Cover for the UPWP FFY 2018 Report.


Executive Summary


The Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) produced by the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) explains how the Boston region’s federal transportation planning funds will be spent in a given federal fiscal year (FFY). Specifically, the UPWP is a financial plan that is produced in order to comply with the federally mandated metropolitan transportation planning process (also called the 3C Planning Process).

Of all the possible transportation planning studies and technical analyses that could be undertaken to benefit the region, the UPWP plays a critical role in prioritizing the studies that are conducted, defining their scopes and budgets, and ensuring that their outcomes help move us closer to achieving our transportation goals as a region.

Additionally, the UPWP serves as a source for the following information:

What is an MPO?

MPO stands for Metropolitan Planning Organization.

In order to receive federal transportation funds, each urbanized area (with a population of 50,000 or more) must conduct an ongoing transportation planning process (a.k.a the 3C process) that engages state and local governments as well as other stakeholders.

MPOs are the entities tasked with carrying out this planning process. The Boston Region MPO is made up of a decision-making board that is supported by the Central Transportation Planning Staff, staff to the MPO.


How is the Boston Region defined?

The Boston region encompasses an area of approximately 1,405 square miles and is made up of 101 cities and towns stretching from Boston to Ipswich in the north, Duxbury in the south, and west to Interstate 495. It is home to more than three million people and approximately two million jobs. The diverse communities in the MPO area range from relatively rural communities, such as Dover, to the urban centers of Boston and Cambridge. Therefore, transportation planning must take into account demographic, cultural, environmental, and mobility diversity.

How does the UPWP relate to the goals of the Boston Region MPO?

The Boston Region MPO plans for the transportation future of the Boston region. The MPO is guided by a 25-year vision for a modern, safe, equitable, sustainable, and technologically advanced transportation system for the region, which is described in the MPO’s Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), Charting Progress to 2040. The transportation planning work funded through the UPWP is an integral part of achieving this regional vision.

The transportation goals of the Boston region (see Figure 1-2, in Chapter 1) include:

In addition to the LRTP and the UPWP, the MPO also produces the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for the Boston region. As the near-term investment plan of the MPO, the TIP describes and prioritizes transportation construction projects that are expected to be implemented during a five-year period. Figure ES-1 illustrates the relationship between the LRTP goals and visions, the planning foundation of the MPO (the UPWP), the TIP, and the feedback loop for monitoring progress towards the region’s goals as well as continuously evaluating our approach to achieving them.

The “3C” Planning Process

The 3 Cs define an approach to meaningful transportation planning and are required by the federal government:


Figure ES-1
Links between LRTP, TIP, and UPWP

This figure shows the relationships between the planning and programming documents that the MPO creates in order to guide transportation planning and investment throughout the region. The figure shows the relationships between the LRTP, TIP, and UPWP. Performance measures and performance targets allow the MPO to monitor progress and evaluate their approach to transportation planning and improvements in the region.

What are “federal metropolitan planning funds”?

The federal government regulates the funding, planning, and operation of surface transportation through the federal transportation program (enacted into law through Titles 23 and 49 of the United States Code). The most recent reauthorization of the surface transportation law is called the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.

Federal funding that supports much of the work described in this UPWP comes from two main sources: the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Federal funding is broken down as follows:

Are there other funding sources in the UPWP?

Yes! In addition to MPO-funded work, the Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS) performs planning analyses and studies funded by state transportation agencies, including MassDOT, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), and the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport). More detail about these agency-funded studies can be found in Chapter 7. For FFY 2018, the agency funding in this UPWP includes the following:

Objectives of the MPO

In carrying out the 3C transportation planning process, the MPO aims to achieve the following objectives:



Throughout the following chapters, you will see detailed information on work programs, studies, support activities, and technical analyses that fall into the following categories:

Table ES-1 contains the budget allocated to reflect the MPO’s continuing, comprehensive, and cooperative (3C) transportation planning activities. Funding for 3C planning consists of Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) metropolitan planning (PL) funds and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Section 5303 funds, which the Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS) and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) expect to spend in federal fiscal year (FFY) 2018. The table also reflects the CTPS work funded by other transportation agencies.

Table ES-1: FFY 2018 Unified Planning Work Program Budget

3C Studies & Programs by CTPS Budget Categories

3C PL Funds

Section 5303 Funds

FFY 2018 Budget

Administration, Resource Management, and Support Activities

 $     1,103,628

 $        535,332

 $     1,638,960

MPO Certification Requirements

 $     1,203,722

 $        445,003

 $     1,648,725

Continuing MPO-Funded Planning Studies and Technical Analyses

 $        117,300

 $          88,630

 $        205,930

New MPO-Funded Discrete Studies

 $        507,900

 $        197,100

 $        705,000

Direct Support

 $          60,000

 $          23,000

 $          83,000

Total for CTPS 3C Studies and Programs

 $     2,992,550

 $     1,289,065

 $     4,281,615

Total for Agency-Funded CTPS Project Work



 $     1,575,070

Total CTPS Budget (3C + Agency Work)



 $     5,856,685

3C Studies & Programs by MAPC Budget Categories

3C PL Funds

Section 5303 Funds

FFY 2018 Budget

MAPC Planning Studies and Technical Analyses

 $           382,905

 $           201,897

 $        584,802

MAPC Administration, Resource Management, and Support Activities

 $           319,051

 $           125,400

 $        444,451

Total MAPC 3C Budget

 $           701,956

 $           327,297

 $     1,029,253

Total 3C Budget Subtotal by Funding Program


 $        3,694,506

 $        1,616,362

 $     5,310,868

(CTPS 3C Budget + MAPC 3C Budget)

 (CTPS 3C Budget + CTPS Agency-Funded Budget + MAPC 3C Budget)

$   6,885,938



Developing the UPWP

The annual process of creating the UPWP includes both generating and evaluating ideas for new studies, as well as updating the scopes and anticipated deliverables for ongoing technical analysis activities, certification requirements, and administrative support activities.

Ideas for new studies come from a combination of:

Ideas for new studies are compiled into the Universe of New Studies, and each proposed study is evaluated and selected for funding based on the following criteria: how it helps the region accomplish the LRTP goals, the mode(s) it addresses, the scale of the study, the time frame and type of impact it is anticipated to result in, whether it furthers some body of existing work, and whether it has been funded in the past or is a completely new idea.

The MPO continually seeks to improve its process through inclusive and collaborative decision-making. For this reason, the MPO seeks to involve a broad and diverse range of stakeholders throughout the UPWP development process.

In the coming years, staff will seek to increase public input into the Universe of New Studies and then engage participants in discussing, evaluating, and eventually prioritizing studies for inclusion in the UPWP. We are working to expand our communication channels to include:

As described above, Chapters 5 through 8 provide detailed information about all of the transportation-planning activities that will be undertaken by CTPS during FFY 2018. The new studies chosen for funding in FFY 2018 are summarized below in Table ES-2 and described in more detail in Chapter 6.


Table ES-2
FFY 2018 New Discrete Funded Studies

Project ID


Project Name

Estimated Cost


Active transportation

Bicycle Level-of-Service Metric



Land use, environment, and economy

Transportation Mitigation of Major Developments: Review of Strategies



Multimodal mobility

Safety and Operations Analysis at Selected Intersections



Multimodal Mobility

Potential Impacts of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles



Multimodal mobility

Travel Alternatives to Regional Traffic Bottlenecks



Multimodal mobility

Addressing Safety, Mobility, and
Access on Subregional Priority
Roadways 2018



Multimodal mobility

Addressing Priority Corridors from the Long-Range Transportation Plan Needs Assessment 2018




Community Transportation Program Development




Review of and Guide to Regional Transit Signal Priority



Other technical support

MPO Staff-Generated Research Topics 2018








What is the public review process?

As noted above, public outreach forms a major part of the input into the UPWP every FFY. Towards the end of the UPWP development process, the MPO votes to release a draft document for public review that describes ongoing and new UPWP studies and includes financial information. The Draft UPWP also summarizes the document’s development to date and relevant transportation-planning studies in the Boston region that are being conducted by other organizations.

The MPO invites the public to comment on the Draft UPWP following its release. MPO staff posts the document for downloading, and publicizes its release via the MPO’s website (, Twitter account, and MPOinfo email list. MPOinfo is the MPO email distribution list; the list includes MPO Board members, municipal TIP contacts, and all other interested public and stakeholders in the region. The email is used to keep all of these contacts informed about upcoming opportunities for public comment and involvement, and other current events of the MPO. Additionally, MPO staff solicits public input during CTPS Office Hours and at public events hosted by CTPS or our transportation partners, (e.g., MassDOT and the MBTA). MPO staff compiles all of the comments made during this period and presents them to the MPO.

Information about the public review process for the Draft FFY 2018 UPWP is provided in Appendix B.

How are progress and outcomes monitored?

The MPO monitors the progress of studies funded through the UPWP by approving detailed work programs and scopes, reviewing monthly progress reports, keeping track of UPWP study budgets and updates on actual spending, and approving the release of deliverables based on whether the objectives stated in the work program were met and whether the state deliverables were produced.



The transportation planning process

Title 23, Section 134 of the Federal-Aid Highway Act and Section 5303 of the Federal Transit Act, as amended, require that urbanized areas, in order to be eligible for federal funds, conduct a 3C transportation-planning process, resulting in plans and programs consistent with the planning objectives of the metropolitan area. In complying with this requirement, the Boston Region MPO established specific objectives that guide our 3C planning process.

As part of our 3C process, the Boston Region MPO annually produces the TIP and the UPWP. These documents, along with the quadrennial LRTP, are referred to as Certification Documents (described in Chapter 2, Section 2.1.2) and are required for the MPO’s process of being certified to meet federal requirements; this certification is a prerequisite for receiving federal transportation funds. In addition to the requirement to produce the LRTP, the TIP, and the UPWP, the MPO must establish and conduct an inclusive public participation process, as well as maintain transportation models and data resources to support air quality conformity determinations, transportation equity analyses, and long- and short-range planning work and initiatives.

The Boston Region MPO

The Boston Region MPO consists of a 22 voting member board that includes state agencies, regional organizations, and municipalities; its jurisdiction extends from Boston north to Ipswich, south to Duxbury, and west to Interstate 495. There are 101 cities and towns that make up this area (see Chapter 1, Figure 1-1).

The permanent MPO voting members are:

The elected MPO voting members are municipalities. A municipality from each of the eight MAPC subregions has a seat, and there are four at-large municipal seats, split between cities and towns. The current elected members are:

In addition, the FHWA and the FTA participate in the MPO as advisory (nonvoting) members. Details about MPO voting members are provided in Chapter 2. Figure 2-1 shows MPO membership and organization of the CTPS, staff to the MPO.

Metropolitan Area Planning Council Subregional Groups

The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) is the regional planning agency for the 101-municipality Boston region and is also a member agency of the MPO.

To enhance the regional planning process, the Boston region is divided into eight subregional groups that include municipal representatives. These groups are better able to focus on planning topics that are of particular importance to their subregion:



This UPWP document is structured as follows:

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