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MBTA Announces Vision to Improve Safety, Service, Equity, Sustainability, and Culture

Posted on August 24, 2023

At the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Board of Directors Meeting today, MBTA General Manager and CEO Phillip Eng and Assistant General Manager Lynsey M. Heffernan announced the agency’s values, goals, and metrics to improve safety, service, equity, sustainability, and culture, building on our mission to provide the public accessible and reliable transportation. The goals were developed through a collaborative process with MBTA staff and stakeholders.

“Thanks to input from MBTA employees and our valued partners within transportation advocacy organizations, we have new strategic goals which underscore our commitment to improving the MBTA to make it safer, more reliable, resilient, and equitable,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Gina Fiandaca. “We intend to bring a new level of transparency, public engagement, and capital investment to the MBTA, and we will succeed with workforce investments, collaboration, and decisions that prioritize safety.”

The goals are as follows:

  • Empower and support staff to develop a culture which prioritizes and promotes safety.
  • Modernize assets to improve connectivity while ensuring MBTA property is maintained to a state of good repair.
  • Transparent decision making to ensure the experiences and perspectives of our staff and riders are accounted for through transparent decision making.
  • Building a diverse and qualified workforce to retain, attract, and invest in a diverse and qualified workforce that represents our ridership.
  • Support regional vitality by providing riders with dependable, frequent, and accessible service.
  • Increase environmental sustainability to build the sustainability and resilience of our transit system.
  • Increase the percentage of transit trips in the region by attracting new riders and retaining existing riders with a dependable, frequent, and accessible service.
  • Communicate openly about our costs and the revenue needed to support our ongoing service and the growth of our system.

“We are committed to providing a safe, reliable, and accessible transportation system for Massachusetts,” said General Manager Phil Eng. “We are listening to the feedback of our riders and stakeholders, and we are using that feedback to shape our vision and our roadmap. It is only with them that we can make this mission a reality. We know we sometimes face challenges, but we are confident that we can overcome them. We are committed to making the MBTA a public transportation system that everyone can rely on.” 

The development of metrics for tracking progress towards these goals will be finalized in the coming months. In recent months, the MBTA has made a number of achievements, including the following, all aligned with these values, goals, and metrics: 

  • A contract agreement with Local 589, which provides staff with wage increases, improved benefits, and job security;
  • Amplified hiring efforts, which are helping to address staffing shortages;  
  • Ferry service expansion, which made it easier for riders to get around the region; and
  • The advancement of the DEI Employee Advisory Council to amplify the voices of staff as the Authority sets a new path forward. 

The MBTA's goals and metrics are a significant step forward in the agency's efforts to improve its safety, service, equity, sustainability, and culture. They provide a clear roadmap for the MBTA's future and will help ensure that the agency continues to be a vital part of Massachusetts and the New England region.

“We believe these goals will help keep us focused,” said Assistant General Manager for Policy and Transit Planning, Lynsey Heffernan. “We’re serving vibrant and diverse communities with rich history and culture who deserve to be able to rely on us for public transit services. The more in tune we are with our collective vision, the more likely we will be able to deliver on that vision.”

In addition to the goals, the MBTA also announced a number of near-term actions that it is taking to align its current operations with the goals. These actions include:

  • Refining the Capital Investment Plan scoring process to ensure that all CIP projects help advance the agency's goals.
  • Finalizing agency-wide metrics and a high-level dashboard to assess progress and set benchmarks and targets.
  • Developing a Workforce Culture assessment to ensure that the agency is taking action to create a culture of safety and inclusion with a focus on hiring needs across all departments, including assessing collective bargaining where necessary.
  • Meeting the agency's environmental goals through the development of sustainability planning.
  • Building the agency's goals into the performance management system for leadership.
  • Partnering with the Office of Transportation Planning on required planning activities, like the next Program for Mass Transportation, which provides a public process for stakeholders to weigh in on the costs and trade-offs of potential long-term investments.

“With the help of our staff, stakeholders, and the public, we can and will make the MBTA an even safer, more reliable, and accessible transportation system for everyone,” concluded General Manager Eng.  

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