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Jeffrey MullanPosted by:
Jeff Mullan
Incoming MassDOT Secretary and CEO

By now, you’ve heard about the transportation reform bill.  On November 1, that legislation takes effect.  It eliminates the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, the Massachusetts Highway Department, the Executive Office of Transportation and Public Works, and the Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission, consolidates 4 agencies now managing roads into one, moves hundreds of transportation employees into the GIC healthcare pool, and creates a level of coordination unprecedented in Massachusetts transportation history.

But transportation reform is about more than just legislation.  Transportation reform is about having a vision and a commitment to doing things differently.  And it has been Governor Patrick’s vision and his commitment to fundamentally fix a broken system that gives us this once-in-a-generation opportunity to make things better…

As Secretary and CEO, my job will be to deliver on that vision. Our goal is to continue squeezing savings and efficiencies at every level, to encourage innovative ideas to improve safety and services, and to operate our agencies with a consumer focus.  We will strive to manage the system in a way that mirrors how businesses and residents use it.

But what does this all really mean for residents? For an idea of what’s to come, I’d like to highlight four recent changes that show we’re already thinking outside the box about how to change the status quo and improve customer service.

    • Sometimes transportation reform is big: Over the next 8 years, nearly $3 billion in funding from the Accelerated Bridge Program will be used to improve the condition of bridges in every corner of the Commonwealth. This program will greatly reduce the number of structurally deficient bridges in the state system, while creating thousands of construction jobs on bridge projects.  It will also serve as a laboratory for innovation – MassHighway is aggressively seeking out best practices and cutting-edge accelerated project development and construction techniques that will deliver projects faster than ever before. Learn more about the Accelerated Bridge Program and our “laboratory of innovation” approach.

 

  • Sometimes transportation reform is smaller: Yesterday, thanks to Secretary Aloisi’s leadership, the MBTA launched a new initiative to use stimulus money to replace outdated signs with new customer-friendly maps – some of the outdated signs were more than 40 years old.  These new signs will for the first time include major bus routes and will no longer leave tourists or visitors standing in station confused because they are looking at an outdated map.

 

 

  • Sometimes transportation reform is about what’s next: In July we launched an EOT Developers Page and twitter account where we’re opening up data from transportation agencies and allowing outside developers to create applications and other web tools that will deliver information to people more efficiently than we can. Why pay a consultant to create an app when we can put out the data and have people compete amongst themselves to create the best application possible?  That effort has already resulted in more than four iPhone applications.

 

 

  • And sometimes, transportation reform is just about common sense and making the commute a little easier: like when, right before Labor Day, we brought MassHighway’s 70 traffic cameras online so residents and drivers could view live traffic shots.  We also provided TV, radio and newspaper websites with a feed of the cameras so they could integrate them into their traffic web pages. This effort follows the live traffic cameras the Turnpike launched before Memorial Day – an effort which was done at essentially no cost to the Turnpike because a team of employees recycled cameras left over from the Central Artery/Tunnel project.

 

The is the sort of creative thinking Governor Patrick has encouraged for two years – and what you’re going to see more of now that he has delivered the most sweeping transportation reform in our history.   I’m honored to be the new CEO of MassDOT and I hope you’ll help us move the Commonwealth forward.

I’ll come back here to answer some questions on this thread or you can stay in touch at www.mass.gov/blog/transportation or follow us on twitter at www.twitter.com/massdot.

 

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