Moving Massachusetts Forward
Follow MassDOT on Twitter Follow MassDOT on Twitter

Official Tweeting from Mass. Dept of Transportation (MassDOT). Tweets ending in JM from MassDOT Secretary/CEO Jeffrey Mullan

Subscribe to MassDOT Subscribe to MassDOT
On the Trans Blog
Accelerated Bridge Program "Doing Business Differently"

If you want to see how Governor Patrick's historic eight-year, $3 billion Accelerated Bridge Program is working with local communities to do projects the right way, look no farther than Chatham, and the Mitchell River Bridge project.

Historic Bridges Meeting Set for Cambridge

A Public Information Meeting for the River Street & Western Avenue Bridges rehabilitation project is scheduled for Tuesday, March 9th. The purpose of this meeting is to provide an overview of the proposed rehabilitation of the historic River Street and Western Avenue Bridges between Cambridge and Boston, introduce MassDOT's design team, answer questions and gather comments.

Route 9 Burns Bridge Public Meeting

A Public Information Meeting for the Kenneth F. Burns Memorial Bridge Replacement Project, Route 9 over Lake Quinsigamond, is set for Thursday, March 11th. The meeting will include information about the project and the different bridge types being evaluated as part of the federal and state environmental assessment process.

The Road to Reform

MBTA Drivers Getting Safer

by Jim Folk
MBTA Director of Operations and Planning

There is positive news to report again this year about the safety record of MBTA bus drivers. The safety record improved again in 2009, as it had in 2008, with the total number of accidents declining in both years. By the most meaningful statistic, (the number of preventable accidents per number of miles traveled), the MBTA averaged 1.3 accidents for every one hundred thousand miles in 2009 a drop of more than 25% compared to 1.8 in 2007.

An accident is called "preventable" if it could have been averted by actions by the bus driver; in the vast majority (83%) of accidents last year involving MBTA buses the bus driver was not at fault and could not have prevented the accident. In other words, a car driver is four times more likely to make an error leading to an accident with a bus than a bus driver is likely to make an error leading to an accident with a car. The MBTA's accident rate is the equivalent of a car driver going an average of six years between accidents while managing 40-to-60-foot-long vehicles, constantly pulling into and out of stops, operating on congested streets, and taking care of customers inside the bus.

The MBTA performs routine safety audits of routes and stops to find and address potential safety hazards, and rides buses to covertly observe operators that have been reported as operating in a manner not consistent with MBTA safety rules and regulations. The MBTA is always looking for ways to improve safety. Some steps taken recently include a new operator recertification program, a new "bus simulator" simulated driving environment to improve training, and a zero-tolerance policy on possession of cell phones and electronic devices. Learn more about MBTA's commitment to safety.

Bay State Bike Week: May 17-21

We're hoping you join us this May 17th to 21st for Bay State Bike Week, a week when Massachusetts will celebrates bicycle transportation!

This year, MassDOT and the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition (MassBike) will collaborate to make Bay State Bike Week an exciting statewide happening, with rides and other events in every corner of Massachusetts. This partnership between MassDOT, the state transportation department, and MassBike, Massachusetts' statewide bicycling advocacy group, enables the two organizations to work together to get the word out as widely as possible, and to broaden the scope of Bike Week events.

To kick off the planning today we're launching the 2010 Bay State Bike Week website at In the coming weeks we'll be adding information for event organizers and participants. Event organizers can already use the website to submit your event for the website's statewide calendar! In addition, watch for information on how to receive cool stuff for your event, including t-shirts, reflectors and posters while supplies last. We'll also provide you with ideas and advice on organizing new events.

We are all excited about promoting biking as a mode of transportation; it's safe, it's economical, it's healthy, it's environmentally-friendly, it's fast, and it's fun! We are building on two years of successful efforts by Boston-area groups to unify Bike Week events, a decade of organized Bike Week activities in Western Massachusetts, and a long history of Bike Week celebrations across the Commonwealth.

May is fast approaching, so start planning now! Mark May 17-21 on your calendar for Bay State Bike Week and check the website for more information. MassDOT's Bay State Bike Week participation is part of our Healthy Transportation Compact. Learn more about the Compact.

MassDOT Lends Helping Hand in Savoy

by Peter Niles
MassDOT, Director, District One Office, Lenox

Following last week's major snowfall in many parts of Massachusetts, our snow and ice crews were out in force as usual clearing state roadways. But we also pitch in when snow or ice creates an emergency for one of our communities. Such was the case in the Town of Savoy on Friday.

Emergency Management informed our District 1 office that an intersection and roads in Savoy were blocked or narrowed by snow banks four feet high. The problem was that the Town's equipment had broken down and no contractors were available.

MassDOT spoke with Scott Kozola, Chair of the Savoy Board of Selectman, to find out exactly what he needed done. By Saturday morning at 9am we had provided the Town two of our operators, a loader equipped with a snow blower and a four wheel drive backhoe. They went to work opening four feet of roadway in each direction along nearly a mile of Chapel Road and opened access to the Town transfer station. By mid-afternoon, the roads were opened and our crew was on its way.

Our MassDOT district office was pleased to help out in an emergency.

Check MassDOT on Flickr for more photos of the snow removal work in Savoy.

MassDOT Reform: Developers Real-Time Challenge

The MassDOT Developers Real-Time Challenge is underway. The Challenge calls on developers to create both software applications and physical installations using a real-time feed of MBTA bus locations and arrival predictions with the goal of making this information available anywhere, anytime. The challenge has two categories, with a $500 cash prize for the winner in each and recognition at a March event.

  • Software Applications Challenge: This challenge calls on developers to create applications using the MBTA Real-Time XML Trial Feed accessible through the internet, mobile phones, land-line phones, text messages, software applications and any widely accessible software platform. Examples include: smartphone applications, web applications, websites, computer applications, SMS services, and phone-based IVR systems.
  • Physical Installation Challenge: This challenge calls on developers to create physical installations making information from the MBTA Real-Time XML Trial Feed accessible in public locations. These solutions must be installed along at least one of the five MBTA Routes for which the feed is available on non-MBTA property. Examples include: LED countdown signs in businesses or other locations along the route, LCD countdown signs in businesses or other locations along the routes, bus arrival indicators, physical signs informing users of the existence of real-time data through the phone or on the web, or the inclusion of the MBTA real-time bus information in existing installations along the MBTA Bus routes. Rules and FAQ are here.

Applications and installations can be submitted through March 19, 2010.

Brightman Street Bridge Progress

Progress is plain to see from the air as the new Brightman Street Bridge takes shape over the Taunton River between Fall River and Somerset.

The existing bridge carrying Route 6 seen in the background dates to 1906. It carries 45,000 cars daily and because of lack of clearance must be opened often, causing traffic congestion.

The new bridge is a double leaf bascule or movable bridge that will carry the relocated Route 6 while providing 60 feet clearance above the water and 200 feet in horizontal opening from side-to-side, to the benefit of traffic above and below. The project began a decade ago and is one of the largest bridge projects in Commonwealth history. The $186 million contract, the largest and final of four separate contracts to build the bridge, is now in progress, with work continuing on the bascule girders that will allow opening of the bridge span. Completion of the bridge is scheduled for fall 2012. Learn more about MassDOT road and bridge projects across the state.

MassDOT Board April Public Meeting

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors will hold its next public business meeting on Wednesday, April 7, in Springfield. During 2010, meetings will be held in Springfield, Lowell, and Brockton, along with Boston. All meetings are open to the public.

The meeting schedule is available on the MassDOT website.

Winter Storms: Plan Ahead, Use Public Transportation

MassDOT encourages drivers to plan ahead and drive safely and commuters to use public transportation if possible during winter storms.

MassDOT encourages driving commuters to leave plenty of time for travel in order to help keep the roads clear for local plowing crews.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: MassDOT encourages residents to use public transportation whenever possible. Visit MBTA on the web. Locate Regional Transit Authorities here.

MassDOT winter driving tips are online.

If you must drive during a storm, prior to departure view MassDOT's live online traffic cameras here.