The MBTA announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has awarded the T with $2.96 million in funding for implementing transit signal priority and signal metrics to prioritize buses through 37 signalized intersections in Chelsea, Everett and Revere. The award is part of the Advanced Transportation Technology and Innovation (ATTAIN) program grant, a $52.78 million investment package under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). In this round, ATTAIN expanded eligibility for projects in communities previously lacking in investments, including rural areas and areas of persistent poverty.
“Your zip code shouldn’t determine whether you have access to safe, affordable transportation,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in the USDOT FHWA press release. “With President Biden’s investments in innovative technology, we’re helping communities make transportation safer and more efficient, particularly in places that haven’t received enough resources in the past.”
The MBTA’s project, which aligns with the Biden Administration’s environmental justice initiatives, was one of eight national projects selected to deliver innovative, technology-based solutions designed to improve the travel experience for the millions of Americans who use highway and transit systems. Communities benefiting from this grant award are home to some of the MBTA’s most transit-dependent riders and have historically lacked access to frequent and reliable bus service offering connections to the rest of the network.
“We congratulate the MBTA, especially the Transit Priority and the Capital Program Planning teams, for being awarded this critical funding that will ultimately result in faster bus trips in some of the MBTA’s most transit-dependent communities,” said Massachusetts Transportation Secretary and CEO Gina Fiandaca. “The improvements to come to these bus corridors prioritize reliable, equitable service, and we are grateful to the municipal leaders, members of the Commonwealth’s Congressional delegation, officials, and advocates for their collaboration on this win that builds us toward better service at the MBTA.”
“Thank you to the FHWA for awarding the T these funds. Upgrades to come as a result of this award include the technology to create a regional Automated Traffic Signal Performance Measurement (ATSPM) system that will support current and future intersections where the MBTA implements transit signal priority,” said MBTA General Manager and CEO Phillip Eng. “This will result in more efficient bus service for residents who rely on transit to get to and from work, school, healthcare appointments, and recreational opportunities. Thanks to the collaboration and support of everyone involved, the cities and towns we serve, key stakeholders and elected officials, MassDOT, and the Congressional delegation, I’m confident we will be able to deliver faster and more reliable transit service to our riders in these underserved communities.”
“In Everett, where our residents lack rapid transit service, it is imperative that we work together with our state and federal partners to make the existing bus service as efficient as possible,” said Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria. “We look forward to these investments as a building block for future improvements as part of Bus Network Redesign and the Silver Line Extension.”
“Many of Revere’s residents rely on the MBTA bus system to get to school, work, and to access services and amenities throughout the region,” said Revere Acting Mayor Patrick Keefe Jr. “These improvements will help support those residents, and hopefully entice new users to access a more efficient and reliable bus system. We applaud MBTA for their efforts in securing this grant and thank USDOT for their leadership in making this happen.”
The intersections to be upgraded under this grant award are part of Phase I of the Bus Network Redesign. This work is folded into the Better Bus Project, which focuses on improving system-wide bus service and emphasizes equity within high-frequency bus corridors. The design work for the project is expected to be complete by the end of 2024. Construction is expected to begin in 2025.