MassDOT Touts 2023 Multimodal Trail Construction

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation noted it built and opened approximately 20 miles of shared use paths in 2023, while also expanding multimodal connectivity and opportunities for recreation statewide as well as enhancing pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

[Above photo by MassDOT]

The 20 miles of shared paths that opened in 2023 was the result of completed projects, either constructed by MassDOT or jointly funded through the MassTrails program, along 14 different trails across Massachusetts. 

In May 2023, the MassTrails Team officially launched its Priority Trails Network map. By the end of 2024, the agency said 25 additional miles of shared paths are expected to open statewide, further expanding multimodal connectivity for Massachusetts.

Throughout the course of 2023, MassDOT said it also completed dozens of roadway projects that added new bike lanes, sidewalks, shared use paths, and crosswalks. Additionally, MassDOT continued to support improvements in school zones and the expansion of shared paths and trails through programs like Safe Routes to School, Shared Streets and Spaces, Complete Streets, and MassTrails, which have all helped to prioritize investments in municipalities to create safer, multimodal travel.

Monica Tibbits-Nutt. Photo by MassDOT.

“I want to commend our dedicated teams at MassDOT for the progress they made over the course of 2023 to give our communities more miles of multimodal connectivity,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Monica Tibbits-Nutt in a statement

“These projects are designed to make our transportation network safer, more practical and more inclusive for all users,” she added. “We have many achievements to be proud of – and great momentum for 2024.”

“When we expand and enhance our inventory of multimodal paths, we are not just removing barriers to biking and walking, but setting the foundations for healthier, safer, more prosperous communities,” noted Peter Sutton, MassDOT bicycle and pedestrian coordinator.

“This success was possible thanks to our team’s great dedication, as well as the invaluable collaboration of the community leaders and advocates who continue to work with us on behalf of those who rely on our transportation systems,” he said.       

MassDOT noted the MassTrails Team consists of MassDOT, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

Continuing efforts to support the state’s growing network of trails, in 2023 the Healey-Driscoll Administration announced $11 million in its fifth annual round of MassTrails Grants to 68 projects across Massachusetts.

The grants provide assistance for the construction, maintenance and improvements for a variety of public trails throughout the state trails system, such as hiking trails, bikeways and shared-use paths, MassDOT noted.

NRDC Ranks State Transport Equity, Climate Efforts

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has identified the states doing the most to fight climate change, promote equity, increase active mobility, and improve sustainability through their transportation policies and practices.

[Above photo by NRDC]

The report, “Getting Transportation Right: Ranking the States in Light of New Federal Funding,” calls on states to “take transportation spending off autopilot” to ensure that unprecedented federal funding will have a positive environmental impact. It evaluates each state “to gauge the general policy and spending context that will influence and direct” how the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funds will be spent.

The report also ranks which states are doing the most “to improve equity and climate outcomes from the transportation sector,” based largely on data from each state’s department of transportation.

The report measured states’ commitments to equity, active transportation, electric vehicle usage, greenhouse gas reductions, and a host of other environmental metrics through a scoring system based on publicly available data. Some of the metrics focus on whether states have adopted certain policies while other metrics are based on “actual state performance, spending, and outcomes.”

The NRDC’s report also noted that state transportation policies will guide funding decisions that “will shape the nature of the transportation system in the United States for decades to come, with enormous implications for equity, climate change, and public health.”

The states doing the most to improve equity and climate outcomes from the transportation sector, according to the report, are California; Massachusetts; Vermont; Oregon; Washington; New York; Colorado; New Jersey; Connecticut; Minnesota.

The NRDC report ranked states on 20 measurements that fall in five major categories: state planning for climate and equity; vehicle electrification; reducing vehicle miles travelled through expanded transportation choices; system maintenance; and procurement. Measurements included such items as transit investment, flex spending on active transportation, number of EV charging ports per 1,000 people, and whether states compensate citizens for participating in the project planning process.

The report also cited examples of how states are advancing environmental and equity causes:

  • The Minnesota Department of Transportation set transportation-related greenhouse gas reduction targets of 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 and 50 percent below 2005 by 2030.
  • Vermont offers “point-of-sale rebates for the purchase of new EVs,” including greater incentives for buyers with an adjusted gross income of $50,000 or less.
  • North Carolina DOT “identified strategies to reduce VMT” or vehicle miles traveled and modeled those strategies in key metro areas.
  • California, Colorado, New Jersey, New York, and Oregon require or encourage environmental product declarations “for commonly used construction materials in transportation projects.”

Although many states already have policies and programs in place to meet equity and climate goals, “other states must rapidly realign their priorities in order to achieve these outcomes,” the report states. “Even the states currently leading the pack, while they are to be commended for their actions thus far, have areas in need of improvement.”

Environmental News Highlights – January 10, 2024


AASHTO Seeks to Defer ‘Buy America’ Rules for EV Systems -AASHTO Journal

AASHTO Comments on Proposed Air Quality Rule Changes -AASHTO Journal

The Climate Lawsuit Three Presidents Tried to Kill Is Finally Going to Court –Heatmap

Want More Transit (and Federal Funding)? Build Housing That Supports It –CityLab

The Electric-Vehicle Transition Is Quietly Surging Ahead -American Prospect

The Invisible Railroad Problem -Trains (analysis)



Why Cities Are Turning to Climate Change Dashboards -Government Technology

Electric vehicle sales are slowing. No need for panic yet, insiders say. -ABC News

Wyoming DOT gauges interest in electric vehicle charging stations -Wyoming News Exchange

Critical Infrastructure Is Sinking Along the US East Coast –Wired

Wider bike lanes (and no more door-zones!) coming to N Willamette this year –BikePortland



How Google Is Using AI To Help Seattle Reduce Traffic And Emissions -CBS Evening News

California’s Plan to Phase Out Gasoline-Only Vehicles Faces Regulatory Review -Motor Mouth

The Regulation of Air Pollution That Crosses State Borders -Columbia University (opinion)



New York City union sues to block city congestion pricing plan –Reuters

Improving Transportation Equity for all by Centering the Needs of Marginalized and Underserved Communities -Minnesota DOT (report)

Alabama TSA Officer Brightens Deaf Community’s Travel Experience -TSA (media release)



WSDOT Project Deters Debris Flows from Burn Areas -AASHTO Journal


Transforming the Santa Monica Airport Into a Great Park –Planetizen

Golden Gate Bridge’s Suicide Net Is Finally Complete –AP

Transportation Agencies and Partners Address Bridge Suicide Prevention -Tolling Points (blog)


Oklahoma DOT seeks public input on new Active Transportation Plan -KTUL-TV

City of Asheville’s new Active Transportation Committee gets moving -AVL Today

Delray Beach, Florida rolls out preliminary $100 million long-term plan for bicyclists, pedestrians -Palm Beach Post

Costa Mesa installs crosswalk on Wilson Street, where a vigilante painted one last year -Daily Beat


TRB Webinar: Transportation for People with Disabilities and Older Adults in COVID-19 –TRB

Wildlife Crossings Improve Traffic Safety and May Protect Biodiversity -FHWA Public Roads


Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Rural Business Development Grant Program To Provide Technical Assistance for Rural Transportation Systems for Fiscal Year 2024 -Rural Business-Cooperative Service (Notice)

Renewable Energy Modernization Rule; Correction -Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (Proposed rule; correction)

Outer Continental Shelf Air Regulations; Consistency Update for Maryland -EPA (Final rule)