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On the Trans Blog
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.

Chatham Mitchell River Bridge ABP Public Hearing

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.

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!

The Road to Reform

RMV: New Web Service, Branch Kiosks

MassDOT's Registry of Motor Vehicles has introduced two initiatives to eliminate the need to wait in line and make it easier for customers to cancel and return their license plates.

An average 45,000 customers each month visit a branch to cancel vehicle registrations. Previously, they had to wait in line to turn in their plates and receive proof of cancellation. Now, customers have two new options to cancel old license plates:

  • Visit the RMV's online branch at www.mass.gov/rmv to verify plate cancellation. Customers are instructed to destroy or recycle their license plates and need not visit a branch to return them.
  • A pilot program available in the Watertown branch and expanded to Wilmington, Brockton and Plymouth by the end of the month, allows customers to return their plates using a touch-screen kiosk in the branch lobby without waiting in line. Customers will use the touch-screen kiosk to print their own cancellation notices and deposit their canceled plates into the kiosk.

The RMV is investigating the potential to add other simple registry services to the self-help kiosks, such as paying citations.

Over the last 18 months, the RMV has also added a new interactive licensing service and a dozen transactions to www.mass.gov/rmv, which has increased online customer service by 39% and made the online branch the busiest.

Customers who apply for a new license or want to convert an out-of-state license can now perform most of the paperwork online and be fully prepared and save time to complete the transaction in a branch. Online services include license and registration renewals, ordering a Fast Lane transponder, driving record and crash police report, reviewing a registration, title, or lien, and signing up to be an organ and tissue donor.

Visit our online branch and join the new electronic reminder service for license renewals.


T Ridership Goes Up in January

William Mitchell
Posted by William Mitchell
Acting MBTA General Manager

Ridership data for the first month of 2010 is now available, and I'm pleased to report that the MBTA is off to good start this year. On a typical weekday in January, the MBTA's multi-modal system averaged 1.21 million daily passenger trips - an increase of almost two percent (1.9%) over January 2009.

The biggest jump was in bus ridership, which averaged 362,200 passenger trips per weekday in January. While the increase of 1.9% may appear to be a modest one, it's important to note that it marks the T's largest spike in ridership in fifteen months. October 2008 was the last time the MBTA experienced an increase higher than 1.9%.

In fact, January was only the second time in fourteen months that ridership did not drop (when compared to the same month a year earlier). As an integral part of the Commonwealth's economic engine, MassDOT and the MBTA are committed to maintaining a transit system that makes public transportation an attractive alternative for commuters and others. This objective was reinforced last week when the MassDOT Board of Directors approved a Fiscal Year 2011 MBTA Budget that avoids service cuts and fare increases. Please visit our website to learn more about the MBTA.

The American Public Transportation Association says Americans took more than 10 billion trips on public transportation in 2009- the fourth year in a row that so many travelers and commuters are seeing the value and convenience in using public transportation. Read the latest.


Walk and Bike the Longfellow Bridge


Posted by Luisa Paiewonsky
MassDOT Highway Division Administrator

Whether you are cycling to work, walking to the Charles/MGH station, jogging over the Longfellow Bridge, or driving through Charles Circle, I hope you've noticed the new signs and freshly painted bike lanes and crosswalks we just installed earlier this week. In order to improve safe travel for all users, MassDOT employees have replaced and installed a number of traffic signs, including thirteen new signs to increase drivers' awareness of cyclists and pedestrians. MassDOT Highway crews painted and marked with bicycle emblems the bike lanes on both sides of the bridge, and re-painted ten pedestrian crosswalks and stop lines at Charles Circle.

I hope you find the Longfellow Bridge and Charles Circle to be a safer and more enjoyable place to walk, ride, and drive. The Longfellow Bridge will receive many more improvements in the coming years, including, most immediately, ADA-compliant sidewalks as part of our Early Action work set to begin this spring. Our top priority is to improve safety and access for all our users and that's why it was important for us to implement these preliminary safety improvements for our pedestrians and cyclists as soon as possible.

The restoration and rehabilitation of the Longfellow Bridge is part of Governor Patrick's historic Accelerated Bridge Program to repair bridges in every corner of the Commonwealth. Learn more.


Community Engagement in Worcester: Burns Bridge

MassDOT held a public information meeting Thursday evening at Worcester Technical High School to provide the public with an opportunity to learn more about the proposed bridge replacement alternatives for the Kenneth Burns Bridge.

Approximately 50 community members attended including Sen. Harriette Chandler, Rep. Vincent Pedone, Worcester City Councilor Kate Toomey, Phu Mai from the office of Rep. Karyn Polito and Selectman Maurice DePalo from the town of Shrewsbury. Boating community members, local business owners and a Worcester Telegram and Gazette reporter also attended. Project design consultant TransSystem gave an overview of the existing conditions and presented four proposed designs. Issues raised included traffic management during construction, raising the clearance height of the bridge, and the anticipated construction impact on local business.

Learn more about the Burns Bridge project.


$72.5 Million in Fed Stimulus Boosts Transit

The Patrick-Murray Administration this week announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation with the support of the Massachusetts congressional delegation has awarded the Commonwealth $72.5 million in federal stimulus funding for numerous transit improvements, including two much-needed MBTA Red Line projects at busy stations in Quincy and Braintree. Both projects will address critical infrastructure issues to maintain safe and reliable subway service and create dozens of jobs.

At Braintree Station, deteriorated concrete platform sections will be replaced and new lighting and warning strips installed. The project will begin in June and be completed in one year.

At North Quincy Station, the platform edge on both sides of the island platform will be replaced with a new poured-in-place edge, including new tactile tiles, along with platform surface concrete repairs.

The federal stimulus funding grants also include Back Bay Station improvements to replace the leaking roof and improve ventilation, along with Phase 2 of improvements at Ashmont Station. Learn more about American Recovery and Reinvestment projects.


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.