The new report from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation offered a number of suggestions for addressing traffic congestion. Key recommendations included:
■ Increase MBTA capacity and ridership
The report says the MBTA must continue to invest in the improvement and modernization of its infrastructure and fleets. It suggests that employers encourage employees to use public transit by subsidizing transit passes for employees, charging market-rate prices for onsite parking, and providing shuttles to MBTA stations.
■ Enhance bus service at the MBTA and regional transit authorities
The report says that “the MBTA now assumes that buses will travel at 11.5 miles per hour on average, the slowest speeds since data has been made available.” It says dedicated bus lanes and signals that prioritize buses (by holding green lights longer or shortening red lights) could help keep buses moving on increasingly congested streets. The report suggests that transportation officials work together to identify opportunities for bus services that will ease congestion, such as expanding existing commuter bus services and providing connections to and from the MBTA commuter rail.
■ Encourage employers to support telecommuting and remote working
The report says employers could offer cash incentives to employees who forgo employer parking benefits. It also says the Baker-Polito administration has filed legislation that proposes a managed tax credit program that would provide a $2,000 credit for every employee who no longer commutes.
■ Improve traffic “bottleneck” areas with better signage and signals
The reports says MassDOT will focus on bottlenecks that can be redesigned and reconstructed to improve the flow of traffic. The report also says that MassDOT will “quickly implement the new $50 million grant program proposed in the transportation bond bill to help cities and towns tackle local bottle-necks with modestly-priced but proven inter-ventions like smart traffic signals, better signage, re-striping roadways and making smaller configuration changes that can produce big results.”
■ Clear crashes faster
The report says that MassDOT will work with the Legislature to enact legislation that promotes faster clearance of crashes. “The Move It Legislation, filed as part of the Transportation Bond Bill, would require motorists to move their vehicles to a safe location in the event of a minor incident if they are able to do so, to avoid creating congestion and potentially causing secondary incidents,” the report states.
■ Create infrastructure to support shared travel modes
The report says MassDOT will launch a yearlong effort to identify potential locations for HOV lanes, commuter park-and-ride lots, and dedicated bus lanes to increase the use of carpooling, buses, and shuttles.
■ Congestion pricing
The report says that MassDOT will investigate the feasibility of implementing “managed lanes” — new toll lanes that drivers could pay to use for a quicker ride — on one or more highways in Greater Boston.