Barr Foundation Knowledge Center

This collection includes publications and resources from our partners and in our program areas, both current and legacy. These resources are completely free to access and download. Most of these works were funded by the Barr Foundation. We may occasionally feature items relevant to our program areas which were not funded by Barr. Please be aware that views expressed are not necessarily those of the Barr Foundation. We encourage you to search our collection and suggest potential content to include (use "Suggest an Addition"). For questions or assistance, please contact feedback@barrfoundation.org.
Clear all

35 results found

reorder grid_view
Featured

Tools for Equitable Mobility

December 15, 2021

This guide is meant to advance equity in the transportation field. Across the nation, there is growing recognition that transportation policies and investments have harmed, and been used as tools to marginalize, Black and brown neighborhoods, people with disabilities, and other groups. Initiated and funded by the Barr Foundation, this guide seeks to help public agencies, and the advocates and organizers who influence them, to make decisions that advance transportation equity.This guide reviews six of the nation's leading tools for assessing potential equity impacts of new transportation policy decisions, explains the context and preconditions for the effective use of these tools, and suggests complementary activities. People who work at transportation public agencies at all levels are the primary audiences for this tool, as they have the power and responsibility to change their behavior; advocates, organizers, and community groups can also use this guide to encourage their public agency partners to use the tools profiled here.

Featured

Get it Rolling: A brief guide to mobilize bus improvements in Greater Boston

June 21, 2021

This guide lays out a recipe to help local staff members, leaders, and advocates identify the right ingredients to launch successful bus improvements in high ridership, high delay corridors in their communities. These projects can seem daunting in their complexity, but they are important tools in achieving climate, equity, and transit goals, as well as improving quality of life for the thousands of people in our region.The guide identifies crucial stakeholders and project milestones. It offers examples of successful strategies, and it distills lessons learned. We identified six bus priority projects that started turning the wheels of change in the region. These projects were the first to involve quick, temporary, and easy to change elements in order to influence the permanent design.The information this guide sets forth was drawn from over thirty in-depth interviews with stakeholders involved in the six different projects we identify below:Everett's inbound bus lane on BroadwayBoston's inbound bus lane on Washington Street in RoslindaleArlington's inbound bus lane on Massachusetts AvenueCambridge and Watertown's inbound bus lane on Mount Auburn StreetBoston's inbound bus lane on Brighton Avenue in BrightonSomerville's inbound and outbound bus lanes on BroadwayThese six projects are described in detail in the individual case studies found after the workbook. You'll find examples from these projects throughout this guide that illustrate the different strategies municipal staff and their partners have used to accomplish progressive bus improvements.Every project's recipe will be different, and will require different ingredients, as well as different amounts of each. The projects showcased in this guide may not be directly applicable to your community, but they offer a framework for considering strategies to improve bus transit. With the ingredients presented in this document, we encourage you to innovate and experiment. Not all will apply to your situation, and not all will follow the same order as we have them listed here. This guide is not prescriptive, but instead offers direction based on the experience of people involved in the six local bus improvement projects that were studied.

Climate - Mobility

Riding Toward Opportunities: Communities Need Better MBTA Service to Access Jobs

December 1, 2021

*For Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese translations of the executive summary please click 'Download' > 'via Publisher' to visit Conservation Law Foundation's website*This report documents the access to jobs provided by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) in Eastern Massachusetts and how chronic delays reduce that access. It also shows that delays disproportionately undercut economic opportunity for communities of color, low-income communities, and limited English proficient residents compared to white, wealthier, and English-speaking populations.As the MBTA plans to adjust service on buses, trains, and ferries following winter and spring 2021 service cuts and plans to address anticipated budget shortfalls for future fiscal years, access to jobs could be undermined even more. This will have the greatest impact on those riders already hardest hit by delays.

15-Minute Neighborhoods: Repairing Regional Harms and Building Vibrant Neighborhoods For All

September 1, 2021

In this paper, we use the "15-minute city" model as a jumping off point. This can feel like yet another urban planning buzzword, but we find it powerful for articulating a vision of what Greater Boston could become. Designed by Carlos Moreno and popularized by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, the 15-minute city model aims to build vibrant, mixed-use neighborhoods where all residents can reach their daily needs within a 15-minute walk of their home. Our vision for Greater Boston is distinct because we add a few extra points of emphasis. First, we worry that a hyper-local focus can lead to a few, disconnected, amenity-rich islands of privilege, so we've designed our vision to be regional in nature, moving toward an interconnected network of 15-minute neighborhoods across Greater Boston.Second, we emphasize high-quality public transit and bike options as supplements to improved walkability. Third, we believe that 15 minute neighborhoods should reflect our region's racial and socioeconomic diversity, and any comprehensive regional planning initiative should be a means to reverse the entrenched patterns of racial and economic segregation. To accomplish this, the planning, creation, and stewardship of 15-minute neighborhoods must truly center the voices and needs of those who have historically been left on the margins, including Black, Indigenous and other residents of color, low-wealth residents, new immigrants, and those with disabilities.

Climate - Mobility

Saving Time and Making Cents: A Blueprint for Building Transit Better

July 29, 2021

Cities, states, and metropolitan areas across the United States are looking to invest in a range of public transit projects in order to connect people to jobs and economic opportunity, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, and shape development patterns.  According to one estimate, the United States invested about $50 billion in new transit projects in just the last decade.1 These include underground subways in Los Angeles, commuter rail lines along the Front Range near Denver, a streetcar in downtown Atlanta, light rail lines in suburban Phoenix, and bus rapid transit in Richmond, Virginia, among many others.While these projects are as diverse as the country itself, they all have one thing in common: increased scrutiny over their costs and timelines to build. A few very visible projects have reinforced the narrative that rail transit investments have systemic issues that are endemic to the United States.This all begs the questions: Is this true? If so, why? And what should we do about it?These are precisely the questions Eno set out to answer through this research, policy, and communications project to analyze current and historical trends in public transit project delivery. We convened a set of advisors and conducted in-depth interviews with key stakeholders to understand the drivers behind mass transit construction, cost, and delivery in the United States. A comprehensive database of rail transit projects was created and curated to compare costs and timelines among U.S. cities and peer metropolitan areas in Western Europe and Canada. Through this quantitative and qualitative approach, we developed actionable recommendations for policy changes at all levels of government as well as best practices for the public and private sectors.

Climate - Mobility

Mortality-based damages per ton due to the on-road mobile sector in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic U.S. by region, vehicle class and precursor

June 8, 2021

A new study that quantifies the total and interstate deaths from transportation-related air pollution from five vehicle types in 12 states and Washington, D.C. has been published in Environmental Research Letters. The research was led by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health.The study is part of the Transportation, Equity, Climate, and Health project (TRECH), a multi-university research team from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston University, University of North Carolina, and Columbia University, which analyzes policy scenarios to address carbon pollution from the transportation sector.Key TakeawaysOzone and fine particulate matter from vehicle emissions in 2016 led to an estimated 7,100 deaths in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S., and pollution from tailpipe emissions is also traveling across state lines, harming the health of people living in cities and states downwind.Region wide, light-duty trucks, which include SUVs, were responsible for the largest number of premature deaths at 2,463 followed by light-duty passenger vehicles (1,881) and heavy-duty trucks (1,465)All states experienced substantial health impacts from vehicle emissions and can gain health benefits from local action.New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey were hardest hit with health damages at $21 billion, $13 billion, and $12 billion, respectively, in 2016 (the most recent data available from EPA).Many states are heavily impacted by out-of-state emissions and some states cause more deaths out-of-state than in-state, including PA and NJ, highlighting the importance of region-wide action to reduce vehicle emissions.On a ton for ton basis, buses in the New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area had the largest health damages at $4 million for every ton of particulate matter emitted.Ammonia emissions play a stronger relative role in causing health damages compared to oxides of nitrogen. Regionally, ammonia emissions from vehicles were responsible for 740 premature deaths in 2016, more than 10% of the total deaths. Ammonia emissions from vehicles are an unintended by-product of catalytic converters and are unregulated in the U.S., and their role in urban air pollution has been generally under appreciated.

Climate - Mobility

Everett-Boston BRT Implementation Playbook

April 1, 2021

This implementation playbook outlines critical steps and decision points to implement a bus rapid transit (BRT) corridor in Massachusetts between the cities of Everett and Boston. Included are data-rich insights into specific on-the-ground conditions and illustrations of creative bus priority improvements in Everett along a potential Everett-to-Boston BRT corridor. The playbook highlights how the City of Everett, in collaboration with Boston, as well as state agencies and other adjacent municipalities can continue to be a municipal leader in transit innovation.Everett, Massachusetts is a diverse, vibrant community of 40,000 bordering Boston that, despite a critical lack of transit-specific infrastructure, has become a regional and national leader in transit-oriented development and bus-based transit innovation. It was a pioneer in installing peak-hour bus lanes at a time when other cities were worried about whether such lanes would be feasible and has continued to demonstrate the benefits of planning that prioritizes people over vehicles.Lessons in the playbook, especially around trade-offs, show how Everett and other communities in greater Boston can improve the bus rider experience. Each of Everett's transit-priority interventions has brought the city closer to a full-fledged BRT corridor. Conditions in Everett—with narrow roadways, complex traffic patterns and nearly a dozen bus routes—have posed challenges to implementing a full bus rapid transit system. BRT improves accessibility, equitability, and legibility, making the bus transit experience more time-efficient and easier to use and understand. Many creative solutions have brought and will continue to bring the city and region closer to this goal.While the playbook is focused on getting to BRT in and between Everett and Boston, it offers many lessons that are applicable to cities across the nation who are looking to build BRT across municipal lines and on roadways with limited width.

Climate - Mobility

Tactical Public Realm Case Studies

February 1, 2021

Over the past several years, many valuable public realm projects have been implemented in Boston. In 2015, A Better City partnered with the Boston Transportation Department to develop the Public Realm Planning Study for Go Boston 2030. As co-chair of the Go Boston 2030 Plan, A Better City identified the untapped potential of Boston's transportation system to function as a network of vibrant public spaces that would support social, cultural, and economic activities. The process also highlighted a need for new short- and long-term public space strategies to reclaim underutilized transportation infrastructure in our neighborhoods.Building on this work, in December 2018, A Better City partnered with the City of Boston to publish Boston's first Tactical Public Realm Guidelines, designed to catalyze "tactical" interventions—such as plazas, parklets, outdoor cafes, and street murals—that  can transform the public realm through lower-cost, rapid implementation. These modest interventions can convert our streets into spaces in which to convene, create, and experiment, fostering more vibrant communities and economies alike. As a testament to the importance of this work, the City of Boston hired a Public Realm Director in 2018 and integrated the Tactical Public Realm Guidelines into the City's Public Improvement Commission review process. A Better City has also worked with the City of Boston to develop sidewalk cafe guidelines and to convene a public realm interagency working group.A Better City has undertaken several public realm projects to date, including two outdoor seating projects in East Boston, a one week pop-up tactical plaza and permanent tactical plaza design in Roslindale Village, and a parklet design on Green Street in Jamaica Plain.The groundwork laid by these projects and the tactical guidelines, proved to be extremely beneficial in 2020 when the global pandemic created a tremendous need for flexible public space to help support local businesses, namely restaurants. For example, in many commercial districts across Boston, parklets were quickly installed to help support physically distanced outdoor dining.This publication includes case study summaries of the planning, design, and implementation process for three projects managed by A Better City—Birch Street Plaza, Green Street Plaza, and Outdoor Seating in East Boston— as well as a fourth case study describing the six pop-up plazas implemented by the City of Boston Director of Public Realm.

Climate - Mobility

Transit Access: Improving walking and biking to commuter rail stations in Greater Boston

September 1, 2020

This study examines the transit oriented development (TOD) potential of commuter rail stations in the Greater Boston area.The MBTA has announced plans for major improvements in commuter rail service and connectivity. However appreciated and overdue, transit oriented development that will likely accompany a system-wide commuter rail upgrade may also usher in hazards and blind-spots for planners and policy-makers to address. With TOD come improved amenities, higher land values and more competition for real estate, which in turn could lead to displacement, unaffordability and unequal access for intended beneficiaries. Yet, with coordinated land-use planning, street design and rail planning, there is nevertheless potential to not only enhance access equitably, but to also unlock a large quantity of affordable space that is presently perceived to be outside commuter rail catchment areas, and to shift Greater Boston's growth trajectory from the 20th century car-oriented path to a more sustainable 21st century rail-oriented path.

Climate - Mobility

Transportation in a changing world: Fewer trips, different trips, alone

May 27, 2020

A sharp increase in working from home could also spell huge changes in commuting patterns. Massachusetts residents say they will probably be making fewer trips as the state emerges from coronavirus crisis, but more of those trips will be by themselves, according to a new statewide poll out today. On balance, residents expect to drive or walk more, and use all types of shared or public transportation mode less.In all, 35% of residents say they will ride the MBTA subway less than before, and 33% say the same of the commuter rail. Among the most frequent transit users, 44% say they will ride the subway less, and 45% expect to drive more. Young people and Boston residents are among the groups indicating the biggest increases in driving.  

Climate - Mobility

Congestion Pricing in the United States: Principles for Developing a Viable Program to Advance Sustainability and Equity Goals

May 20, 2020

There is no silver bullet to fix the woes of urban mobility and access, but congestion pricing is a proven, viable, and effective tool. Charging a fee for the parts of the roadway network used the most during the busiest times of day reduces demand. The charges incentivize travelers to switch to other modes of transportation, seek alternative routes, or travel at other times. The charges can help to reduce negative effects of traffic such as air pollution, carbon emissions, road damage, and traffic crashes.This report seeks to accelerate the development of congestion pricing programs in the U.S. that advance sustainability and equity goals. The report is intended for elected officials, civic leaders, advocates, and agency professionals in cities and metropolitan regions. The principles outlined in this report illustrate key concepts, discuss challenges, and share examples and emerging best practices.

Climate - Mobility

From Transactional to Transformative: The Case for Equity in Gateway City Transit-Oriented Development

May 1, 2020

We as a society have made choices that have led to deep inequities. Whether intentional or not, these inequities divide places, races, classes, and cultures across the Commonwealth. To bridge these divisions, policymakers, leaders, and practitioners must reframe decisions and actions with equity as an intentional outcome and part of the process. We write this paper to present a framework of how transit-oriented development (TOD) can help cities, specifically Gateway Cities, embed equity into market-based and other policy tools and practices, thereby transforming their regions through equitable growth and development.This report expands on our 2018 recommendations and lays the groundwork for a series of future policy briefs that will explore the issues covered here in more depth. We call for infusing equity into TOD policies and practices for four specific reasons:Over the past 50 years, demographic change has divided people and communities socially and economically in Gateway City metropolitan regions.Gentrification fears have surged in Gateway Cities' weak real estate markets, where increasing property values threaten to destabilize households and neighborhoods, strip cities of their cultural vibrancy, and put vulnerable residents at risk of displacement and homelessness.Local and nationwide histories of socioeconomic exclusion—particularly along racial and cultural lines—persist today. These histories have exacerbated wealth gaps and income inequality and require both acknowledgement and correction.Finally, a false policy dichotomy that supports either large "urban" or small "nonurban" communities ignores the vital role Gateway Cities play as regional hubs for surrounding towns and cities, thus deepening geographic disparities across the Commonwealth.

Climate - Mobility

Showing 12 of 35 results

arrow_upward