New report projects requirements to meet Greater Boston needs in 2030


From left: Catherine Tumber, James Huessy and Barry Bluestone

Researchers at the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy authored a new report that measures the current infrastructure throughout the five counties in Greater Boston, and projects the requirements for augmenting the built environment to meet the region’s needs in 2030.

Sponsored by A Better City, State of the Built Environment: Greater Boston’s Infrastructure is a comprehensive study of the impacts of population and economic growth on Greater Boston’s transportation, energy use, and water, sewer and waste management systems, as well as air quality, open space, and the consequences of forecasted climate change on the region’s seaports.

“We hope this report will stir dialogue and debate over how to meet our need for transportation, energy, water, sewerage, and open space, and how to render the region more resilient in the face of climate change, sea-level rise, and storm surge,” Dukakis Center staff Barry Bluestone, Catherine Tumber and James Huessy wrote in the report.

Below are key findings from the report, which was released on June 7 at A Better City’s State of the Environment Conference at the Seaport Hotel.

Demographic and economic output projection

  • The population of the five counties of Greater Boston—Suffolk, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, and Plymouth Counties—will increase from a little less than 4.1 million in 2010 to 4.5 million in 2030.
  • A nearly 28 percent increase in economic activity in Greater Boston is projected over the full 2010-2030 period.

Future of infrastructure demand

  • Commuting: There will be an additional 117,000 commuters across all of Greater Boston between 2010 and 2030.
  • Highway Use: There will be at least 80,000 more automobiles, trucks and tractor trailers on Greater Boston’s roads by 2030, an increase of nearly 5 percent.
  • Public Transit: The region can expect to accommodate more than 14,000 additional subway commuters, more than 11,000 additional bus and trolley commuters, and more than another 1,000 daily commuter rail customers. This represents a 6.8 percent increase in subway and bus/trolley use by commuters and nearly a three percent increase in commuter rail.

Energy use projection

  • Electricity: An additional 17.4 percent increase of electric power will be needed to accommodate increases in residential service, as well as commercial and industrial use.
  • Natural Gas: Residents and businesses are projected to have an increased demand of 14.3 percent between 2010 and 2030.

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