BOSTON — Transportation analysts will interview bus and rail riders and analyze information, including mobile device global positioning data, over the next year to underpin short-term and long-term Lynn area transportation improvement recommendations.
Dubbed the Lynn Transit Action Plan, the year-long study kicks off in March and corresponds with Lynn’s designation as a “priority place” in the MBTA’s proposed “Focus40” plan, which outlines the agency’s strategic vision for transportation over the next 25 years.
“We’re so excited to get this going,” said state Sen. Brendan Crighton. “Transportation in Lynn and to the North Shore has never been worse. Having a year-long commitment to a study shows Lynn is a priority.”
Crighton, along with state representatives Dan Cahill and Peter Capano, ranked the transit action plan among their top legislative priorities this year.
State Department of Transportation (DOT) transit planner Alexandra Markiewicz said the Lynn-focused program will be the most comprehensive of its kind conducted in 10 years.
The study will look at where Lynn residents travel on mass transit, including travel frequency and trip durations. Riders will be asked to name challenges and problems they encounter with mass transit. Bus passengers shouldn’t be surprised if an analyst asks them to answer ridership questions during their trip.
“The focus is on what people need. We want to make sure we have the facts,” Markiewicz said.
The information collected will form the basis for recommendations on ways to improve MBTA rail and bus operations, select transit construction projects, and suggestions for improving bicycle and pedestrian access to transit.
Project officials from DOT are in the process of contracting with a consultant to conduct the action plan study, said MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo.
Cahill said the availability of services like Lyft and Uber are examples of new options available in the area as transportation habits change.
The current Focus40 proposal lists a potential Blue Line extension into Lynn as a “big idea” for consideration after 2040.
“New fast and frequent rail connections to Downtown Boston would support economic development and job creation in Lynn, which has an unemployment rate higher than the Commonwealth average,” stated the Focus40 summary released last August.
The MBTA on Jan. 28 unveiled a proposed 6.3 percent fare hike, which would increase bus fare from $1.70 to $1.80, subway fares from $2.25 to $2.40, and monthly passes from $84.50 to $90.
Local bus riders converged Thursday night on North Shore Community College for a hearing on the MBTA’s Better Bus Project with its proposals to update and modernize 63 routes. The changes include changes in bus stop locations and the distance some riders walk to bus stops.