Welcome to the Urban Ring
The Urban Ring is a proposed major new bus rapid transit (BRT) system that would run in a roughly circular corridor serving employment centers, residential neighborhoods, and major educational and medical institutions in Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Medford and Somerville.
Download the Project Map
View the detailed Plan and Profile Drawings of the Urban Ring Phase 2 Locally Preferred Altnerative.
The Urban Ring would provide improved transit access by connecting residents to jobs and by providing more direct connections with the MBTA's existing radial rapid transit and commuter rail systems throughout the corridor.
The Urban Ring service and the connections it provides would improve transit travel times and system efficiency, create additional transit capacity, and reduce crowding in the central subway system. The Urban Ring strongly supports opportunities for transit oriented development and smart growth development.
On January 22, 2010, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) notified the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs that it was suspending further environmental review for the Urban Ring Phase 2 project.
This decision was made in the context of the challenging environment for funding MBTA expansion projects. The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization was unable to fit any portion of the project into the latest version of the Regional Transportation Plan (the fiscally-constrained 20-year planning document, inclusion in which is a prerequisite for the receipt of federal transportation funds).
This fact, coupled with the considerable ongoing maintenance needs of the MBTA system as documented in the independent "MBTA Review" report published in November 2009 by David D'Alessandro and his team (www.mbtareview.com/), has created a climate in which it would irresponsible to devote significant resources towards continual environmental review for a project so far from implementation.
MassDOT recognizes that continued transportation planning, civic engagement, and implementation of early action improvements within the Urban Ring corridor are essential for our transportation system. Therefore, MassDOT intends to proceed with aspects of the project following a three-part strategy:
(a) the implementation of bus rapid transit (BRT) service in high-value segments of the Urban Ring in a manner consistent with the recommendations of the November 2008 Revised Draft Environmental Impact Report;
(b) the pursuit of other BRT elements, such as the MBTA's ongoing Key Bus Routes initiative, as part of a coordinated strategy of achieving BRT levels of service on other routes in the corridor; and
(c) continued planning, analysis, and civic engagement for the full Project as an integrated system.
For more information on Urban Ring planning issues, please contact
Scott Hamwey, at 617-973-7210 or by email.