Staying on Track

Staying on Track is a framework and benchmark indicators report on achieving a sustainable transportation system in Greater Boston. Like the Dukakis Center’s other report cards on housing and manufacturing, this report is based on extensive collection and analysis of a broad range of data about greater Boston’s transportation system and is designed to shed light on how the system works (or doesn’t), a necessary first step toward changing the region’s transportation system to make it more equitable and sustainable. The preliminary set of “indicators” and “benchmarks” from the report was released on November 19 at the fall meeting of the Metro Boston Sustainable Communities Consortium. The final printed report will be available in Spring 2013.

Staying on Track presents a new framework for thinking about the transportation system in greater Boston and Massachusetts, defining a sustainable transportation system as one which:

  • is well-maintained and sustainably funded;
  • allows everyone to have equitable access to a region’s jobs, homes and important goods, services, and opportunities;
  • provides users with real transportation options that are affordable, safe and convenient;
  • and ensures long-term environmental sustainability by minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.

Based on this definition, the report presents a set of forty proposed Indicators and Benchmarks designed to be comprehensive and comprehensible in helping to explain the complicated set of demographic, economic, transportation and other factors driving travel and transportation patterns in greater Boston and throughout Massachusetts. The indicators and benchmarks address the following attributes of a sustainable transportation system:

Staying on Track reaches the following preliminary conclusions about the current transportation system in greater Boston and throughout Massachusetts:

  • Our current transportation system is neither well maintained nor sustainably funded
  • Baseline travel patterns reflect relatively lower amounts of driving and greater amounts of transit use than in many other peer metros and states, particularly in metropolitan Boston and especially in the “transit shed” of the MBTA (the 3.5% of the metro area’s land located within one half mile of an MBTA commuter rail, subway or Key Bus Route station
  • Travel options and land use patterns that support sustainable mobility are not distributed evenly across communities and so the system does not yet provide all users with convenient transportation options or provide equitable access to the region’s jobs and other opportunities, particularly for those who lack cars and/or rely on public transportation

The Dukakis Center thanks the Barr Foundation for supporting the development of Staying on Track and its ongoing support of the Center’s transportation research.

Click HERE to view the presentation from the release of this report.

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