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Next Stop: The Future of Mass Mobility

The pandemic had many effects on transportation and travel. Besides emptying streets and trains and buses, it prompted the federal government to provide billions of dollars to keep transit running and gave transit planners a chance to see what was working and what could be improved. Coupled with the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, there is now an unprecedented opportunity to make major changes to improve transportation. What will those changes look like ?

Join Transportation for Massachusetts, GBH News and GBH Forum Network as we partner to host a series of four on-line episodes to reflect on the state of public transit in Massachusetts and discuss what the future could look like.

  • Accessibility is central to transportation. For people with disabilities and for our aging population, access is a deal-maker. While the Americans with Disability Act has been the law for decades, the MBTA and other transit agencies are making slow progress towards providing full accessibility. How is the MBTA prioritizing accessibility improvements, and what are the partnerships that are necessary to success? In addition, the advent of e-bikes have made cycling more accessible and convenient for many more people than conventional bikes. What is needed for e-bikes to realize their potential and to encourage widespread adoption. The panel for Next Stop: Mobility for all, moderated by GBH News Reporter, Bob Seay, includes Laura Brelsford, MBTA Assistant General Manager for System Wide Accessibility, Reggie Ramos, Director of Inclusive Public Transit at the Institute for Human Centered Design, and Sarah Dylan Breuer, Co-host of Bike Talk, KPFK radio. ### Resources [Accessibility at the MBTA](https://www.mbta.com/accessibility) [History of Accessibility at the T](https://www.mbta.com/accessibility/history) [Current Accessibility Initiatives](https://cdn.mbta.com/sites/default/files/2021-12/2021-12-03-swa-initiatives.pdf) [How to Get Involved](https://www.mbta.com/accessibility/get-involved) [Public Meeting on Status of Settlement Agreement](https://www.mbta.com/events/2022-06-08/public-meeting-accessibility-and-daniels-finegold-v-mbta-settlement-update) [An Act to Reduce Traffic Fatalities](https://malegislature.gov/Bills/192/S2273) [MBTA Bus Network Redesign](https://www.mbta.com/projects/bus-network-redesign)
    Partner:
    Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA)
  • The pandemic also saw many roads and streets emptied of traffic, and more demand for safe outdoor spaces. Planners took a fresh look at how we used pavement, while MassDOT and the Barr Foundation provided new funding programs for cities and towns to create new outdoor dining and parks, while accelerating the buildup of dedicated lanes for buses, bikes and pedestrians. In just the last 2 years, 183 communities have created 310 projects with the Shared Streets and Spaces program, while several cities and towns have established new dedicated lanes for buses and bikes. What are the results, who wins and loses when we relocate our limited pavement, and what should we expect in the coming years? Bob Seay, GBH News Reporter, will moderate the discussion. Guest panelists are: Christian MilNeil, Editor in Chief, Streetsblog.org, Lisa Jacobson, Senior Program Officer, Mobility at Barr Foundation, Elijah Evans, Executive Director Bikes Not Bombs and Jay Monty, Transportation Planner, City of Everett.
    Partner:
    Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA)
  • Public transportation needs to change to be clean, reliable and more attractive to riders. That requires money. Over the next five years Massachusetts will receive more than 9 billion dollars in new federal infrastructure funding. This is in addition to existing state and federal funding for transportation. What are our needs for investments and for operations? Is there enough funding to make our transit system modern, climate-friendly, reliable and safe? At a time when we need to slash carbon emissions and pollution from transportation, and encourage more people to take transit. What are the funding priorities? Join Josh Ostroff,of the Transportation for Massachusetts Coalition, Lizzi Weyant of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, and Brian Kane, Executive Director of the MBTA Advisory Board for this informative discussion moderated by Bob Seay of GBH. ### Resources [MBTA 2023-2027 Capital Improvement Plan - Oversight Report](https://mbtaadvisoryboard.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/AB_CIP_oversightFINAL4-29-22.pdf) [MBTA Proposed Fare Tariff Changes for FY 23 - Oversight Report](https://mbtaadvisoryboard.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/MBTAFareTariffOversightReport3-8-22.pdf) [FY2022 MBTA Operating Budget Oversight Report](http://mbtaadvisoryboard.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/FY22MBTAOpsBud.pdf) [Born Broke How too much debt and a faltering financing source threaten the MBTA](https://mbtaadvisoryboard.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Born_Broke.pdf) [Article in the Commonwealth Magazine](https://commonwealthmagazine.org/transportation/let-the-mbta-plan-its-own-future/) [MAPC ARPA Investment priorities](https://www.mapc.org/resource-library/arpa-priorities/) [MAPC list of IIJA resources](https://www.mapc.org/resource-library/iija/) [MAPC transportation finance recommendations](https://www.mapc.org/planning101/mapc-releases-transportation-finance-recommendations/)
    Partner:
    Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA)
  • At the start of the pandemic, federal subsidies helped to keep public transit running even though there were few passengers. There was less of a need to collect fares and in fact many Regional Transit Authorities did not. Boston Mayor Michelle Wu first promoted the idea of free bus service as a city councilor, the idea became reality when she took office. Using 8 million dollars in federal Covid relief money, Mayor Wu made 3 of the busiest routes in Boston free for the next 2 years. Other transit agencies like the Merrimack Valley and Worcester RTAs are also adopting fare free models. And the creation of a means-tested fare system to make transit more affordable for low income riders is under consideration by the MBTA with the encouragement of many transit advocacy groups. We will look at the pros and cons of making mass transit more affordable. How do we create free fares, or lower fares for low-income riders? What would affordable transportation look like? What is the effect on ridership? And what will happen to the current fare free pilots when the COVID-19 relief funds are depleted? ### Resources [UnFare Deal report: How Fare Policy at Baker’s MBTA Transfers Wealth from Riders to Corporations](https://publictransitpublicgood.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/PTPG_Un-Fare-Deal-Report.pdf) [H. 4481 An Act Relative to Low Income Fares](https://malegislature.gov/Bills/192/H4481) [Low-Income Fare savings white paper](https://publictransitpublicgood.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/PTPG_Low-Income-Fare-Savings-Report-1.pdf) [Polling from MassINC](https://www.massincpolling.com/the-topline/poll-massachusetts-voters-support-new-transportation-investment-taxing-million-dollar-earners) [Fair Share Amendment](https://www.raiseupma.org/fair-share-amendment-2022/) [A low-income fare at the MBTA would bolster struggling Massachusetts families with $500 annual savings per rider](https://publictransitpublicgood.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/PTPG_Low-Income-Fare-Savings-Report-1.pdf)
    Partner:
    Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA)