Staying on Track: A Framework and Benchmark Indicator for Achieving a Sustainable Transportation System in Greater Boston

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.

A Sustainable Transportation System

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.

Indicators and Benchmarks

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:

  • Transportation Options
  • Assets and Liabilities
  • Funding sustainability
  • Accessibility
  • Equity and Inequity
  • Sustainability – SUSTAIN: Scoring to Understand Sustainable Transportation Attributes and Indicators
  • Congestion and Convenience
  • Affordability
  • Safety

Preliminary Conclusions

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
  • Travel options and land use patterns that support sustainable mobility are not distributed evenly across communities

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

2012 Staying on Track Presentation  SUSTAIN Methodology


Published On: September 25, 2018
Facebook Twitter Google Print Friendly and PDF