DATE:    July 10, 2018

TO:         Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Disparate Impact and Disproportionate Burden Policy Working Group

FROM:    Betsy Harvey, Transportation Equity Program Manager

RE:         Summary of Disparate Impact and Disproportionate Burden Public Workshop


This memo summarizes the public workshop held by the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) Disparate Impact and Disproportionate Burden (DI/DB) Policy working group.


Date:              June 26, 2018

Location:      Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building, 2300 Washington Street, Roxbury, MA 02119

Time:             5:30 PM–7:30 PM


The following stakeholders were in attendance:



The following MPO staff members were in attendance:



The following members of the public and representatives from other agencies/organizations were in attendance:


1          Open House

From 5:30 PM to 6:20 PM attendees were invited to talk to MPO staff about the MPO and MPO’s effort to develop a DI/DB policy. Attendees could visit five stations to learn about key components of the MPO related to transportation equity: the stations provided a general overview of the MPO and information about the Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), the Transportation Equity Program, and the DI/DB policy.

2          Discussion Groups

At 6:20 PM attendees were divided into three groups. B. Harvey asked each group to discuss transportation challenges and impacts that they see in the region and in their communities. She explained that MPO staff would consider their input when determining which impacts to assess for disparate impacts and disproportionate burdens when developing the LRTP. For each group, an MPO staff member recorded stakeholder feedback on a flipchart. After 30 minutes, a stakeholder from each group reported the challenges and impacts identified by their group.


All of the issues identified by attendees at the public workshop, as well as those from the second stakeholder meeting held on June 5, 2018, are included at the end of this memo in Table 1. The following themes were discussed:



B. Harvey concluded by thanking everyone for their attendance and notifying them about the time and date of the final stakeholder meeting on July 17, 2018. The event concluded at 7:30 PM.

3          Summary of Transportation Impacts and Challenges

At the June 5 stakeholder meeting and the June 26 public workshop, attendees provided input to MPO staff about transportation challenges and impacts that currently affect residents in the Boston region or that are expected to affect them in the future. The summary memo for the June 5 meeting included a table listing the issues raised at that meeting, organized by topic area. Subsequent to the public workshop, MPO staff distilled the input from both events into impacts that could potentially be used to evaluate the equity of the LRTP. Table 1, below, contains those impacts, organized into three groups:


  1. Impacts that could be measured in the short-term (in the next three years)
  2. Impacts that would require more research by MPO staff and that could be measured in the long-term (in the next three to five years)
  3. Impacts that are not applicable as they likely could not be measured because of data or methodological constraints, or because they are beyond the scope of what the MPO has meaningful influence over


Inclusion in the first two groups does not guarantee that an impact will be assessed for disparate impacts or that the MPO staff will pursue further research on a given impact. Other factors also affect these decisions, including the MPO’s priorities and budget constraints. However, MPO staff will strongly consider this input when making recommendations to the MPO about the development of the DI/DB policy.


Table 1
Transportation Impacts Identified at the Second Working Group Meeting and the Public Workshop

Impacts that could be assessed in the short-term (0-3 years)

Impacts that could be assessed in the long-term (3-5 years)

Impacts that are not applicable


Access to all jobs1

Access to active transportation options1,2

Disconnection between projects and what the public wants1

Access to commuter rail stations1

Availability of structured bicycle parking2

Enforcement of traffic rules2

Access to healthcare facilities1

Availability of transportation options1

Excessive parking requirements2

Access to public transit service at off-peak hours1,2

Access to public transit in the suburbs2


Access to recreational space1,2

Access to transportation for people with disabilities1,2

Greenway maintenance2

Access to retail jobs1

Bicycle and pedestrian safety1

Impact of the “Big Dig” on willingness to undertake large transportation projects1

Carbon monoxide emissions1

BRT effects on travel time2

Impact of the transportation system on all aspects of life1

Commuter rail use1

Climate change impacts and resiliency1

Impacts of new technology2


Cost of bikeshare memberships relative to household income1

Lack of proactive transportation planning1

Mode share1,2

Cost of transportation as a function of household income1,2

Lack of revenue generation1,2

Particulate matter emissions1

Density increases near transportation investments1

Lack of support for transportation in the Massachusetts legislature1

Time spent transferring1,2

Frequency of public transit service1,2

Legible and people-focused wayfinding1

Access to jobs by public transit2

Health effects after displacement1


Transportation network connectivity1,2

Major roads dividing neighborhoods2

Ownership of different vehicle types1

Travel time to work2

Impact of transportation on real estate prices1

Partnerships between transportation agencies and private companies2


Improvements to transit1

Political will1


Increase in TOD density near transportation investments1

Regulation of ridesharing and TNCs1,2


Maintenance funding2

Reliability of public transit in inclement weather1


New housing near public transit investments1

Transit timing1,2


North-south connections2

Uneven distribution of advocacy between wealthier and poorer communities1


Other air quality impacts2

Use of zero-emissions vehicles1


Parking availability1



Reliability of public transit and paratransit1,2



Reverse commute options1






TNCs impact on transit2



Transportation access and options available to the elderly1



Transportation connections between communities2



Transportation costs after displacement1



Transportation network connectivity1


1 Impacts identified by stakeholders  

2 Impacts identified by members of the public


BRT = bus rapid transit; TNC = transportation network company; TOD = transit-oriented development.