Good to Great: Creating a Long-term Vision for the Commonwealth’s Transportation Needs

On April 9, NAIOP will host Transportation Transformation, a thought provoking conference addressing the challenges and opportunities facing Massachusetts as we plan for the transportation system of the future. MassDOT Secretary Stephanie Pollack and Secretary of Housing & Economic Development Jay Ash will discuss the role of transportation in a growing Massachusetts economy. Vinn White, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Secretary, US Department of Transportation will discuss how demographic shifts will affect transportation, and nationally recognized transportation experts will discuss lessons learned from other regions, new technologies to consider, and what all of this means for real estate development. If you fought to get to work this winter, then this conference is for you!

Building off of these same themes, we thought this week was a good week to share our Good to Great recommendations to MassDOT. Special thanks to Marilyn Swartz-Lloyd, President and Chief Executive Officer, of the Medical, Academic, Scientific Community Organization (MASCO) for her input on this. Comments, as always, are encouraged!

Good to Great: Creating a Long-term Vision for the Commonwealth’s Transportation Needs
The Commonwealth’s transportation infrastructure is critical to our state’s economy, quality of life and industrial competitiveness. However, many of its elements have already exceeded capacity constraints with increasing delays on congested highways and transit systems. At the same time, demand has increased and is predicted to continue over the coming years with no major increases in capacity coming soon. Without a serious long-term plan, further declining services, increased travel times, and a degraded environment will be the future of the Massachusetts transportation system.

In 1970, Governor Frank Sargent created the Boston Transportation Planning Review that analyzed and redesigned the entire area-wide transit and highway system. It provided a blueprint for transportation policy and investment that we have been effectively following for the last 40 years. Massachusetts needs a similar long-range visionary thinking that will result in a comprehensive transportation plan for 2040.

A Vision 2040 Transportation plan, endorsed by the Baker Administration, should address tomorrow’s opportunities, focusing on the issues which may arise over the next 25 years, including long term demographic, economic, environmental, technological, cultural and governmental transformations, the potential effects of global climate change on infrastructure, and the development of new modal choices.

To successfully implement such an initiative, NAIOP supports the following guidelines:

  • Connectivity is key: Creating a seamless, reliable connection between air and rail, bus and subway, and the network of roads and transit is necessary for improving the flow of ideas and people.
  • Out-of-the-box thinking is vital: New and “disruptive” technologies are already impacting other parts of society and should be considered, making enhanced transportation information sharing through technology an integral part of the Commonwealth’s hand-held knowledge system.
  • Public Private Partnerships needed: Innovative public private partnerships can leverage the limited state resources to increase capacity to actualize a long-term plan that can be implemented over the next decades.

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