I am pleased to file the enclosed information to comply with Chapter 25 of the Acts of 2009, which requires that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) submit a yearly Performance Management Report to the General Court’s House and Senate Ways and Means Committees and the Joint Committee on Transportation.
Tracker, MassDOT’s Annual Performance Management Report, summarizes MassDOT’s activities for Fiscal Year 2021 (July 2020 through June 2021). Organized by division (Aeronautics, Highway, Rail and Transit, and Registry of Motor Vehicles) and inclusive of the MBTA, the report shows MassDOT’s progress in reaching its performance goals. Please note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were continued impacts to the budget and capital performance and those performance measures failed to meet the targets.
The pandemic did also impact how people traveled and used outdoor spaces. Across the state, we have seen since spring 2020, a continued increase in pedestrian activity, a willingness to share street space to improve business, and renewed commitments to green and open spaces in our communities. As MassDOT continues support recovery of the transportation network, our priority areas remain the same, focused first on safety, and with an emphasis in our daily operations and larger scale planning on creating a transportation system which is also focused on reliability, accessibility, sustainability and resiliency, and equity.
In FY21, the Highway Division saw steady or improved outcomes for the majority of its performance measures. At the present time, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact high level travel trends and measures, like mode share and vehicles miles travelled (VMT). This year saw a decrease in VMT per capita, due to the continued trend of working from home, and at the same time saw an increase in bicycle and pedestrian mode share across the state. There has also been an increase in freight travel, as delivery of goods became more popular with the decrease in non-essential travel and the increase in telework.
Through unprecedented challenges presented by the pandemic, the RMV adapted to safely serve residents of the Commonwealth and provide continuity of service. The RMV moved to an appointment-based reservation system with an average customer wait time of 9 days for a Service Center appointment. Since the pandemic began, more customers chose an online option for license and registration transactions, with 68 percent of license transactions and 86 percent of registration transactions conducted outside of a Service Center. While the pandemic changed many things for the RMV, there were some improvements in performance in FY21 over FY20 and the addition of new performance measures to track progress.
In transit, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continued to have significant impacts on the MBTA in the 2021 fiscal year, primarily through steep declines in MBTA ridership from pre-pandemic levels, and associated revenue losses that will continue to challenge the MBTA in future fiscal years. Riders took 119 million trips in FY21, a 57 percent decrease from 274 million trips in FY20. By the end of the fiscal year in June 2021, ridership had returned to 45 percent of pre-pandemic ridership levels for the same month.
The MBTA spent more than $1.9 billion on capital improvement projects in FY21, a record for the agency and $250 million more than the previous year. Implementation of new transit priority projects in FY21 nearly doubled both active bus priority miles and active transit priority signals; approximately 42 percent of bus passenger miles in spring 2021 were on trips benefitting from transit priority projects.
Meanwhile, like all other transit agencies across the Country, Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs) continued to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since a pandemic-era low in April 2020, RTA ridership partially rebounded during the summer of 2020, shrunk again during the winter, and closed out FY21 with similar ridership levels as at the end of FY20. Despite the challenges from the pandemic, most RTAs continue to reach their on-time performance goals.
For MassDOT Rail, all reported safety measures have improved such as a decrease in the number of derailments, number of hazmat incidents, and number of highway-rail incidents.
For the Aeronautics Division, performance exceeded and improved upon prior performance measurement in FY20 within areas of safety, customer experience, and system condition. The Division saw increases in the percent of aircraft registered, training attendance rates, and pavement condition.
Our successes are due to many factors, including the dedication of employees, strong partnerships with municipal officials, and ongoing support from our elected leaders. While we celebrate our successes highlighted in this report, MassDOT maintains focused on areas where performance has lagged or fallen.
We look forward to continuing to serve the Commonwealth and make progress toward goals that improve transportation for all who travel in the state, whether they choose to walk, bicycle, drive, or use public transit.
MassDOT Secretary & CEO, Jamey Tesler