The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization 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.
-Destination 2040 Vision
Climate change, resiliency, and equity are a few topics that members of the public consistently express concern about during the Boston Region MPO’s outreach events. No less important to the public are topics such as the effects of emerging technologies (for example, ridehailing companies and autonomous vehicles) and the need to maintain existing transportation infrastructure, particularly the region’s transit system.
Guided by these concerns and the MPO’s vision, the MPO board must now decide on the mix of projects and programs that will be included in Destination 2040. The Universe of Projects (HTML) lists all active and conceptual highway and transit projects eligible for inclusion in Destination 2040. Eligible projects are those that cost more than $20 million and/or add capacity to the transportation system. The Universe of Programs (HTML) lists investment programs that can provide a framework for allocating the MPO’s discretionary dollars throughout the life of the LRTP to achieve specific goals, such as promoting transportation equity or climate resiliency. The investment programs provide a source of funding for municipalities and project proponents that seek to advance projects that align with the MPO’s goals. As Destination 2040 develops, the MPO board may decide to maintain, modify, or eliminate one or more of its existing investment programs, or add new ones.
Existing and Proposed Investment Programs to Consider for Destination 2040
- Transit Modernization (Proposed)
- Major Infrastructure
- Intersection Improvements
- Complete Streets
- Bicycle Network and Pedestrian Connections
- Community Transportation/Parking/Clean Air and Mobility
Proposed Project Types to Consider for Destination 2040
- Interchange Modernization (as part of the Major Infrastructure program)
- Bus Mobility (dedicated bus lanes and infrastructure, as part of the Complete Streets program)
- Climate Resiliency (incorporated into design of projects and evaluated as part of MPO’s project selection)
- Enhanced Park and Ride (incorporated into Community Transportation/Parking/Clean Air and Mobility)
- Connect Elderly Adults with Transportation (incorporated into Community Transportation/Parking/Clean Air and Mobility)
When the MPO board agrees on a program framework, the next step will be to decide which specific transportation construction projects will best achieve its goals for the region. When the current plan, Charting Progress to 2040, was in creation, the MPO board decided that it could best achieve its goals by setting aside at least one half of its discretionary funding for smaller-scale, lower-cost projects that improve mobility and safety for all roadway users, including bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit riders. Destination 2040 offers the MPO an opportunity to reprioritize its investments in these smaller-scale, lower-cost improvements. The MPO board will consider different investment scenarios for how the MPO’s discretionary federal funding could be allocated, choosing from the wide range of highway and transit projects in the Universe of Projects and Programs.
All projects that cost more than $20 million and/or add capacity to the transportation network must be listed in the LRTP before they can be funded through the MPO’s rolling five-year capital investment plan, the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The Universe of Projects includes all active and conceptual highway projects overseen by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation that meet these criteria, as well as transit projects identified as the MBTA’s “Next Priorities through 2040” and “Big Ideas” in the draft Focus 40 plan.
The MPO board will decide which of these projects should be programmed in Destination 2040 and address highway projects that were programmed in Charting Progress to 2040 but have not yet been included in the TIP or completed with other funds.
To help the MPO board make these decisions, project proponents are invited to present to the board. In December, proponents of the four projects that were included in Charting Progress to 2040 but have not yet been programmed in the TIP were invited to provide progress updates to the MPO board:
Routes 4/225 (Bedford Street) and Hartwell Avenue in Lexington
See remarks from Melisa Tintocalis (Director of Economic Development, Town of Lexington) in the meeting minutes for December 20, 2018.
Bridge Replacement, Route 27 (North Main Street) over Route 9 (Worcester Street) and Interchange Improvements in Natick
See remarks from Jamie Errickson (Director of Community and Economic Development, Town of Natick) in the meeting minutes for December 20, 2018.
Intersection Improvements at Route 126, Route 135, and MBTA and CSX Railroad in Framingham
See remarks from Arthur Robert (Director of Community and Economic Development, City of Framingham) in the meeting minutes for December 20, 2018. The City of Framingham also provided a slide presentation and a written comment letter from Mayor Yvonne M. Spicer.
McGrath Boulevard in Somerville
See remarks from Brad Rawson (Director of Transportation and Infrastructure, City of Somerville) in the meeting minutes for December 20, 2018. Somerville also provided a slide presentation.
Also at the December 20, 2018, meeting, Michael Jaillet (Town Administrator, Town of Westwood) made remarks and submitted a written comment letter in support of the inclusion of Interchange Improvements at I-95/I-93/University Avenue/I-95 Widening in Canton project in the LRTP and TIP. This project is in the Universe of Projects but has not yet been programmed in any plan.
In February 2019, proponents of projects that were included in Charting Progress to 2040 and have been included in the TIP were invited to provide updates to the MPO board. Then, in April, proponents of projects that are in the Universe of Projects but not programmed in any plan will be invited to present to the MPO board.
The MPO staff is now accepting comments and releasing a survey on the LRTP Universe of Programs and Projects. Tell us what direction you think the MPO should take with its investment programs and whether the recommended programs and project types represent the best way for the MPO to achieve its vision. Use the survey to rank existing and proposed programs and project types in order of importance. Project proponents may also look to see if the LRTP Universe includes complete information about eligible projects. Tell us if there any projects missing for which you would like to advocate.