Draft Memorandum for the Record

Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization Unified Planning Work Program Committee Meeting Summary

March 7, 2019 Meeting

9:00 AM–9:50 AM, State Transportation Building, Conference Rooms 2 and 3,

10 Park Plaza, Boston, MA

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


Materials for this meeting included the following:

1.    Draft FFY 2020 Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) Universe of Proposed Studies

Meeting Agenda and Summary of Discussion

1.    Introductions

Bryan Pounds (MassDOT/UPWP Committee Chair) opened the meeting and members introduced themselves.

2.    Public Comments

There were none.

3.    Continued Discussion of the Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2020 UPWP Universe of Potential Studies— Sandy Johnston, UPWP Manager

Sandy Johnston (UPWP Manager) noted that this discussion is a carryover from the previous UPWP Committee meeting. As such, he walked the Committee through the Universe of Potential Studies concept by concept, starting with study concept T-1. Committee members would have the opportunity to ask questions after each category of studies.

Annette Demchur (Director of Planning and Policy) explained study concept T-1, Using US Census Data as a Proxy for Transit Rider Survey Data, and S. Johnston explained the rest of the studies in the Transit section. B. Pounds responded that T-2, Transit Mitigation Methodology for new Development Sites, was a good idea, but he’s not sure the available staff resources can do it justice. He also liked the idea of T-3, Operating a Successful Shuttle Program, but remarked that that program needs to be careful not to overlap with other programs operated by CTPS and MassDOT. A. Demchur explained that T-3 would be more of a training module and less about the development of a new program. B. Pounds appreciated the clarification. There was some further discussion. Steve Olanoff (Town of Westwood/TRIC Subregion Alternate) remarked that many shuttle programs had been unsuccessful in the past, so training on what works is needed. B. Pounds asked about the development status of the MPO’s Community Transportation Program in relation to study concept T-4, Further Development of the MPO's Community Transportation Program. S. Johnston explained that he had written a draft application for the program and it is in the review process.

S. Johnston noted that he had added a column to the Universe with very rough low/medium/high cost estimates for the study concepts. He invited Betsy Harvey (Transportation Equity Program Manager) to explain study concept E-1, Disparate Impact Metrics Analysis. She explained that the study concept grew out of the MPO’s Disparate Impact/Disproportionate Benefit (DI/DB) process conducted in FFY 2018. B. Pounds expressed his interest in the project. S. Olanoff asked if it would cover both roadway and transit; B. Harvey responded affirmatively.

S. Johnston explained that the Resilience category is also new, as staff had heard significant interest in the topic this year. Study R-1 is more general, while R-2 is a question specifically posed by the Town of Essex. B. Pounds explained that resilience was a topic of considerable interest in the recent Boston Region MPO federal certification process (as well as at other MPOs). S. Olanoff asked if proposed resilience studies would cover both roadway and transit corridors. Mark Abbott (Traffic Analysis & Design Group Manager) explained that they would try to target multimodal corridors with R-1, as it would benefit MPO staff to gain experience with different kinds of hazards and resilience.

S. Johnston moved on to the Other category, explaining that staff propose expanding study concept O-1, Staff-Generated Research, to include small technical assistance projects generated by staff from personal observations and observations within their communities. Concept O-2, How the MPO Can Implement the Recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Transportation, would examine how the MPO could adopt the recommendations of that commission into its work processes, while O-3 would analyze ways to enhance public participation in UPWP studies. There was some discussion on whether study O-1, Staff-Generated Research, had been considered a recurring study in the past and whether it should be considered for ranking. Another possibility to consider is whether it should be automatically included in the future list of discrete studies. S. Olanoff asked for a report on previous work conducted under the budget line. There was some discussion on when the last report about work on this budget line had been, and when the next report to the MPO would be. MPO Staff committed to report back to the MPO on FFY 2019 work. Daniel Amstutz (Town of Arlington) asked what the process for selecting projects is; A. Demchur responded that Karl Quackenbush (MPO Executive Director) would select from projects proposed by staff, but that the budget line had never included the technical assistance element before. Mark Abbott (Traffic Analysis & Design Group Manager) explained the difference between small technical assistance projects generated by staff observations, which would be covered under this program, and the technical assistance programs the MPO already maintains. Some discussion of the possibilities and the merits of including the O-1 budget line as a recurring study ensued. The Committee reached a consensus on including the technical assistance element, and considering the budget line recurring, and thus not including it in the ranking survey. Hiral Gandhi (CTPS Finance & Operations Manager) noted that only a few hundred dollars had been spent on the O-1 budget line in FFY 2018, so there were seemingly no projects during that year.

B. Pounds expressed his support for concept O-2. S. Olanoff said he thought the report was not that specific and asked what the work would entail, given other ongoing planning work; S. Johnston discussed the study concept in more detail. B. Pounds discussed the relationship of the Commission’s report (on the Future of Transportation) to scenario planning and the need to look well into the future and conduct long-range planning. David Koses (City of Newton) expressed his strong support for study T-3, highlighting that it is an important need for Newton.

B. Pounds recapped the discussion, noting that studies M-2, M-3, M-4, and O-1 will be included in the FFY 2020 UPWP as recurring studies. S. Johnston would send out a survey asking Committee members to rank their preferences. There was some discussion on how to do the ranking. It was decided to ask members to rank all of the study concepts with the understanding that only eight to ten studies could be funded in total, including recurring studies. S. Olanoff asked about studies M-8 and R-2, which were targeted at individual communities, noting that the Committee has typically not favored such studies in the past. He suggested creating a broader “type” of study such as a “regional center mobility study” or a “resilient corridors study” and using particular communities as case studies. A. Demchur remarked that she liked that idea and that staff would consider doing it for both municipal general mobility and resilience studies going forward. D. Koses said he couldn’t remember an instance of a UPWP study being done specifically for one community; neither could staff any time recently. S. Johnston explained that the Framingham study concept is a composite of ideas heard in outreach, and that the Town of Essex sent a letter specifically asking for the project and reached out at meetings. D. Koses wondered why staff do outreach if the Committee will not vote for studies that meet specific needs. Len Diggins (MBTA Rider Oversight Committee) asked what the upcoming opportunities for public input would be. B. Pounds explained the ranking process, which offers opportunity for comment at the next UPWP Committee meeting as well as future MPO meetings. S. Johnston added more detail and noted he would also be presenting the Universe at the Regional Transportation Advisory Council meeting on March 14, 2019.

4.    Members Items

There were none.

5.    Next Meeting

Members agreed to put agenda item four, Update on the UPWP Study Recommendations Tracking Database, off until a future meeting due to the lack of time. The next meeting will be held on March 28, 2019, after the MPO meeting, to allow for plenty of time for discussion of the final list of studies to be funded.

6.    Adjourn

A motion to adjourn was made by an MPO Member and seconded by another Member. The motion carried unanimously.





and Alternates

City of Boston (BPDA)

Tom Kadzis

Inner Core Committee (City of Somerville)

Tom Bent

Massachusetts Department of Transportation

Bryan Pounds

Town of Arlington

Daniel Amstutz

City of Newton

David Koses

Regional Transportation Advisory Council

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

Tom O’Rourke

Three Rivers Interlocal Council Alternate (Town of Westwood)

Steve Olanoff


MPO Staff/Central Transportation Planning Staff


Annette Demchur, Director of Policy and Planning


Ali Kleyman, Certification Activities Group Manager


Mark Abbott, Traffic Analysis and Design Group Manager


Hiral Gandhi, Finance and Operations Manager


Betsy Harvey, Transportation Equity Program Manager


Sandy Johnston, UPWP Manager




Lenard Diggins, MBTA Rider Oversight Committee