Office Of Transporatation Planning Massachusetts Department of transporatation
We Move Massachusetts - Shaping Our Future


4.0 YMM and WMM Themes

4.1 youMove Massachusetts

The youMove Massachusetts project sought customer input to help identify travel patterns, transportation needs and future priorities. MassDOT received more than 700 individual comments on mobility gaps and challenges in public forums, a web-based questionnaire, an online mapping tool, and other methods. Based on this wealth of information, the team recognized a number of common issues and developed ten core themes. They are listed – with their thematic logos – below:

Pocket Watch Theme 1: Improve Transportation System Reliability

Hard Hat Theme 2: Focus More Attention on Maintaining our Transportation System

Easel Theme 3: Design Transportation Systems Better

Walk Bike Car Theme 4: Encourage Shared Use of Infrastructure

Bowtie with sheep. Theme 5: Increase Capacity by Expanding Existing Facilities and Services

Dashboard GPS Theme 6: Create a More User-Friendly Transportation System

Diverse People Theme 7: Broaden the Transportation System to Serve More People

Scales balancing money and people Theme 8: Provide Adequate Transportation Funding and Collect Revenue Equitably

Tree Theme 9: Minimize Environmental Impacts

Open Door Theme 10: Improve Access to Our Transportation System

These themes articulated the concerns, needs, and aspirations of Massachusetts residents for their transportation network. Details on the responses, sample challenges presented by consumers, and other data can be found on the YMM website at

4.2 weMove Massachusetts

The themes developed in the YMM initiative served as the basis for learning more about customer needs and challenges in WMM. Although the WMM work coincided with a lengthy public discussion of potential fare increases and service cuts by the MBTA, MassDOT found that stakeholders easily focused on challenges, needs, and potential solutions for their transportation challenges.

The WMM interviews identified the following themes and suggestions:

  • Provide expanded hours of public transportation service (outside of the MBTA’s service area).
  • Strengthen dependability/reliability of service to ensure that transit users can reach jobs. appointments, and remain mobile (whether without a car due to choice, age, or income).
  • Update public transportation service to reflect demographic and employment changes.
  • Maintain and improve pedestrian infrastructure: build sidewalks, use Complete Streets as a model, and consider lighting and crosswalk conditions.
  • Consider the economic impact of the cost of transportation as it impacts accessibility and disabled, lower income and limited English proficiency populations.
  • Provide travel training, more and better information on transit and multimodal travel.

The WMM questionnaire identified similar themes:

  • Expand public transportation service (more frequent and longer hours).
  • Provide more reliable service – respondents pointed to the unpredictability of using public transportation.
  • Maintain existing public transportation and roadways more efficiently.
  • Provide more and better infrastructure (sidewalks and bike lanes) for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The WMM responses also suggest the need to examine priorities by subgroups. For example, the needs of customers may differ by geographic regions (statewide urban, Boston and rural) and they may have different priorities.

How do the WMM responses correlate with the themes developed in the YMM process? The analysis shows similar concerns and suggests actions that MassDOT may consider in its transportation prioritization effort. The WMM ideas and challenges reported in the questionnaires and interviews fit comfortably within the framework of YMM’s ten themes. The difference is one of emphasis, with the WMM report stressing themes and needs related to economics, access to service, transit that connects people to jobs, multimodal infrastructure improvements, sensitivity to cost, and more education and travel training.

  • Access, reliability, and transit linked to jobs were topics strongly represented in the information provided from the communities described as Rural and Statewide Urban for the WMM data analysis. These communities are served primarily by regional transit agencies, commuter rail, and private bus service. The respondents seek more frequent service, longer hours of service and better connections to jobs and economic centers, suggesting that service patterns are out of date and failing to connect the lowest income workers in many communities to economic opportunity. Many of the Rural and Statewide Urban communities have high population density and low incomes; in the views of respondents, they also offer insufficient transportation infrastructure. Related YMM themes: Reliability, Capacity, Broaden the System, Access
  • The responses show support for Complete Streets approaches, multimodal facilities, and improved pedestrian safety (sidewalks and lighting) in almost every type of community, from rural to urban. More funding is needed for transportation, according to the respondents, and it should be equitable, especially for seniors and the disabled. Many interviews described a large number of seniors across the state needing education to navigate the transportation system efficiently, especially because so many have driven cars their entire lives. Related YMM Themes: Funding and Equity, Access, User Friendly, Reliability, Shared Use
  • Respondents stressed the need for linguistically appropriate materials and rider and driver training to improve the riding experience and make it user friendly. Related YMM Themes: User Friendly, Broaden the System
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