MPO Meeting Minutes

Memorandum for the Record

Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization Meeting

September 3, 2020, Meeting

10:00 AM–12:17 PM, Virtual Meeting

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 pages 15-16.

2.  Chair’s Report—Steve Woelfel, MassDOT

There was none.

3.  Executive Director’s Report—Tegin Teich, Executive Director, Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS)

Documents posted to the MPO Calendar

1.    Public Comment Letters

2.    Melnea Cass Boulevard Design Project

T. Teich stated that all MPO board members were contacted for their input on the CTPS Strategic Plan. T. Teich stated that the fourth meeting of the Disparate Impact/Disproportionate Burden (DI/DB) Stakeholder Group was held on Tuesday, August 25, 2020, to obtain stakeholder feedback on staff’s recommendations for changes to the MPO’s current draft DI/DB policy. This policy determines how MPO planning and project funding affects minority and low-income populations.

T. Teich added that MPO staff have received several public comments regarding the Reconstruction of Melnea Cass Boulevard and Belmont Community Path projects. Melnea Cass is funded in the federal fiscal year (FFY) 2019 element of the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). This project has been advertised and is no longer subject to MPO approval. The Belmont Community Path will be under consideration for MPO for funding in a future TIP.  

T. Teich stated that the MPO meeting on September 17, 2020, would feature discussions of several MPO-funded work programs, a vote on the endorsement of Amendment Three to the Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP), and the continued discussion of revisions to the TIP criteria prior to a vote at the October 1, 2020, meeting. MPO staff would also provide an update on performance related to the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program, including an update on 2021 targets for non-single-occupancy-vehicle travel in the Boston Urbanized Area. 


Bill Conroy (City of Boston) (Boston Transportation Department) provided a response to the public comments regarding the Melnea Cass Boulevard project. B. Conroy stated that residents have expressed great concern regarding the removal of trees on the corridor. B Conroy stated that the project will provide safety and mobility improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists. The goal of the project is to bring this regional corridor more in line with a neighborhood boulevard. B. Conroy stated that the City is reviewing a request to save more trees on this project and that the MassDOT project team is aware of these efforts and holding off on construction until the City can re-evaluate the list of trees marked for removal, recalculate the carbon impacts of removal, and consider greater protection of retained trees and new plantings. B. Conroy stated that the City is engaging independent oversight of the contractors and exploring opportunities to plant additional trees in the immediate project area. B. Conroy stated that at least 148 new trees are being planted as part of other projects in the greater Nubian Square area. B. Conroy added that this corridor has a long and controversial history, and public outreach concerning project design has been ongoing for ten years. B. Conroy stated that the Friends of Melnea Cass Boulevard have been involved at every stage of the project.

Eric Bourassa of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) commented that it is his understanding that the trees being removed are spread out along the corridor and not concentrated in one area, which will minimize the impacts to shade cover.

B. Conroy agreed, stating that that today there approximately 514 existing trees and when the project is complete there will be approximately 613. There are currently 26 dead trees in need of removal.

4.  Public Comments  

 There were none.

5.  Committee Chairs’ Reports

There were none.

6.  Regional Transportation Advisory Council Report—Lenard Diggins, Chair, Regional Transportation Advisory Council

L. Diggins stated that Anne McGahan, MPO staff, would present at the next Advisory Council meeting.

7.  Action Item: Approval of July 16, 2020, MPO Meeting Minutes—Barbara Rutman, MPO Staff

Documents posted to the MPO meeting calendar

1.    July 16, 2020 MPO, Meeting Minutes


A motion to approve the minutes of the meeting of July 16, 2020, was made by MAPC (E. Bourassa) and seconded by MBTA Advisory Board (Brian Kane). The North Shore Task Force (City of Beverly) (Denise Deschamps) abstained. The motion carried.

8.  Action Item: Major Infrastructure Program Scoring and Programming Policies—Anne McGahan, MPO Staff

Documents posted to the MPO Calendar

1.    Technical Memorandum: Policies for the Boston Region MPO’s Major Infrastructure Program

A. McGahan continued the MPO’s discussion of scoring and programming policies for the Major Infrastructure Program in the Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). At the MPO meeting on August 20, 2020, the MPO voted to adopt new definitions for the Major Infrastructure Program. Under the new definition, roadway projects are included in the Major Infrastructure Program if they are capital projects that improve facilities important to regional travel, (including Interstate Highways, Principal Arterial Freeways, Expressways, and all sections of roadways classified as Principal Arterial “Other” that have fully or partially controlled access) and/or projects that cost $50 million or more. Transit projects are included in the Major Infrastructure Program if they are capital projects that add new connections to or extend the rail or fixed guideway transit network and/or cost $50 million or more. Text relating to bus rapid transit was deleted from the transit definition because it was suggested that the MPO use the definition of the fixed guideway transit network from the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The FAST Act definition excludes bus service operating on high occupancy vehicle lanes or high occupancy toll lanes and corridor-based bus rapid transit projects without a separated right-of-way along the majority of the route.


Projects in the first five-year time band of the LRTP generally coincide with the five years of the TIP. These projects are further along in design and have more information available for scoring as part of the TIP development process. Projects that are programmed in the later time bands of the LRTP may not have a detailed design; these projects are scored based on available information about how they will advance the MPO’s goals. In almost all cases, once a project is listed in the later time bands of the LRTP, the project will automatically be programmed in the TIP when the design is ready. The project may be rescored as part of the TIP process, based on the detailed design information; but in most cases it is assumed that it will be programmed in the TIP regardless of its score. Given this background, MPO staff recommend the following two-step scoring process:

1.    All projects under consideration for programming in the LRTP continue to be evaluated based on how well they address the MPO goals.

2.    Using the LRTP scoring criteria, each project will be assigned an LRTP score regardless of its design status.

3.    Any Major Infrastructure projects that have advanced to approximately the 25 percent design phase will also get a TIP score based on the TIP criteria.

This process will provide a comparable set of scores for all LRTP projects and TIP scores for those that have advanced in their design. In addition, MPO staff recommend that the MPO adopt a formal policy of rescoring all Major Infrastructure projects when they are ready for programming in the TIP. Because a project’s cost may have increased since its inclusion in the LRTP, a second evaluation gives the MPO an opportunity to re-evaluate whether the project still advances the MPO’s goals. When the project is ready for programming in the TIP, project proponents would have had the opportunity to address concerns received during the public input process. It can also be assumed that from this point forward, the design would not be dramatically altered. Once TIP scoring has been completed, the project can be compared to other projects within the Major Infrastructure Program and other investment programs. The MPO can then review the funding goal policies adopted in the LRTP to ensure that the projects in the TIP are addressing the MPO’s goals.


For programming projects in the LRTP, staff recommends that the MPO adopt a policy for reviewing the status of all Major Infrastructure projects included in the previous LRTP during the development of a new LRTP to ensure that projects are moving forward in their design and approval process. If there is no progress in the design or approval process or no schedule for implementation is available, the MPO should consider replacing the project in the Universe of Projects for consideration in future LRTPs. As a result, Major Infrastructure Program funding will be available for projects that are currently being designed or those that require approvals from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration.


David Koses (At-Large City) (City of Newton) asked whether projects with investment programs listed as “to be determined” in Table Two of the posted memorandum would not automatically be considered as Major Infrastructure projects, despite the fact that they are on interstate highways. A. McGahan clarified that the memorandum was produced prior to the vote on the definition taken by the MPO on August 20, 2020. Under the new definition both the Bellingham and Randolph projects currently listed as “to be determined,” are now Major Infrastructure projects. As regards the Newton project, it will depend on whether the eventual design includes any part of the interstate or just concerns the local roads near Interchange 17. D. Koses stated that there should be some flexibility in the Major Infrastructure Program definition. A. McGahan replied that the MPO always has the option of including other projects as part of the program.

Marie Rose (MassDOT Highway Division) asked how bridge or highway maintenance projects would be programmed. A. McGahan clarified that the only projects the Major Infrastructure policies apply to are those being programmed with MPO Regional Target funds.

Daniel Amstutz (At-Large Town) (Town of Arlington) asked whether the proposed two-step scoring process means that MPO staff will be creating a new scoring system for LRTP projects. A. McGahan replied that the LRTP scoring process already exists, and it can be found in Appendix B of the LRTP document. D. Amstutz expressed support for reviewing the status of previously programmed LRTP projects to make sure they are advancing, but he noted that the new process raises the issue of the municipal investment required to get a project to the 25 percent design phase without the guarantee of eventually being programmed in the TIP.

Tom Bent (Inner Core Committee) (City of Somerville) relayed several comments and questions from City of Somerville staff and other staff from municipalities in the Inner Core Committee subregion regarding the proposed scoring policies. T. Bent stated that commenters support the two-step scoring process but would like more clarity on what it would mean to review the status of previously programmed Major Infrastructure projects. T. Bent stated that some felt this could penalize projects such as the McGrath Highway project, which is a municipal priority but a MassDOT design responsibility. A. McGahan stated that the McGrath Highway project is not at risk because there is progress on design and an ongoing public process. The provision for reviewing the status of projects applies to those projects whose proponents display no progress in terms of moving the designs forward.

T. Bent stated that commenters also asked for MPO staff to provide information on the potential impacts of the proposed definition of current Major Infrastructure projects. A. McGahan clarified that since the MPO voted to increase the cost threshold in the Major Infrastructure definition to $50 million, any Complete Streets projects costing less than $50 million are now only in the Complete Streets Program of the TIP. This removes the barrier of requiring these projects to be first programmed in the LRTP.

S. Woelfel stated that while MassDOT understands that the Major Infrastructure definition was voted on at the August 20, 2020, meeting, MassDOT feels that the definition should not include a cost threshold and that projects should only be programmed in the plan if they must be modeled for air quality impacts. S. Woelfel noted that the new definition would still require that a project be amended into the LRTP if it crossed the $50 million threshold.

Sheila Page (At-Large Town) (Town of Lexington) expressed support for the recommended scoring and programming policies. S. Page noted that the Mt. Auburn Street project in Watertown, the Western Avenue project in Lynn, and the Hartwell Avenue project in Lexington and Bedford are considered Complete Streets projects under the new definition and would not appear on the next LRTP. A. McGahan confirmed this was accurate. S. Page asked if these projects will have more flexibility if their designs are ready before their current time band, or if they will face more competition within the Complete Streets Program. A. McGahan stated that these projects will now go through the regular TIP process where projects are submitted, scored, evaluated, and then considered by the MPO. The MPO’s goal is set at 45 percent of funding for Complete Streets projects each year.

Ken Miller (FHWA) asked about the necessity of including Major Infrastructure projects (as defined by the vote at the last MPO meeting) in the LRTP, even when these projects may have no air quality effects. K. Miller noted that the federal regulations for what must be listed in an LRTP (which are based on a definition of regional significance for air quality and modeling purposes) do not directly correlate with the MPO’s practice of listing Major Infrastructure projects in the LRTP. A. McGahan clarified that while the MPO voted on the Major Infrastructure definition, it did not explicitly vote on whether to include projects that meet that definition in the LRTP because it has always been the policy of the MPO to include Major Infrastructure projects in the LRTP. A. McGahan stated that it is up to the MPO whether to continue this practice, as it is not required by federal regulations. She added that the MPO includes regionally significant projects as defined for air quality and modeling purposes in the air quality conformity chapter of the LRTP, but they are not necessarily part of the “recommended plan,” which consists of those Major Infrastructure projects the MPO recommends for future programming in the TIP. K. Miller stated that typically a project must be included as a recommendation in the LRTP if it meets the threshold for regional significance. A. McGahan replied that such a project would be listed in the LRTP as part of the air quality conformity chapter, but not necessarily modeled as part of the recommended plan. K. Miller agreed that not all projects that affect air quality must be modeled; they must be of a certain magnitude. A. McGahan clarified that some projects that are not required to be modeled by the federal regulations must be modeled under state regulations in the Global Warming Solutions Act.

K. Miller stated that the MPO should pursue cost-effectiveness measures. A. McGahan stated that Beth Osborne from Transportation for America visited the MPO in December 2019 and January 2020 to discuss incorporating cost-effectiveness measures in the TIP, and this issue will be revisited. K. Miller stated that, particularly now that the TIP may include Complete Streets projects at very different scales, pursuing a cost-per-mile or cost-per-point measure may be useful.

L. Diggins echoed D. Amstutz’s concerns about the design investment required to program a project in the LRTP if there is no guarantee it will eventually be programmed in the TIP. A. McGahan replied that design investment is required for all projects to move forward in the MPO’s process, even the smaller ones, because the MPO does not provide design funding. 

S. Woelfel reiterated that this issue is part of why MassDOT believes the MPO should only include regionally significant projects in the LRTP. This would allow all programming decisions to be made during the yearly TIP process.

A. McGahan stated that there are two different issues at play. The first is the Major Infrastructure Program definition voted on by the MPO at the meeting on August 20, 2020. Having this definition allows the MPO to apply its policy that no more than 30 percent of its funding be spent on these types of projects. These projects do not necessarily have to be listed in the LRTP, but listing them allows the MPO to plan for meeting its funding goals in the TIP. The second issue, somewhat separate, is that any project that is regionally significant for air quality purposes must be listed in the LRTP per federal regulation.

Laura Gilmore (Massachusetts Port Authority) recommended that the final scoring and programming policies clearly apply to MPO Regional Target funded projects in the LRTP and not to the other federally funded projects included in the LRTP.

Brian Kane (MBTA Advisory Board) asked S. Woelfel to again explain MassDOT’s position on the Major Infrastructure Program definition.   

S. Woelfel stated MassDOT feels the MPO should only include those projects in the LRTP that are required to be included under the federal definition of regionally significant projects. This would allow all projects to compete within the yearly TIP process and remove the possibility of the MPO having to amend projects into the LRTP due to cost increases.

B. Kane asked how other Massachusetts MPOs deal with this issue. S. Woelfel stated that the issue does not arise as much in other MPOs due to the smaller size of their projects.

A. McGahan clarified that when the current LRTP was being developed FHWA indicated that no cost threshold for Major Infrastructure projects was necessary. However, prior to that time, the MPO originally had received guidance that the cost threshold should be set at $25 million. Over the years, this figure was lowered to $10 million and increased $20 million. A. McGahan noted that the other MPOs in the Commonwealth do not have projects that reach these cost levels.

Ben Muller (MassDOT) noted that other MPOs in the Commonwealth do not have investment programs within their TIPs and only use the federal definition for what is required to go into the LRTP. They do not have a comparable investment program for Major Infrastructure projects. The Boston Region MPO has developed these investment programs and decided to list the Major Infrastructure Program in the LRTP in addition to the federally required projects.

K. Miller clarified that the most Regional Target funding other MPOs in the state have may be approximately $20 million, and they do not divide the projects into categories. K. Miller asked A. McGahan to clarify that while the MPO voted on the Major Infrastructure Program definition, the board did not vote on whether Major Infrastructure projects had to be listed in the LRTP. A. McGahan agreed that when she presented the definition, she noted that it was the policy of the MPO to include these projects in the LRTP. The MPO did not take a vote on whether or not to continue the policy of including Major Infrastructure projects in the LRTP. The only vote that was taken was on the definition of Major Infrastructure projects. The issue of whether the projects should be listed in the LRTP remains open for discussion.

T. Teich provided an overview of the decisions before the MPO at this meeting. T. Teich stated that at the last meeting, the MPO voted on a definition of Major Infrastructure. This definition is primarily relevant because the MPO sets a goal in the LRTP for the percentage of Regional Target funding that will go toward different types of projects. Thirty percent is the funding goal in the LRTP for Major Infrastructure projects. This is a goal, not a rule. The definition is important because it explains how the MPO sorts projects into different funding categories in order to understand how much money is going to different kinds of projects. At this meeting, the vote would be about whether the MPO wants to list specific Major Infrastructure projects in future time bands of the LRTP based on the previously agreed upon definition. Furthermore, the decision is about determining the expectations for a project once it is listed in the LRTP. Does the MPO guarantee that a project in the LRTP will be programmed in the TIP? Or, should that conversation happen during the TIP process? Additionally, the MPO could decide not to list any projects in the LRTP (other than those that are federally required to be listed) and have the entire discussion during the yearly TIP process.

D. Amstutz expressed support for the recommended policies presented by A. McGahan, adding that the importance of listing projects in the LRTP is about planning ahead for large projects.

L. Diggins expressed support for the recommended policies but asked if it would be possible to delay the vote until a future MPO meeting, after A. McGahan presents to the Advisory Council.

After some discussion, S. Woelfel stated that the MPO would not take a vote on this issue until after A. McGahan presented to the Advisory Council. S. Woelfel asked A. McGahan to provide MPO members with information about the difference between the projects that would be listed in the LRTP under the federal definition versus the MPO’s Major Infrastructure definition prior to the meeting at which the MPO would take this vote. 

9.  Discussion: Transportation Improvement Program Project Selection Criteria—Matt Genova and Kate White, MPO Staff

K. White reviewed MPO staff’s outreach efforts for the proposed changes to the TIP criteria. MPO staff created a virtual TIP Criteria Revisions guidebook, released an online survey, and conducted direct outreach with community organizations. The guidebook and survey were released together and used during all outreach meetings. The guidebook is on both the main TIP webpage and the TIP criteria revisions webpage, as well as linked in the survey. K. White stated that MPO staff pursued a partnership with Union Capital Boston (UCB), a non-profit that focuses on building community engagement. To increase equity in online survey responses and make up for the loss of in-person outreach, UCB broadcast the survey in their mobile application and sent it out via email and text. Members who completed the survey were awarded points that can be put towards visa gift cards. UCB’s efforts resulted in more completed surveys and a more diverse group of survey respondents.

K. White stated that MPO staff received 514 survey responses; 43 were completed in Spanish and two in Simplified Chinese. This survey outreach resulted in a much more diverse range of respondents than previous surveys: 44 percent of respondents identified as White, 31 percent identified as Black or African American, and 18 percent identified as Hispanic, Spanish origin, or Latinx. Respondents were from every age bracket, but more young respondents were identified than in the previous criteria survey released in the fall. A higher proportion of respondents identified as women. Gender identity choices were expanded to be more inclusive in this survey. Household income distribution was more diverse. In addition to the surveys completed in Spanish and Simplified Chinese, 89 respondents shared they spoke another language at home. Of the respondents, 17 percent reported having a disability, 20 percent stated that they usually take the bus as their primary mode of travel, 34 percent use their own private vehicle, and 14 percent usually take the train. There were higher response rates in Dorchester, Roxbury, East Boston, and Revere than in the fall survey.

Respondents were asked 12 questions about support for the major criteria changes. Many respondents generally supported the changes: 60 to 79 percent fully supported each change, and 16 to 29 percent somewhat supported each change. There was a 1.7 percent skip rate. MPO staff received 48 to 160 comments on each criteria change that included topics such as additional criteria to consider and clarifying questions about methodology. Respondents were asked to weigh the MPO goal areas out of 100 points. Each one was weighted fairly evenly between a minimum of 15 and maximum of 21 points for each goal area. Respondents shared that healthcare facilities, utilities, schools, permanent and emergency shelters, grocery stores, and emergency response facilities were the most important critical facilities, and gas stations were the least important. Many also suggested churches and pharmacies as additional critical facilities.

Virtual meetings to discuss the changes were hosted or planned with GreenRoots, Conservation Law Foundation, UCB, Transit Matters, and Livable Streets Alliance.

K. White stated that there was a high amount of support for the proposed changes, approximately 90 percent support for each one. Combining the first and second round of outreach, there were approximately 1,157 engagements with people in survey responses, focus groups, one-on-one meetings, and community events. The overall effort increased awareness of MPO activities, strengthened relationships with community organizations, and increased the diversity of respondents.

Test Scoring

M. Genova spoke about the final draft scoring system discussed at the August 20, 2020, MPO meeting. The new system proposes a 100-point scale, with an integrated equity approach accounting for 20 points, or 20 percent of the total score. The remaining five MPO goal areas comprise the other 80 points. This basic 80-20 breakdown in points would remain consistent across all five investment programs. Unlike the current system, the points distributed to each goal area vary across investment programs. This is most notable in the Transit Modernization Program, in which System Preservation and Capacity Management goal areas are weighted significantly more heavily than the Safety goal area. This is because the MPO is likely to fund many projects that emphasize these areas, such as transit station enhancements or new vehicle purchases, rather than projects having a meaningful impact on transit safety. There are fewer System Preservation points for bicycle and pedestrian projects than there are for roadway projects because many of the projects reviewed through this program are creating new facilities—such as rail trails—rather than reconstructing existing biking and walking paths. These themes are present throughout, as the point values for the goal areas within each investment program are tailored to the candidate projects addressing each goal area. The main changes heavily emphasize equity while also drawing distinctions between the relative weights of the other investment programs across project types. The Equity goal area is worth 20 points across all project types..

To conduct test scoring using the new criteria, MPO staff selected representative projects from the Complete Streets, Intersection Improvements, and Bicycle Network and Pedestrian Connections investment programs. Projects that feature a range of elements and baseline scores were selected to understand how different aspects of the new criteria would play out.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Connections

MPO staff scored two rail trails with different project elements to try to understand how the new criteria would play out. The two projects had original scores of 53 and 47 points, and the projects fared similarly when evaluated by the new criteria. In other scoring areas, the System Preservation points stayed relatively similar in test scoring when compared to the original scores. Both projects got full points for Capacity Management, as they both would create high-quality separated facilities that would create new connections and close gaps in the network. In the Clean Air and Sustainable Communities area, one project had an increase in its relative score because it received bonus points for reducing nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions in an area with existing high concentrations of this pollutant, a new criterion in the revised criteria. In the Economic Vitality area, one project lost points because the criteria no longer awards points for  smart growth zoning or business improvement districts, while another project gained an extra point for having a dedicated community outreach process in support of this project prior to seeking funding in the TIP. In the Equity area, there was a relative increase in scores. In one case, the project had equity populations in the project area that were not recognized in the current scoring system but are more fully recognized by the new graduated equity index. These test scores revealed that the new system reduces some of the points previously awarded to projects for elements that were only tangentially related to the project itself, and the new system adjusts how the MPO approaches Capacity Management to draw more distinctions between projects.

Complete Streets

MPO staff test scored three projects with a range of current scores, from 43 to 83 points, including a project with a negative score in the Clean Air and Sustainable Communities area. Also included was a project with a baseline Equity score of zero. The distribution of scores across projects remained comparable from baseline to test scoring, with lower point values across the board on the new lower scale. In the System Preservation area, scores remained relatively similar to the baseline scoring, though one project did see a slight increase due to methodology changes in how improvements to pavement condition were measured. In the Capacity Management area, there were no changes in the relative performance of projects.

In the Clean Air and Sustainable Communities area, there was a further decrease in the already negative score of one project because the project would increase emissions on a corridor with already high localized NOx pollution. This change reflects the feedback provided from this board and others that penalties should be stiffer for those projects that work against the Commonwealth’s regional emissions goals, especially in areas with high concentrations of existing pollutants.

In the Economic Vitality area, scores remained comparable to each project’s baseline, though in the Equity area there were significant shifts in scores. Two projects had an equity multiplier of 1.5, while another reached the maximum equity multiplier of two. One project retained its relatively low equity score and another retained its relatively high score. One project in the original scoring system would have had a fair number of people who qualify as equity populations, but these numbers would have been slightly below the regional average, resulting in a baseline Equity score of zero. Under the new system, these populations are more fully recognized, resulting in a significant increase in the project’s overall Equity score.

The final overall scores for all three projects remained comparable to their relative baseline scores as did the previously discussed bicycle and pedestrian projects. Negative scores in criteria, such as emissions criteria, can become more pronounced given the effect of the equity multiplier on these criteria. A plurality of projects will have an equity multiplier of 1.5 because of the standard deviation methodology used to set the scale. This means that only projects that are more than half a standard deviation from the mean in terms of the concentration of equity populations in the project area will receive a multiplier of 1.25 or lower or 1.75 or higher.

Intersection Improvements

There was a distribution of overall scores between 31 and 51 points, and new scores remained relatively comparable across projects. In the Safety area, the scores stayed relatively similar, though in a System Preservation project one score decreases due to a change in how replacement of existing traffic signals were measured. In the Capacity Management area, there was a point reduction due to the decrease in points for reducing auto congestion in the new criteria. In the Clean Air and Sustainable Communities area, one project benefited from an additional point for increasing access to open space, while two others benefited from the bonus points for reducing NOx emissions in polluted areas. In the Economic Vitality area, a project lost some points because no points are given for smart growth zoning or business improvement districts.  

For Equity scoring, all three projects remained comparable to their original scores with the same equity multiplier of 1.5. A significant number of projects are funded in areas with high concentrations of NOx, so projects that reduce emissions in these areas score well. The new criteria reward fewer points to improvements that are solely focused on cars, such as the replacement of traffic signals and intersection delay reductions. This is intentional, as the MPO board and many members of the public who commented to the MPO believe all MPO-funded projects should focus on multimodal improvements.

Overall, the scores did not vary greatly between the original criteria and the new criteria relative to peer projects within the same goal area, even though there were some adjustments in points based on criteria that were added or removed. The revised approach to equity more fully recognizes all people within a project area. The scores presented at this meeting were slightly lower than they otherwise would be, as a few criteria were unscored due to data limitations. This will change as projects are brought into the scoring pipeline for the upcoming TIP cycle and fully scored.

M. Genova stated that there would be an opportunity for members to address any remaining questions or concerns at the MPO meeting on September 17, 2020, before the final vote to approve the new criteria at the meeting on October 1, 2020.


L. Diggins asked M. Genova to provide examples of cases where scores were initially close. M. Genova replied that he would look into this.

10. Members Items

E. Bourassa provided an update on the MPO election process. There are four seats open for election in 2020. They are the seats currently held by the North Shore Task Force (City of Beverly), South West Advisory Planning Committee (Town of Medway), At-Large City (City of Everett), and At-Large Town (Town of Lexington). There will an electronic nomination process and voting will take place remotely at the MAPC Fall Council Meeting. Nominations are due by October 16, 2020. Questions can be directed to E. Bourassa (MAPC) or B. Kane (MBTA Advisory Board).

S. Woelfel stated that MassDOT’s annual Moving Together conference will be held virtually from November 17, 2020, to November 19, 2020. Registration is free and open on the University of Massachusetts Transportation Center website.

11. Adjourn

A motion to adjourn was made by MAPC (E. Bourassa) and seconded by the At-Large Town (Town of Lexington) (Sheila Page). 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)

Daniel Amstutz

At-Large Town (Town of Lexington)

Sheila Page

City of Boston (Boston Planning & Development Agency)

Jim Fitzgerald

City of Boston (Boston Transportation Department)

Bill Conroy

Federal Highway Administration

Ken Miller

Federal Transit Administration


Inner Core Committee (City of Somerville)

Tom Bent

Massachusetts Department of Transportation

Steve Woelfel

MassDOT Highway Division

Marie Rose

John Romano

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

Samantha Silverberg

Massachusetts Port Authority

Laura Gilmore

MBTA Advisory Board

Brian Kane

Metropolitan Area Planning Council

Eric Bourassa

MetroWest Regional Collaborative (City of Framingham)

Erika Oliver Jerram

Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination (Town of Acton)

North Shore Task Force (City of Beverly)

Denise Deschamps

North Suburban Planning Council (City of Woburn)

Tina Cassidy

Regional Transportation Advisory Council

Lenard Diggins

South Shore Coalition (Town of Rockland)

Jennifer Constable

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


Ben Muller

MassDOT Office of Transportation Planning

Brian Pounds

MassDOT Office of Transportation Planning

Connie Raphael

MassDOT Highway District 4

Erica Curcio


Frank Tramontozzi

City of Quincy

Imaikalani Aiu

Town of Weston

Janie Dretler

Sudbury Select Board

Jeanette Rebecchi

Town of Bedford

Joe Blankenship

Boston Planning & Development Agency

Joy Glynn

MetroWest Regional Transit Authority

Pat Brown

Sudbury resident

Sarah Bradbury

MassDOT Highway District 3

Scott Zadakis

Regional Transportation Advisory Council

Steve Olanoff

Three Rivers Interlocal Council alternate

Todd Baldwin

Town of Saugus


MPO Staff/Central Transportation Planning Staff

Tegin Teich, Executive Director

Mark Abbott

Matt Archer

Jonathan Church

Annette Demchur

Róisín Foley

Hiral Gandhi

Matt Genova

Betsy Harvey

Sandy Johnston

Anne McGahan

Kate Parker-O’Toole

Ariel Patterson

Scott Peterson

Barbara Rutman

Michelle Scott

Kate White


The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) operates its programs, services, and activities in compliance with federal nondiscrimination laws including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI), the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987, and related statutes and regulations. Title VI prohibits discrimination in federally assisted programs and requires that no person in the United States of America shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin (including limited English proficiency), be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity that receives federal assistance. Related federal nondiscrimination laws administered by the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, or both, prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, sex, and disability. The Boston Region MPO considers these protected populations in its Title VI Programs, consistent with federal interpretation and administration. In addition, the Boston Region MPO provides meaningful access to its programs, services, and activities to individuals with limited English proficiency, in compliance with U.S. Department of Transportation policy and guidance on federal Executive Order 13166.

The Boston Region MPO also complies with the Massachusetts Public Accommodation Law, M.G.L. c 272 sections 92a, 98, 98a, which prohibits making any distinction, discrimination, or restriction in admission to, or treatment in a place of public accommodation based on race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, or ancestry. Likewise, the Boston Region MPO complies with the Governor's Executive Order 526, section 4, which requires that all programs, activities, and services provided, performed, licensed, chartered, funded, regulated, or contracted for by the state shall be conducted without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, creed, ancestry, national origin, disability, veteran's status (including Vietnam-era veterans), or background.

A complaint form and additional information can be obtained by contacting the MPO or at To request this information in a different language or in an accessible format, please contact

Title VI Specialist
Boston Region MPO
10 Park Plaza, Suite 2150
Boston, MA 02116
857.702.3700 (voice)
617.570.9193 (TTY)