill the MPO’s vision of a modern, well-maintained transportation system that supports a sustainable, healthy, livable, and economically vibrant region. Even though the MPO has to approve all projects that receive federal transportation funding, the criteria only apply to the projects funded using the MPO’s Regional Target funds. The criteria have a large impact on which projects are funded; in the most recent FFYs 2021–25 TIP cycle, only the highest-scoring project in each investment program was awarded funding. Though the criteria are important, the MPO also considers other factors when selecting projects for funding, including cost, readiness, and the distribution of federal funding across the region. The process of creating new criteria for the TIP is also iterative and the MPO welcomes continued suggestions, ideas, and feedback, especially as the region’s context continues to change.
Call to Action—We need your input!
- Complete the survey to let staff know your feedback on these proposed changes that are outlined on the following pages. Click here to take the survey.
- Ask staff to speak at your meeting or virtual community event
- Contact Matt Genova at email@example.com to share your feedback
- Attend an upcoming virtual MPO Meeting
- Attend a Regional Transportation Advisory Council meeting and consider becoming a member
- Follow the Boston Region MPO at @BostonRegionMPO
Click here to take the Proposed Criteria Changes Survey
Learn more about the TIP Criteria through the Webpage
Check out the MPO Meeting Calendar
Follow us @Boston Region MPO on Social media. Click here for the Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube pages
Transportation Equity Criteria
The Transportation Equity goal seeks to 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. For the MPO this means
- prioritizing MPO investments that benefit equity populations;
- minimizing potential harmful environmental, health, and safety effects of MPO-funded projects for all equity populations;
- promoting investments that support transportation for all ages (age-friendly communities); and
- promoting investments that are accessible to all people regardless of ability.
Equity populations include the low-income population, people of color, people with limited English proficiency, people with disabilities, the elderly population (age 75 and older), and the youth population (age 17 and younger.
The new criteria would integrate equity into every goal area, rather than be a standalone set of criteria. Projects would receive progressively more points based on
- the share of equity populations in the project area (within one-half mile of the project) in combination with
- the expected impacts of the project, as evaluated in the other five goal areas.
For example, if a project reduces emissions and pollutants under the Clean Air/Sustainable Communities goal area, it would receive more points if the project has a higher share of equity populations.
This new approach would apply an equity multiplier on criteria in each goal area that staff have identified through public outreach and data analysis as critical transportation needs or where there exist disparities for equity populations. Each project's multiplier would be based on the distribution of equity populations in the project area relative to their region wide averages. The higher the share of equity populations in the project area, the higher the multiplier would be. The goal areas on the following pages indicate which criteria the equity multiplier would be applied to.
Below are the changes to the five goal areas. Existing criteria are in black and proposed changes and additions are in bold.
Clean Air/Sustainable Communities Criteria
- Reduces carbon dioxide emissions
- Reduces other transportation related emissions including the air pollutant particulate matter (PM2.5) [Equity Multiplier is applied]
- Limits environmental impacts on water quality, cultural resources and open space, wetlands, wildlife preservation, and protected habitats
- Increases tree canopy coverage and access to open space
Click here for the Clean Air/Sustainable Communities Criteria Table handout
Click here for the Clean Air/Sustainable Communities Presentation Slides
- Addresses rate and severity of crashes, with a focus on reducing crashes that result in injuries or fatalities [Equity Multiplier is applied]
- Improves truck-related safety issues
- Improves bicycle safety, with higher point values possible for Bicycle and Pedestrian projects [Equity Multiplier is applied]
- Improves pedestrian safety, with higher point values possible for Bicycle and Pedestrian projects [Equity Multiplier is applied]
- Improves safety for all users, including enhancing safety at railroad crossings, improving traffic signals, and implementing traffic-calming measures
- BONUS POINTS: Improves bicycle and pedestrian safety at multiple locations with high concentrations of crashes
Watch the Safety Criteria Presentation at the June 11, MPO Meeting
Click here for the Safety Criteria Table handout
- Serves a site targeted for new development, including newly added Opportunity Zones and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Priority Places, by providing
- new or improved transit access;
- new or improved bicycle access;
- new or improved pedestrian access; and
- improved road access.
- Supports development consistent with the compact growth strategies of regional land use plans by awarding more points to projects that serve areas with higher concentrations of existing residents and jobs
- Leverages other non-MPO resources, including awarding bonus points if there has been a pilot/demonstration project conducted or if the project proponent has done significant public outreach prior to seeking funding
- Promotes access to Affordable Housing Opportunities with points awarded based on the percent of housing units within the project area that are considered affordable
Click here for the Economic Vitality Table handout
Click here for the MetroCommon regional long-term land use plan
System Preservation and Modernization
- Incorporates resiliency elements [Equity Multiplier is applied]
- Implements recommendations as identified in Hazard Mitigation Plans, Municipal Vulnerability Plans, or climate adaptation plans
- Improves stormwater infrastructure
- Implements nature-based solutions such as rain gardens, tree trenches, vegetated medians, or naturalized stormwater basins
- Incorporates climate-resilient materials
- Addresses a range of future projections for sea level rise or flooding
- Protects freight network elements (applies to roadway projects only)
- PENALTY: The project is in a flood zone and the proponent does not specify how it will address future flooding
- Demonstrates regional coordination in resiliency planning
- Improves emergency response by improving connectivity to critical facilities such as police/fire stations, hospitals, emergency shelters, operations centers, schools, long-term care facilities, utilities, and other resilience-supporting facilities [Equity Multiplier is applied]
- Improves and modernizes existing transit assets, with points awarded for [Equity Multiplier is applied]
- Improving bus-supporting infrastructure (shelters, transit signal priority) in Complete Streets, Intersection Improvement, and Major Infrastructure projects
- Improving and modernizing transit vehicles, facilities, or other assets through replacement or rehabilitation in Major Infrastructure and Transit Modernization projects
- BONUS POINTS: Improves an operations-critical, safety-critical, or climate-sensitive asset as identified by a transit agency
- Improves existing roadway bridge(s) or culverts through rehabilitation or replacement
- BONUS POINTS: Modernizes designs and/or reduces or removes vehicle weight or height restrictions
- BONUS POINTS: Improves one or more National Highway System bridges or a bridge on a critical freight corridor
- Improves existing pavement condition
- BONUS POINTS: Improves pavement on critical freight corridors, MBTA key bus routes, or National Highway System roadways
- BONUS POINTS: Improves roadway substructure
- Improves existing sidewalks and paths with more points given to projects that improve higher percentages of sidewalk in the project area [Equity Multiplier is applied]
- Improves traffic signal equipment and guardrails, signage, pavement markings, lighting, or other structures
Watch the System Presentation and Modernization presentation at the June 25, MPO Meeting
Click here for the System Preservation and Modernization Criteria Table handout
Capacity Management and Mobility
- Enhances transit usability, with points awarded to projects that add dedicated bus lanes or transit signal priority, make bus stop or transit station improvements, and expand the transit system [Equity Multiplier is applied]
- BONUS POINTS: Adds bus lane or queue jump on MPO-identified priority bus corridor
- BONUS POINTS: Coordinates plan for maintenance of new transit infrastructure with transit provider
- Improves pedestrian network and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility, with more points awarded to projects that add sidewalks on corridors that are more useful for connecting residents with schools, shops, restaurants, parks, and transit stations system [Equity Multiplier is applied]
- BONUS POINTS: Extends or closes a gap in the pedestrian network
- BONUS POINTS: Creates a new pedestrian connection to transit
- BONUS POINTS: Exceeds ADA standards
- Improves bicycle network, with more points awarded to projects that add protected or separated bicycle facilities on corridors that are more useful for connecting residents with schools, shops, restaurants, parks, and transit stations [Equity Multiplier is applied]
- BONUS POINTS: Extendsor closes a gap in the bicycle network
- BONUS POINTS: Creates a new bicycle connection to transit
- BONUS POINTS: Adds bicycle parking or accommodations for bike share stations
- Improves truck movement, with projects awarded more points for addressing designated truck routes
- BONUS POINTS: Addresses an MPO-identified freight bottleneck
- BONUS POINTS: Makes accommodations for freight deliveries, such as dedicating curb space to loading zones
- Reduces person delay, with more points awarded to projects that reduce delay for corridors that move more people on transit and auto trips combined
- Increases reliability for Transit Modernization projects
- BONUS POINTS: Reduces delay on routes that are designated as currently unreliable
- PENALTY: Increases transit or auto delay
Watch the Capacity Management and Mobility presentation at the July 16 MPO Meeting
Click here for the Capacity Management and Mobility Criteria Table handout