Core Capacity Constraints

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Posted 6/17

This study examines the capacity of road and transit facilities in the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) core area. The study relates these capacities to current and projected levels of traffic and ridership, and determines the location and severity of congestion and crowding in the core area.

Travel demand is projected to increase significantly by 2040 in response to regional demographic growth and expanded economic activity in the core area. In this report, MPO staff discuss the historical and projected demographic trends that inform travel-demand projections; identify specific major developments that will contribute to this growth; and present historical trends of traffic and transit ridership.

The study relates projected 2040 travel demand to the system capacity expected to be available at that time. Where sufficient data is available, the study quantifies impacts attributable to a set of specific large developments. For some transportation modes and services, adding new capacity is straightforward and for others it is problematic. In this report, we discuss the opportunities and challenges of adding capacity for each transportation subsystem.

In Massachusetts, a major development or business expansion often requires some actions on the part of the developer or business to mitigate, in part, the impacts on the transportation system that are attributable to the project. Chapter 6 includes a review of the large variety of such mitigation programs that have been implemented in the core area. We give special attention to mitigation involving new transit investment or operating subsidies. The chapter concludes with a discussion of expanded mitigation programs that are used in other states, but which would require legislation to be implemented in Massachusetts.

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