T trying to speed up Green Line trains
Also: Marathon ticket sales, strategic plan
THE MBTA IS WORKING ON WAYS to speed up service on the Green Line by coordinating traffic lights, consolidating stops, and using technology to prevent bottlenecks.
T officials estimate they can shave roughly a minute off a trip on the B Line by coordinating traffic lights with the city of Boston so trains approaching surface intersections can sail on through and by dropping two close-together stops on Commonwealth Avenue near the intersection with St. Paul Street.
The T is also testing software on the D Line that will allow dispatchers to adjust train departures to avoid bunching. During a pilot, the variability between train arrivals at stations along the line decreased by 42 percent. The software is being developed at MIT.
The traffic signal work is expected to be completed this year, while the station consolidations and the new software easing congestion will be ready in 2019.
946 all-day tickets sold
The MBTA said it sold 946 special all-day tickets that allowed passengers unlimited trips on the Worcester-Framingham commuter rail line on the day of the Boston Marathon. The tickets, which allowed passengers to get on and off at various spots near the race route, were priced at $20 apiece.
Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack called the new tickets a big success and said the T will take what it learned from the Boston Marathon experiment and apply that knowledge to special pricing for tickets when the tall ships of Sail Boston come to town for six days starting June 17.
Strategic plan approved
The MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board approved a strategic plan on Monday that calls for eliminating the agency’s state-of-good-repair backlog in 15 years and boosting own-source revenues to $100 million by fiscal year 2021.According to the plan, the MBTA has more than $23.8 billion of physical assets, with nearly one-third of them not in a state of good repair. The strategic plan calls for bringing all of the assets into a state of good repair over the next 15 years at a cost probably well in excess of $8 billion.
To achieve that goal, the T says it must step up capital expenditures, with a goal of reaching a minimum of $1 billion a year in annual spending sometime in the next four years. The T in the past has lacked the management bandwidth to handle that kind of capital output. Between 2011 and 2015, the T planned $5.1 billion in capital spending but managed to spend only $2.7 billion.