Moving Massachusetts Forward
On the Trans Blog
Secretary Mullan Stresses Regional Cooperation

MassDOT Secretary Jeff Mullan joined the leaders of New England's five other state Transportation Departments in Connecticut Thursday in exploring a priority of Governor Deval Patrick: regional cooperation in enhanced transit and other transportation services.

Conference & Challenge Saturday

The First Annual MassDOT Developers Conference is scheduled for Saturday, November 14th, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

Software Improves Driver Skills


AAA Southern New England is partnering with a leading brain fitness company to offer a new driver improvement software program to assist aging Bay State motorists.

The Road to Reform

MassDOT Board Takes Action: MBTA Safety Review

The MassDOT Board responded promptly to the MBTA safety review ordered by Governor Patrick during its first meeting overseeing the MBTA Tuesday.

Transportation Secretary and CEO Jeff Mullan announced the following actions:

  1. A MassDOT Director of Facilities Safety will be accountable directly to the Secretary to ensure that safety is the top priority in allocation of capital funds for maintenance.
  2. A safety consultant, TRA, a nationally-recognized safety and security engineering firm will immediately audit MBTA safety practices.
  3. The MBTA has already convened senior operating and construction staff to review safety projects identified in the D'Alessandro report as critical and unfunded to ensure accuracy.
  4. The MBTA Board approved a contract to begin work immediately on leaks reported in the Red Line at the Alewife extension.

Secretary Mullan said the T inspectors check the Red Line area twice each week. There is no current evidence that leakage has caused the track to move and the Red Line is safe.

MBTA projects past, present, and planned.

Download and read the T review.


RMV Online Now Interactive

MassDOT's Registry of Motor Vehicles Division has launched a new interactive web experience for customers. First-time drivers and new residents who want to convert their out-of-state license can now pre-stage their permit or new license application online at www.mass.gov/rmv. The program is expected to speed up the time it takes to process new license transactions and eliminate repeat visits to branches.

MassDOT Secretary and CEO Jeff Mullan calls it a perfect example of MassDOT's focus on reform and "an important milestone using new technology to deliver more efficient government service."

The program takes the applicant through the new license process then prints a completed application thatís tailored by their responses to a series of questions. The applicant also receives a check list of necessary documents to bring to a branch.

Registrar Rachel Kaprielian says "this online tool will make the process easier and less time-consuming and better prepare applicants to get a permit or new license and that will benefit all our customers."

In the future, the RMV plans to make branch appointments available to customers who pre-stage their license applications and eventually allow customers to pre-stage almost all other license transactions from license renewals to ordering a duplicate license.


MassDOT Bridge Projects: Ahead of Schedule

MassDOT bridge replacement projects in Peabody, Williamsburg, and Becket resulted in bridges reopening on budget and ahead of schedule. The Peabody and Becket projects are funded as part of Governor Patrickís $3 billion, eight-year Accelerated Bridge program to repair structurally-deficient bridges.

Peabody

One of two bridges at the Route I-95/Route 128 interchange with U.S. Route 1 in Peabody fully re-opened to traffic 10 months ahead of schedule on November 11, providing a critical connection between Route I-95/Route 128 and Routes 1 and 129. The second bridge, which provides a connection between Route 1 north and Route I-95/Route 128 north, is slated to re-open to its full width within the next week.

Williamsburg

A successful collaboration between MassDOT's Highway Division and the Town of Williamsburg rebuilt and reopened the Skinnerville Road Bridge in just 11 days at the end of October.

The bridge spanning the Mill River and providing the only access to several homes was in poor condition, not accessible to fire and emergency vehicles, and in danger of being closed.

A normal bridge replacement project would have required a temporary bridge or construction in stages.

MassDOT's Bridge staff worked with the Highway Division's District 1 to come up with an innovative plan to design and install a replacement bridge in less than 2 weeks. Learn more about MassDOT's Highway Division.

Becket

A Becket bridge replaced as part of Governor Patrick's Accelerated Bridge Program opened Monday, November 9, well ahead of the original schedule. The $850,000 project replaced the McNerney Road Bridge over Shaker Mill Brook.

MassDOT's contract with Roach & Sons included financial incentives based on accelerating work schedules that were met and exceeded. The bridge was originally scheduled to open in late 2010. Contract incentives targeted opening in December 2009, but the bridge opened Monday following just 139 days of construction.

Learn more about the eight-year, $3 billion Accelerated Bridge Program to repair structurally-deficient bridges across the Commonwealth.


MassDOT Focus: Efficiency and Cost Reductions

MassDOT Secretary and CEO Jeff Mullan outlined a series of cost savings and efficiency initiatives in addressing the Oversight Hearing of the Joint Committee on Transportation. Among the savings and administrative efficiencies already achieved or occurring in the coming weeks and months:

  • $261 million in transportation costs were saved as transportation reform legislation prompted an upgrade of the Turnpike Authority's bond rating.
  • Fleet consolidation will yield a 15% reduction in costs that would immediately save $2.2 million.
  • Consolidation of money counting operations is saving $500,000.
  • An estimated $4 million in savings will be achieved through a new service that will leverage private-sector investment and replace existing 511 phone service.
  • Hundreds of thousands of dollars are being saved through consolidation of RMV office space, using rent-free locations for new express branches.
  • MassDOT is working on a staffing "Functional Review of Every Seat in the House" exercise to ensure positions match MassDOT's mission.

Secretary Mullan says the integration teams representing more than 300 employees will continue their work into 2010 to implement reform and find innovative ideas to save money and create efficiencies

Visit the MassDOT Information Center to learn more.


Board Honors T Lifesavers

MassDOT Secretary and CEO Jeff Mullan and MassDOT Board Chair John Jenkins during the MassDOT MBTA Board meeting honored two MBTA employees as lifesavers following an incident Friday night on the Orange Line at North Station.

Orange Line operator Charice Lewis, holding the plaque at right, and MBTA inspector Jacqueline Osorio, left, took action after a woman fell from the edge of the platform on to the rails below.

Inspector Osorio along with frantic onlookers who included Cindy White on the platform called for Lewis to stop the train.

Lewis immediately followed procedure and applied the emergency brake, coming to a stop just in time- with the train literally hovering over the person on the track below. Lewis and Osorio received a well-deserved standing ovation at today's board meeting.


MassDOT Quick Fact

  • The Aeronautics Division's 13 employees oversee airport development, aviation safety, accident investigation, and statewide aviation planning.
  • The Division oversees 37 public use airports, 2 seaplane bases, and 184 private use landing areas.