A SMART TRANSPORTATION PLAN
TO CONNECT ALL BOSTONIANS
A Strong Voice for Improving the MBTA
As Boston continues to grow and develop as a world-class city we have quickly outpaced the capacity of our public transit system. For Boston to meet its full potential as a global hub for business and innovation, and as a truly sustainable and livable city, we need an equally world-class transit system. For many young people and seniors, the MBTA is a critical link to school, jobs, and services. For our region’s growing workforce, the T serves as a connection to jobs and opportunity.
The next Mayor of Boston must take on the issue of public transportation. As Mayor, I will make the MBTA my priority by serving as a strong advocate for improved, expanded, and fully funded MBTA service that helps Boston and our region stay connected and grow. That means I will:
- Fight for full funding of the MBTA through regional partnerships
- Bring back late-night MBTA service
- Modernize zoning of transit-oriented development to promote T ridership
Fight to fully fund the MBTA - As Mayor, I will lead the fight to improve and expand T service, but I won’t do it alone. The MBTA is a regional transit system that is the backbone of our regional economy. It's time that mayors, state representatives and senators from across the metro region come together to fight for a strong, robust, and fully funded MBTA system that serves our regional economy and workforce. I will partner with our neighboring cities to form an Urban Caucus to advocate for financing that increases capacity on the MBTA and improves service in all communities.
Bring back late night MBTA service - In 2001, working with partners in state government and the community, I led the fight to implement the MBTA’s late-night “Night Owl” bus service, which extended public transit service in Boston until 2:30 a.m. That extended bus service provided a safe, reliable, and convenient way home for third-shift workers coming home from jobs in our hospitals, restaurants, or dynamic start-up companies, for students studying late, and residents enjoying a night out in the city. As Boston continues to develop as a dynamic, global city, we need to reinstate the Night Owl to serve residents who are increasingly pushing Boston past its current closing time.
As Mayor, I will bring back the Night Owl service and commit to finding the funding to make it sustainable. Boston can no longer afford to shut down its transit system at 12:30 a.m.
To fund this service expansion, I will work with our area universities to implement the U-Pass program, which lets those institutions purchase MBTA passes for every one of their students at discounted rates. The U-Pass program has the potential to generate close to $50 million in revenue for the MBTA, more than covering the estimated $10 million cost of renewed and expanded late night service.
Through smart policies and collaborative partnerships we can make this work, and as Mayor, I will make sure we do.
Modernize zoning of transit-oriented development to promote T ridership - As Mayor, I will improve and modernize zoning and permitting processes in order to facilitate more transit-oriented development in Boston to promote greater transit ridership. A successful public transit system is dependent on riders’ access to transit stops. Promoting mixed-use housing and commercial development in close proximity to T stops and transit hubs makes taking the T an easy option for residents. It’s also a sustainable way to develop our neighborhoods and jumpstart business districts near T stops.
Transit-oriented development has the potential to spark new growth and development that will strengthen neighborhoods across Boston. As Mayor, I will work with the community to plan first, then build, so that new growth meets the vision of the residents who live there. I will encourage transit-oriented development through supportive zoning so that from the neighborhoods along the new Fairmont line to the community surrounding Dudley Station will be able to leverage those transit assets in ways that promote T ridership and strengthen community.
Make Boston the #1 city in America for cyclists
As Boston continues to grow and thrive, our transportation network must include a wide range of options that provide a safe, affordable, convenient, and sustainable alternatives to driving. Biking is an essential component of that network and I am committed to making Boston the Number One city in America for cyclists. To achieve that, residents of all ages and backgrounds need to feel safe and secure while biking in Boston. Mayor Menino helped improve the state of biking in Boston, and I will build on that work in the following ways:
A Commitment to Expanding Boston's Bike Infrastructure
- Prioritize funding for bike programs in the city budget and seek a transportation commissioner with a background in cycling and a commitment to multi-modal transportation and “complete streets” design principles.
- Build a network of dedicated, separated cycle tracks that connects every neighborhood to each other.
- Continue to add miles of bike lanes to city streets across all neighborhoods.
- Plan for connected bike routes between city parks.
- Increase wayfinding signs for bikers in all parts of the city.
- Increase the number of curbside bike racks, bike shelters, and bike corrals.
Address Boston's Most Dangerous Intersections
- Establish a Problem Intersection Task Force to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians at key intersections across city.
- This multi-agency, community-connected effort will work to identify simple street improvements that can be implemented ahead of comprehensive “complete street” redesign efforts. Sometimes all that is needed is to move a bus stop 50 feet or install a turning signal to make a dangerous intersection safer.
Increase Education and Awareness For Cyclists and Drivers
- Partner with universities to teach and promote bike safety to incoming students.
- Leverage community partners to teach bike safety in Boston Public Schools.
- Promote bike safety and awareness to drivers, especially MBTA bus drivers, truck drivers, and city employees.
- Strive to create a culture of mutual respect and responsibility among cyclists and drivers.
Expand and Extend Hubway
- Support the expansion of the Hubway station network to all neighborhoods, especially those underserved by public transit.
- Extend the Hubway season year-round.
- Continue to support subsidized memberships for low-income residents to encourage transit equity.
Investing in a Smart Traffic Grid
Our city streets may have been planned over the cow paths of Boston’s early residents, but to move today’s cars and commerce we need to improve our street infrastructure and invest in smart technologies that better manage the traffic of a modern, global city. As Mayor, I will encourage alternative modes of transportation but also leverage networking technologies to help ease car traffic, reduce carbon emissions from vehicles, and relieve the headaches of rush hour commutes.
Boston’s consistent traffic bottlenecks aren’t just inconvenient for drivers: They slow down business, delay MBTA busses, and represent points of constant idling and vehicle emissions. Through better data collection and sharing, and smart planning, we can minimize congestion, reduce carbon emissions associated with idling vehicles, and empower residents to make more informed transportation choices. Mayor Menino set the groundwork for these street and traffic improvements, and I will make sure we follow through on them.
Sharing Traffic Data to Reduce Congestion
- Increase traffic data collection and sharing between city departments and state agencies to identify traffic chokepoints, large and small.
- Leverage data to improve signal timing to create efficient traffic flow and reduce congestion on Boston’s streets.
- Open up traffic data for citizens to use in creating apps and other online tools that share traffic information and help residents make smarter transportation choices, similar to what is being done in the City of Calgary.
Relieving Parking Strains Through Apps and Smart Meters
- Support the implementation of mobile apps that identify open parking spaces for drivers to reduce time spent driving in search of spaces, resulting in less congestion and carbon emissions from circling vehicles.
- Replace coin-only parking meters with a city-wide transition to smart kiosks that accept coins, cash, and credit cards to make paying for parking more convenient and to help increase potential street spaces by eliminating space-specific meters.
Expanding Vehicle Options in Every Neighborhood
- Encourage developers of existing and new properties to establish locations for car sharing like Zipcar in more neighborhoods outside the core of the city.
- Support the installation of electric vehicle charging stations in every neighborhood, including city parking spaces in Main Street business districts to support the adoption of alternative fuel cars.
Modernizing Taxi Oversight
Today, Boston’s fleet of taxis and livery cars are managed and regulated by a special unit in the Boston Police Department – the Hackney Carriage Unit. Over 100 years after it was first established to oversee horse-drawn hackney service, it’s time to transfer these responsibilities to the City’s Transportation Department. We are more aware then ever that the Boston Police have very serious public safety concerns to focus on; managing a rapidly evolving transportation industry should not divert their attention from keeping our streets safe from violent crime. The regulation of the taxi industry also needs serious study and reform to protect both drivers and passengers.
As Mayor, I will move taxi oversight to the Transportation Department and modernize its regulation in the following ways:
Reforms to Protect Driver and Passenger Safety and Rights
- Complete a comprehensive study of existing taxi regulation and industry practices to ensure drivers’ rights and wages are being protected and that taxi supply and fares accurately reflect the market demand.
- Establish a Taxi Driver and Passenger Service Hotline to confidentially report either workplace violations or seek help or information as a passenger.
Smart Regulations that Support Emerging Taxi Technologies
- Work with drivers, cab companies, new taxi start-ups, and transportation policy experts to establish fair guidelines for new taxi-hailing technologies such as apps from Hailo and Uber and ride-sharing programs like Lyft, SideCar, and UberX.
- Establish policies and regulations that protect both drivers and riders of emerging taxi services while not stifling innovative business models and technologies.