MBTA implementing new goals to improve safety and service

Aug. 25, 2023
MBTA is aiming to develop a culture that supports safety, modernize its system to improve connectivity, build a diverse workforce, improve ridership and openly communicate about the authority’s costs.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) is implementing new goals to improve safety, service, equity, sustainability and culture. 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 MBTA 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 its 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 MBTA’s ridership.
  • Support regional vitality by providing riders with dependable, frequent and accessible service.
  • Increase environmental sustainability to build the sustainability and resilience of MBTA’s 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 the authority’s costs and the revenue needed to support its ongoing service and the growth of its system.

“We are committed to providing a safe, reliable and accessible transportation system for Massachusetts,” said MBTA 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 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 several achievements:

  • A contract agreement with Amalgamated Transit Union 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.
  • The advancement of the DEI Employee Advisory Council to amplify the voices of staff as the authority sets a new path forward.

 “We believe these goals will help keep us focused,” said MBTA 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 revealed several near-term actions that are being taken to align its current operations with the goals. These actions include:

  • Refining the Capital Investment Plan (CIP) scoring process to ensure all CIP projects help advance the authority’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 the authority 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 authority’s environmental goals through the development of sustainability planning.
  • Building the authority’s goals into the performance management system for leadership.
  • Partnering with the Office of Transportation Planning on required planning activities, such as 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,” Eng said.