As transportation emissions continue to increase in the state, and across the country, MassDOT is working to find climate solutions that support reductions in emissions.
Complete Streets refers to an approach to transportation policy and infrastructure design that ensures safe transportation options for all roadway users regardless of age, ability, or mode of travel. The approach, if adopted in all work, will help the Commonwealth meet its mobility and safety performance measures. However, work on state-owned roadways alone is not enough. Cities and towns own 80 percent of roadway miles across the Commonwealth.
The MassDOT Complete Streets Funding Program supports communities to incorporate Complete Streets elements into regular planning and design practice for their local roadways. This is accomplished by MassDOT providing technical assistance funding and construction funding to eligible municipalities through a three-tiered approach that includes policy, planning and capital construction to increase safe travel options. Municipalities that participate in the Complete Streets Funding Program are important partners in meeting statewide sustainability goals.
At the end of FY23, 289 municipalities throughout the Commonwealth have registered with the Complete Streets Funding Program; 257 local Complete Streets policies have been approved; and 245 construction grants have been awarded. All three numbers have increased over the prior year, showing an increasing interest and application of Complete Streets principles across the Commonwealth. The Program also continues to support municipalities in taking a comprehensive approach to making travel safer and more comfortable for pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users through new training opportunities.
The MassDOT Highway Division, in partnership with Ameresco, has developed a total of eight solar projects (4292 kW) generating renewable energy. All sites were commissioned under the former Massachusetts incentive program SREC-II, and installed between 2015 and 2018. The largest sites are located along I-90 in Framingham near Exit 10. In FY23, the systems avoided annual CO2 emissions of approximately 2220 metric tons.
MassDOT owns and operates 11 public fast charging stations at various service plazas statewide, and has also installed another 34 Level-II charging ports at various Park & Rides statewide. In FY23, there were a total of 12,511 charging sessions, saving approximately 165 metric tons of CO2 emissions. Electric vehicles are one of the critical solutions needed to solve the climate crisis, but currently electric vehicle charging stations are not a profitable endeavor and have not been picked up by private industry. New England faces a unique challenge for electric vehicle adoption due to high utility rates in comparison with low fuel rates. Until there is a business model that supports development and ownership by private companies, MassDOT views itself as having an important role filling the gaps in station availability for electric vehicle first adopters.