Draft Memorandum for the Record

Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization

Transit Working Group Quarterly Meeting Summary

September 20, 2022, Meeting

3:00 PM–4:30 PM, Zoom Video Conferencing Platform. Recording available at https://youtu.be/nmipU7YaI0w

Meeting Agenda

1.    Introductions

Tegin Teich, the Executive Director of the Central Transportation Planning Staff, invited attendees to introduce themselves using the Zoom chat function and provided an overview of the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), including its primary functions, board members’ affiliations, and goals. T. Teich explained the purpose of these Transit Working Group meetings is to build connections between transit providers and MPO members.

Sandy Johnston (Central Transportation Planning Staff) welcomed attendees and reviewed guidelines for participating in the meeting virtually.

2.    MPO Activities Update

Jonathan Church (Central Transportation Planning Staff) provided an update on the upcoming federal MPO certification review and discussed opportunities for public input on this process, including at the next MPO board meeting on October 6, 2022. J. Church invited attendees who may have comments on the certification review to contact Cassie Ostrander with the Federal Highway Administration at cassandra.ostrander@dot.gov or Leah Sirmin with the Federal Transit Administration at leah.sirmin@dot.gov.

S. Johnston provided an update on the MPO’s Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), Destination 2050, which is currently being updated. The LRTP provides the MPO’s vision and goals for the Boston Region’s transportation system and prioritizes projects aimed at achieving these goals. MPO staff will be working on Destination 2050 through next year and expect to adopt a final version in Summer 2023. S. Johnston shared the project’s webpage and encouraged participants to provide input and stay tuned for updates.

S. Johnston provided an update on the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s (MassDOT) statewide long-range transportation plan, Beyond Mobility. S. Johnston shared a link to this project’s webpage and encouraged attendees to participate in a survey MassDOT created to gather public input on Beyond Mobility.

Srilekha Murthy (Central Transportation Planning Staff) provided an update on the MPO’s Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP). The Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2023 UPWP will allocate approximately $8 million to support the MPO’s certification requirements, technical analyses, corridor studies, and discrete studies, and was endorsed by the MPO on August 18, 2022. Outreach and guidance on submission of study ideas will begin in fall 2022 to inform development of the FFY 2024 UPWP. S. Murthy invited attendees who have comments or questions on the UPWP to contact her at smurthy@ctps.org.

3.    Transit Provider Items

S. Johnston invited transit providers to share any updates on items not on the agenda with the group. No updates were announced.

4.    Improving Rider Experience Through Open-Source Software

Siobhan Cunningham (TransitOPS) presented on the TransitOPS non-profit organization and its work to provide open-source transit technology to improve rider experience and modernize transit agencies. This open-source technology can be downloaded and used freely by any transit agency looking to provide a more modern transit-data platform focusing on improvements to scheduling, trip planning, dispatching, vehicle monitoring, fare integration, and more. These services are provided in the form of open-source applications developed by TransitOPS, many of which are currently in production with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA).

S. Cunningham invited attendees to ask questions and provide feedback on potential future partnerships as well as obstacles and opportunities for expanding TransitOPS open-source technology in the Boston region.

Judy Shanley (Easterseals) asked how TransitOPS ensures usability and accessibility in its applications. S. Cunningham replied that there has been front-end work done to ensure accessibility for those with color-blindness and for those who use screen readers. There has also been work done to ensure readability for applications that are in the field. Ryan Mahoney (TransitOPS) added that usability testing has been applied to user-facing applications.

Christopher Silvia asked if there was a tool to alert riders that a scheduled bus is a “ghost” bus, meaning it shows up as a regularly scheduled bus on transit applications and schedules, but it does not actually exist. R. Mahoney replied that TransitOPS’s Skate application contains mechanisms to internally communicate with the MBTA and riders when a ghost bus is detected. Paul Swartz (TransitOPS) added that TransitOPS’s Alerts Concierge application can be used to create alerts to notify riders who utilize the affected route that a specific bus is not actually running. R. Mahoney mentioned the prospect of using real-time data to automatically generate and close alerts as issues arise, though at the moment alerts are manually created.

Dan Jaffe asked if there is a way to show detours where routes have changed. P. Swartz replied that there is ongoing work to provide this service for short-term service disruptions, but at the moment detours are only shown for long-term disruptions. R. Mahoney added that there is an application currently under development called Fates that will be used for scheduling by smaller agencies, and this could be a promising platform to provide information on detours for short-term disruptions.

5.    Learning from Regional Fare Integration in Montreal

Dr. Marco Chitti (University of Montreal) presented on fare integration in the transit system in Montreal, Canada. M. Chitti provided an overview of transit providers and usage in Montreal and explained that fare integration was deemed necessary in the context of Montreal’s many bus, metro, and commuter line options. A zone-based, mode- and operator-neutral fare system was adopted in Montreal in July 2022, which allows for unlimited transfers between any mode and operator within a given zone for a given period of time. This replaced a more complicated system where individual service providers set their own fares and there was no integration across agencies and modes of transportation. M. Chitti also provided an overview of the governance structure and processes that support transit service planning, operation, and fare reform.

A shortcoming of Montreal’s zone-based integrated fare system is that zones are large and fares increase sharply between zones, leading to high cost increases for some riders. Montreal’s transit system has also experienced decreased ridership and fare revenues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to uncertainties in financing future service improvements. M. Chitti concluded that fare integration has improved Montreal’s transit system but required a restructuring of transit governance and consideration of zone design, which other transit agencies should bear in mind if pursuing fare integration in their regions.

6.    Public Comments

S. Johnston welcomed attendees to provide any additional comments on the content of today’s meeting or any other topics at this time. No comments were made.

7.    Conclusion and Next Steps

S. Johnston thanked everyone for their participation and mentioned upcoming Transit Working Group events, including a coffee chat on Launching and Marketing the Berkshire Flyer on November 1, 2022, and a coffee chat on the MPO’s Long-Range Transportation Plan and Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan on November 16, 2022.

S. Johnston welcomed attendees with questions or ideas for future coffee chats to reach out to him at sjohnston@ctps.org.




Marco Chitti

University of Montreal

Paul Swartz


Emily Van Dewoestine

MetroWest Regional Transit Authority (MWRTA)

Tyler Terassi

MetroWest Regional Transit Authority (MWRTA)

John Strauss

Town of Burlington

Siobhan Cunningham


Ryan Mahoney


Peter Lowitt

Devens Enterprise Commission

Dan Jaffe


Lauren O’Connell

Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP)

Lisa Weber

Executive Office of Health and Human Services – Human Service Transportation (EOHHS-HST)

Colette Aufranc

Wellesley Select Board

Alexandra Kleyman

City of Somerville

Jeff Bennett

128 Business Council

Sheri Warrington

Keolis Commuter Services

Angela Constantino

Greater Attleboro and Taunton Regional Transit Authority (GATRA)

Judy Shanley

Easterseals National Center for Mobility Management

Steven Olanoff

Three Rivers Interlocal Council (TRIC)

Travis Pollack

Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC)

Lauren Craik

City of Somerville

Josie Dutil

Bellingham Council on Aging

Perry Grossman

Safe Routes to School – Brookline

Christopher Silvia


Jon Seward

Regional Transportation Advisory Council/MoveMass

Maria Foster

Brookline Council on Aging

Jay Flynn


Franny Osman

Town of Acton

Robert Hale


Marc Ebuña

Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA)

Wes Edwards

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)



MPO Staff/Central Transportation Planning Staff

Jonathan Belcher

Logan Casey

Jonathan Church

Annette Demchur

Sandy Johnston

Stella Jordan

Srilekha Murthy

Tegin Teich



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 http://www.bostonmpo.org/mpo_non_discrimination. 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

By Telephone:
857.702.3700 (voice)

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