In 2016, U.S. News and World Report ranked the Massachusetts economy No. 1 in the country. Its transportation infrastructure, however, was ranked 45th out of 50. The Commonwealth’s transit system has been unable to keep pace with increasing demand, and unless the chronic lack of a sustainable funding mechanism is addressed, these inadequacies will impede long-term economic growth. To determine how best to tackle these transportation issues, the Massachusetts State Senate reached out to their constituents to identify key values, goals, and priorities. The Senate collaborated with the Barr Foundation, which seeks to advance sustainable transportation and development as part of its climate program.
At the urging of the Massachusetts Senate and Barr, CBI conceived of MassMoves as a way to engage residents in articulating a statewide vision for a 21st-century transportation system. CBI partnered with Raab Associates, Trimont Consulting, and Mass, Inc. to undertake the work. MassMoves hosted nine highly interactive workshops with citizens across the state and one additional workshop with business leaders. In total, MassMoves engaged more than 700 Massachusetts residents, organizations, and business people from every county. The workshops were conducted in conjunction with the State Senate’s Commonwealth Conversations listening tour, a series of forums across the state in which senators heard directly from residents within each region. (Those who could not attend the workshops were invited to complete an online survey.)
MassMoves findings show a high demand for action, with 94 percent of participants agreeing that transportation improvements need to be an even higher priority for elected officials—even if those improvements require new revenue sources. Improved and expanded public transit was a top priority for citizens in all regions of the state. Through MassMoves identifying citizens’ shared values, goals, and priorities, the State Senate believes it can help realize a compelling, forward-thinking, 21st-century vision for the state’s transportation network.