Memorandum for the Record

Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization Meeting

May 3, 2018 Meeting

10:00 AM–11:30 AM, Woburn Country Club, 5 Country Club Rd, Woburn, MA

Steve Woelfel, Chair, representing Stephanie Pollack, Secretary, and Chief Executive Officer, Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT)


The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) agreed to the following:

Meeting Agenda

1.    Introductions

See attendance on page 10.

2.    Welcoming Remarks by the Host Municipality: City of Woburn—Mayor Scott D. Galvin

Mayor Galvin thanked the MPO board for its support of economic development in the region. Mayor Galvin also thanked Woburn’s MPO representative, Tina Cassidy, for her work.

3.    Public Comments  

Jon Benson (Selectman, Town of Acton) provided an update on the progress of project #608229, Intersection Improvements at Massachusetts Avenue (Route 111) and Main Street (Route 27) (Kelley's Corner) in Acton. This project is currently programmed in the FFY 2022 element of the FFYs 2018-22 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). J. Benson reported that in 2016, Acton approved $756,000 for engineering. The town has spent $389,318 to date. J. Benson reported that more money is needed to complete design. At the town meeting in April 2018, the town failed to approve an additional $469,000 by two votes. J. Benson stated that the Board of Selectmen enthusiastically supports this project and is committed to completing the design in time to advertise in FFY 2022. J. Benson added that the Board of Selectmen will be submitting a comment letter to the MPO before the public review period for the TIP ends on May 18, 2018.

E. Bourassa asked what the board’s plan is to secure these funds. J. Benson replied that a meeting is planned for December at which the town could again take up the request for further funding.

4.    Chair’s Report—Steve Woelfel, MassDOT

There was none.

5.    Committee Chairs’ Reports

There were none.

6.    Regional Transportation Advisory Council Report—Tegin Teich, Chair, Regional Transportation Advisory Council

T. Teich reported that the Advisory Council would meet on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, to discuss comment letters regarding the UPWP and the TIP. T. Teich thanked MPO staff for their work to address feedback related to the development of the TIP and UPWP.

7.    Executive Director’s Report—Karl Quackenbush, Executive Director, Central Transportation Planning Staff

K. Quackenbush stated that the Administration and Finance Committee would hold its annual meeting to review the operating budget for MPO staff on Thursday, June 7, 2018, prior to the MPO meeting. K. Quackenbush also announced that following the departure of Lourenço Dantas as manager of the Certification Activities group on May 11, 2018, Ali Kleyman, TIP Manager, will be taking over as manager of the group.

8.    Approval of March 1, 2018, Meeting Minutes—Róisín Foley, MPO Staff

A motion to approve the minutes of the meeting of March 1, 2018, was made by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (Eric Bourassa) and seconded by the North Suburban Planning Council (City of Woburn) (Tina Cassidy). The motion carried.

9.    Work Program for South Coast Rail Buzzards Bay Commuter Rail Pilot Study—Scott Peterson, MPO Staff

MPO staff will build on previous work conducted to support MassDOT in its effort to plan for the future of commuter rail service to Buzzards Bay. MPO staff will provide data, analysis, and modeling support to the project team, including MassDOT and its consultants and partners. The project team is interested in understanding the market demand for rail service between Boston, Buzzards Bay communities, and New Bedford and Fall River, so MPO staff will model possibilities for interim service utilizing the Middleborough commuter rail line. The goal of this project is to analyze the extension of commuter rail service to Buzzards Bay. MPO staff will focus on ridership, mode of access, and traffic and auto use. MPO staff will examine the proposed alternatives and perform an analysis of how they may affect the South Coast Rail Phase 1 project. The budget for this project is $48,000.


E. Bourassa asked S. Peterson and Jean Fox, MassDOT’s South Coast Rail Project Manager, to clarify that the corridor being modeled for possible interim service to Buzzards Bay is the same corridor currently utilized for Cape Flyer service in the summer months. J. Fox replied that the service being modeled by MPO staff in this work program is shuttle commuter service to Buzzards Bay utilizing the Cape Flyer corridor. This service could be offered in the interim using existing rail and freight corridors while MassDOT’s preferred alternative for South Coast Rail, via Stoughton, is constructed.


A motion to approve the work program for the South Coast Rail Buzzards Bay Commuter Rail Pilot Study was made by the MBTA Advisory Board (Paul Regan) and seconded by the MassDOT Highway Division (John Romano). The motion carried.

10.Work Program for Allston Transit Access Study—Annette Demchur, MPO Staff

The Allston neighborhood in the City of Boston is growing in both residential population and in number of employment opportunities. The neighborhood has recently benefited from the opening of Boston Landing Station, as well as adjustments to bus schedules resulting from the MBTA Service Planning staff’s on-going review of MBTA bus routes. However, until now, a full review of existing conditions and possible deficits in the transit service has not been conducted. Given the expectation of continued growth and advocacy from residents, the MassDOT has requested a review of the existing public transit services in Allston.

MPO staff will document and review existing transit service in Allston and consider options available to address any identified deficiencies in the transit service in Allston. Staff will consider service change options—such as new or revised bus routes, service frequency adjustments to better meet demand, new or relocated bus stop locations, and transit signal or priority bus lane improvements. Staff will also examine the potential for improvements that would enhance the connectivity of the sidewalk network. The budget for this program is $52,000. A. Demchur noted that this study reviews existing conditions only; it does not look at any future possibilities for demand.


Jim Fitzgerald (City of Boston) (Boston Transportation Department) asked that MPO staff consider adding MBTA bus Routes 47 and CT3 to the list of bus routes to be reviewed in the study.

E. Bourassa noted that the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) is in conversation with the City of Boston and MassDOT about doing a study of possible future land uses and transit demand in Allston. A. Demchur added that this work program could serve as a useful baseline for that work.

T. Teich asked whether there is a counterpoint to this work that does look at long-term possibilities, particularly as part of the state’s environmental permitting process for West Station in Allston. S. Woelfel replied that this topic would have to be addressed at a later meeting.


A motion to approve the work program for the Allston Transit Access Study was made by the MBTA Advisory Board (P. Regan) and seconded by the Regional Transportation Advisory Council (T. Teich). The motion carried.

11.Draft Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2018 UPWP Amendment 1—Bryan Pounds, MassDOT, UPWP Committee Chair

Documents posted to the MPO meeting calendar

1.    Memorandum: Proposed Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2018 UPWP Amendment 1

When developing the FFY 2018 UPWP, staff expected the quadrennial federal certification review to occur in late fall 2019. Funding for this review was not included as a program element in the current UPWP. MPO staff recently received notice from the MPO’s federal partners that the review process would begin in July 2018. Amendment 1 would remove funds from the discrete study, Potential Impacts of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, and reassign those funds to the line items for Federal Certification Review and Support to the MPO and its Committees.


A motion to release Amendment 1 to the FFY 2018 UPWP for a 30-day public review period was made by the MBTA Advisory Board (P. Regan) and seconded by the Regional Transportation Advisory Council (T. Teich). The motion carried.

12.Draft FFY 2019 UPWP—Bryan Pounds, MassDOT, UPWP Committee Chair, and Sandy Johnston, MPO Staff

Documents posted to the MPO meeting calendar

1.    Draft FFY 2019 UPWP

The UPWP document describes the work that the MPO and MAPC staffs expect to conduct on behalf of the MPO in FFY 2019, as well as agency work completed under contract from MassDOT, the MBTA, and other outside agencies, and technical assistance to municipalities in the region. The work in the UPWP includes federal certification documents such as the TIP, UPWP, and Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), ongoing and recurring studies, and one-time discrete studies. MPO staff conducts annual outreach to stakeholders and the public to solicit ideas for discrete studies. The discrete studies are broken into the following categories: active transportation; land use, environment, and economy; multi-modal mobility; transit; safety and security; and other technical work. The MPO’s UPWP Committee compiles a “universe” of possible discrete studies, ranks them, and produces a recommended list of studies for funding. The six new discrete studies included the draft FFY 2019 UPWP are listed below.

FFY 2019 New Discrete Study


Pedestrian Report Card Assessment Dashboard

Reverse Commute Areas Analysis

Transportation Access Studies of Commercial Business Districts

New and Emerging Metrics for Roadway Usage

The Future of the Curb

Updates to Express Highway Volumes Charts








The total programmed funding in the draft FFY 2019 UPWP is $7,995,134. B. Pounds noted that MassDOT has not yet received the full planned apportionment of Section 5303 funds from the Federal Transit Administration, so the numbers in the draft document may change slightly before the UPWP is endorsed at the MPO’s meeting on June 21, 2018.


Laura Gilmore (Massachusetts Port Authority) expressed support for the discrete study The Future of the Curb, and she expressed hope that the eventual work program for this study will address the role of freight and e-commerce. S. Johnston replied that this idea has been the subject of internal conversation and these topics will likely be addressed in the scope.

Jennifer Raitt (At-Large Town) (Town of Arlington) asked whether the $90,000 included in the UPWP for the update to MetroFuture, MAPC’s current long-range plan for land use, housing, economic development, and environmental preservation in the Boston region, is sufficient. E. Bourassa replied that this amount represents only a portion of the funding for this project.

Nelson Hoffman (Federal Highway Administration) thanked the MPO staff for accommodating the change in schedule for the federal certification review.


A motion to release the draft FFY 2019 UPWP for a 30-day public review period was made by the MBTA Advisory Board (P. Regan) and seconded by the Regional Transportation Advisory Council (T. Teich). The motion carried.

13.State Fiscal Year 2018 Transit Asset Management Targets for the Boston Region—Michelle Scott, MPO Staff, and Satyen Patel, MBTA

Documents posted to the MPO meeting calendar

1.    Technical Memorandum: Proposed SFY 2018 Transit Asset Management Targets for the Boston Region

2.    Summary Table: Proposed SFY 2018 Transit Asset Management Targets for the Boston Region

3.    Transit Asset Management Activities and Time Lines

This presentation follows a discussion the MPO board had in December 2017, which introduced SFY 2018 TAM targets. TAM refers to a business model that prioritizes funding based on the condition of transit assets, in order to achieve or maintain transit networks in a state of good repair (SGR). TAM implementation begins with data collection and initial target setting. At this meeting, MPO staff requested the MPO board’s approval of the SFY 2018 TAM targets for the Boston region.

The TAM targets are part of a larger effort to address performance measure requirements, as outlined in a series of federal rules. In February 2018, the MPO established targets for federally required highway safety measures for calendar year 2018. Following the adoption of TAM targets, the MPO will next discuss Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) traffic congestion measures and other highway measures.

The federal TAM rule defines SGR, requires grantees that receive funds from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to develop a TAM plan, establishes TAM performance measures, establishes requirements that transit agencies will follow when reporting annually to the National Transit Database (NTD), and requires FTA to provide both technical assistance and funding to support implementation. [1]

The federally required TAM measures cover a subset of transit system assets and focus on specific condition metrics for asset types. Asset categories and measures are listed below.

Asset Category


Measure Type


[vehicles only]

Percentage of vehicles that have met or exceeded their Useful Life Benchmark


Rolling Stock

Percentage of revenue vehicles that have met or exceeded their Useful Life Benchmark



Percentage of assets with condition rating below 3.0 on FTA’s Transit Economic Requirements Model (TERM) scale


Infrastructure [Fixed Guideway]

Percentage of track segments with performance [speed] restrictions, by mode


Transit agencies—and state agencies acting as sponsors of group TAM plans—are required to develop targets for the above measures. Transit agencies must coordinate with MPOs and states to the maximum extent practicable when setting these targets. MPOs set targets to account for transit SGR and TAM investments at the regional level. The MBTA, Cape Ann Transportation Authority (CATA), and MetroWest Regional Transit Authority (MWRTA) submitted agency-level targets for SFY 2018 (July 2017 through June 2018) to MPO staff. Their targets reflect the agencies’ most recent data available on the inventory of asset types; number, age, and condition of assets; and expectations and capital investment plans for improving these assets during SFY 2018. MPO staff has used these transit agency targets as the basis for proposed initial regional TAM targets for the Boston region. At this time, MPO staff proposes adopting separate TAM targets for the MBTA, CATA, and MWRTA. The proposed targets listed in Tables 4 through 7 of the TAM memo follow those targets set by the MBTA, CATA, and MWRTA.

This first target-setting and monitoring year will give the MPO, MassDOT, and transit agencies the opportunity to learn, explore, and further define and refine coordination processes. The MPO staff will continue collaborating with its planning partners to examine other factors and methods related to target setting, including other approaches for aggregating or disaggregating targets. MPO staff also expects to glean information and lessons learned from MassDOT and transit agencies’ experiences in developing TAM plans. Information from these experiences can be applied when the MPO revisits its TAM targets when updating the TIP or LRTP.


P. Regan asked how this effort dovetails with the asset management program the MBTA has been pursuing since the early 2000s. S. Patel replied that much of what the MBTA already does is complementary to these new requirements. FTA has asked the MBTA to provide input about how to help implement TAM measures nationwide. The federal rules have spurred the MBTA to update its SGR database and verify existing datasets, which will allow the MBTA to better allocate funding to specific capital investment programs. This effort is planned for completion by October 2019, when a program will be underway to validate all existing assets across the MBTA in alignment with the next round of NTD reporting. The MBTA will be reporting on the condition of all its vehicles (revenue and non-revenue, all modes), and approximately 50-60% of its infrastructure systemwide to the NTD in October 2018. In order to align with global best practices, the MBTA’s plan is to move beyond the minimum federal requirements and encompass all asset types employed at the MBTA.


A motion to approve SFY 2018 TAM performance targets for the Boston region was made by the MBTA Advisory Board (P. Regan) and seconded by the Regional Transportation Advisory Council (T. Teich). The motion carried.

14.Members Items

E. Bourassa noted that MAPC is holding a kickoff event for its plan for the Landline network of regional trails. The Landline Vision Plan celebration and trail ride will take place on May 16, 2018, at 10:00 AM in Malden.

S. Woelfel stated that the public meeting dates for the Draft MassDOT and MBTA Capital Investment Plan (CIP) Update for fiscal years 2019–23 are available. There will be four meetings in the Boston region this month:  May 15 at 6:30 PM in Boston; May 21 at 6:30 PM in Framingham; May 21 at 6:30 PM in Quincy; and May 23 at 6:30 PM in Peabody.


A motion to adjourn was made by the MAPC (E. Bourassa) and seconded by the MassDOT Highway Division (J. Romano). The motion carried.




and Alternates

At-Large City (City of Everett)

Jay Monty

At-Large City (City of Newton)

David Koses

At-Large Town (Town of Arlington)

Jennifer Raitt

At-Large Town (Town of Lexington)

Dave Kucharsky

City of Boston (Boston Planning and Development Agency)

Jim Fitzgerald

City of Boston (Boston Transportation Department)

Tom Kadzis

Federal Highway Administration

Nelson Hoffman

Federal Transit Administration


Inner Core Committee (City of Somerville)

Tom Bent

Massachusetts Department of Transportation

Steve Woelfel

Bryan Pounds

MassDOT Highway Division

Marie Rose

John Romano

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

Eric Waaramaa

Massachusetts Port Authority

Laura Gilmore

MBTA Advisory Board

Paul Regan

Metropolitan Area Planning Council

Eric Bourassa

MetroWest Regional Collaborative (City of Framingham)

Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination (Town of Bedford)

Richard Reed

North Shore Task Force (City of Beverly)

North Suburban Planning Council (City of Woburn)

Tina Cassidy

Regional Transportation Advisory Council

Tegin Teich

South Shore Coalition (Town of Braintree)

South West Advisory Planning Committee (Town of Medway)

Three Rivers Interlocal Council (Town of Norwood/Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce)

Tom O’Rourke



Other Attendees


Mayor Scott D. Galvin

Steve Olanoff

Jon Benson

Joy Glynn

Emily Van Dewoestine

Satyen Patel

Jean Fox

Felicia Webb

Paul Talbot

Constance Raphael

Melisa Tintocalis

City of Woburn

Three Rivers Interlocal Council Alternate

Town of Acton








Town of Lexington


MPO Staff/Central Transportation Planning Staff

Karl Quackenbush, Executive Director

Lourenço Dantas

Annette Demchur

Róisín Foley

Betsy Harvey

Sandy Johnston

Ali Kleyman

Anne McGahan

Scott Peterson

Jen Rowe

Michelle Scott



[1] The “Accountable Executive,” defined in 49 CFR 625 and 630 (final ruling) as the general manager or CEO of the transit agency, is accountable for providing all resources to execute the TAM Plan.


As defined in 49 CFR 625 and 630, “…An Accountable Executive means a single, identifiable person who has ultimate responsibility for carrying out the safety management system of a public transportation agency; responsibility for carrying out transit asset management practices; and control or direction over the human and capital resource needed to develop and maintain both the agency’s public transportation agency safety plan, in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 5329(d), and the agency’s transit asset management plan in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 5326…”


“…There must be one primary decision-maker who is ultimately responsible for both transit asset management and safety……as a management system, transit asset management requires that accountability reside with an operator’s top executive…”


The Accountable Executive’s duties, as classified by the FTA within this final ruling, are unlike the Safety Management System final rule and cannot be delegated to another within the agency unless their duties and responsibilities mirror that of the definition of the Accountable Executive in the final ruling.