5.0 Recommendations and Next Steps
As MassDOT implements a robust system for prioritizing its transportation investments, customer input will remain an important factor in planning and implementing policies and programs. Through the youMove Massachusetts and weMove Massachusetts outreach projects, MassDOT learned about the concerns, needs, and aspirations of its customers. The difference between the two sets of data is largely one of emphasis, with the WMM respondents focusing on themes and needs related to economics, reliability, access to service, longer hours of transit service, transit that connects people to jobs, sensitivity to cost, and more education and travel training.
The team suggests two steps for MassDOT to consider as it moves forward with its multimodal program:
- Maintain and enhance customer relationships. The WMM interviews revealed that many stakeholder leaders had little knowledge of or direct contact with MassDOT statewide. Leaders of transit-oriented groups had more knowledge but, in some cases, not a deep understanding of the range of challenges MassDOT faces in maintaining or expanding infrastructure. Providing regular updates and occasional briefings could broaden knowledge and understanding on the part of stakeholder leaders and customers, as well as provide input to the prioritization process. As the Commonwealth seeks to develop a comprehensive transportation financing plan, input by stakeholders and leaders could translate into support for long-term financing changes. In addition to the leaders who participated, the team can point out where better relationships could be developed in areas where outreach was not as successful or there should be further dialogue. MassDOT will continue to benefit by working with the voices heard in the YMM and WMM projects.
- Continue and deepen the assessment process. While the team is confident that the WMM interview and questionnaire results provide insights into existing transportation challenges, the data are qualitative. MassDOT could undertake more systematic testing of the themes with rigorous sampling of specific populations and sub-groups. This analysis could inform specific policies or changes. In addition, this outreach did not, in the team’s judgment, reach enough non-English speakers. More work with these communities and more systematic testing of hypotheses could generate ideas and support for future projects and financing.