A Guidebook to Updating the TIP Criteria

July 2020


What are the TIP criteria?

The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) uses a set of criteria to evaluate the transportation projects being considered for capital funding through the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). These criteria align with the MPO’s goals established in the MPO’s Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). The latest LRTP, Destination 2040, endorsed six goals for the region’s transportation system: Safety, System Preservation and Modernization, Capacity Management and Mobility, Clean Air/Sustainable Communities, Transportation Equity, and Economic Vitality, with corresponding objectives for each.


Click here to see the Destination 2040 Vision, Goals, Objectives Document

Visit the Destination 2040 webpage here


Why is the MPO making changes to the criteria?

These updated goals led the MPO to reimagine the TIP criteria and how they assess projects within the MPO’s investment programs: Complete Streets, Intersection Improvements, Bicycle Network and Pedestrian Connections, Major Infrastructure, and Transit Modernization. The MPO also has a new investment program, Community Connections, which funds first- and last-mile shuttle connections and improved access to transit stations. Community Connections has its own set of criteria that is in the process of being revised now that the pilot round of this program is complete.



The MPO also sought to keep pace with existing transportation needs in the region. In an effort to better understand what those needs and priorities are, MPO staff reached out to the public through in-person focus groups and an online survey from September to December of 2019. This outreach, in addition to looking at practices from peer MPOs, data and methodologies of state and federal partners, and researching performance-based planning, led staff to these proposed changes. This handout highlights the changes staff are presenting to the MPO from Winter 2019 to Summer 2020. Staff are seeking feedback on these changes and whether the changes align with your priorities. Provide your feedback in this survey! The board will approve the final changes to the criteria in late September or early October 2020.

Provide your feedback in the survey here


Why are the criteria important?

Projects receive points based on the extent to which they meet each criterion. The more points a project scores, the more likely it is that the project will be funded. Projects compete against others in their respective investment programs and each project’s score is a major factor in whether the MPO chooses to fund it.

Click here to learn more about the Current TIP


What are the criteria’s limitations?

These criteria will be applied to projects being evaluated in the next TIP, the federal fiscal years (FFY) 2022–2026 TIP, and projects already programmed in the FFYs 2021–2025 TIP will not be rescored. The MPO hopes that the proposed changes will help fulfill the MPO’s vision of a modern, well-maintained transportation system that supports a sustainable, healthy, livable, and economically vibrant region. Even though the MPO has to approve all projects that receive federal transportation funding, the criteria only apply to the projects funded using the MPO’s Regional Target funds. The criteria have a large impact on which projects are funded; in the most recent FFYs 2021–25 TIP cycle, only the highest-scoring project in each investment program was awarded funding. Though the criteria are important, the MPO also considers other factors when selecting projects for funding, including cost, readiness, and the distribution of federal funding across the region. The process of creating new criteria for the TIP is also iterative and the MPO welcomes continued suggestions, ideas, and feedback, especially as the region’s context continues to change.


Call to Action—We need your input!


Click here to take the Proposed Criteria Changes Survey


Learn more about the TIP Criteria through the Webpage


Check out the MPO Meeting Calendar


Follow us @Boston Region MPO on Social media. Click here for the Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube pages


Transportation Equity Criteria

The Transportation Equity goal seeks to ensure that all people receive comparable benefits from, and are not disproportionately burdened by, MPO investments, regardless of race, color, national origin, age, income, ability, or sex. For the MPO this means

Equity populations include the low-income population, people of color, people with limited English proficiency, people with disabilities, the elderly population (age 75 and older), and the youth population (age 17 and younger.


The new criteria would integrate equity into every goal area, rather than be a standalone set of criteria. Projects would receive progressively more points based on

For example, if a project reduces emissions and pollutants under the Clean Air/Sustainable Communities goal area, it would receive more points if the project has a higher share of equity populations.

This new approach would apply an equity multiplier on criteria in each goal area that staff have identified through public outreach and data analysis as critical transportation needs or where there exist disparities for equity populations. Each project's multiplier would be based on the distribution of equity populations in the project area relative to their region wide averages. The higher the share of equity populations in the project area, the higher the multiplier would be. The goal areas on the following pages indicate which criteria the equity multiplier would be applied to.


Below are the changes to the five goal areas. Existing criteria are in black and proposed changes and additions are in bold.


Clean Air/Sustainable Communities Criteria


Click here for the Clean Air/Sustainable Communities Criteria Table handout


Click here for the Clean Air/Sustainable Communities Presentation Slides


Safety Criteria


Watch the Safety Criteria Presentation at the June 11, MPO Meeting


Click here for the Safety Criteria Table handout


Economic Vitality


Click here for the Economic Vitality Table handout


Click here for the MetroCommon regional long-term land use plan


System Preservation and Modernization


Watch the System Presentation and Modernization presentation at the June 25, MPO Meeting


Click here for the System Preservation and Modernization Criteria Table handout


Capacity Management and Mobility


Watch the Capacity Management and Mobility presentation at the July 16 MPO Meeting


Click here for the Capacity Management and Mobility Criteria Table handout