In 2009 a group of committed local transportation advocates participated in
the Massachusetts Institute for
Transportation Coordination. This effort
led to the creation of a collaborative
group that continued to meet.
The group grew to include other
interested stakeholders and with support
from the Work Without Limits initiative
continued to define its purpose
and work on local transportation
In 2012 the Governor's Office funded
a collaboration of Acton, Boxborough,
Littleton, Maynard, Stow, and Clock
Tower Place through a Community
Innovation Challenge Grant. The goal
of the project was to work on the
regionalization of transportation services
and to put a formal structure in place for future collaboration. CrossTown Connect
is the result of that effort.
The Community Innovation Challenge Grant Program
CrossTown Connect is indebted to the Patrick Administration for developing the Community Innovation Challenge (CIC) grant program in 2012. The program encouraged and incentivized regionalization based upon the belief that the most crucial and visible interactions between government and citizens occur locally. In three years, the program invested $10.25 million in 74 unique projects that involve 242 municipalities across the Commonwealth.
In 2012 we were awarded $184,575 for the project “Shared Transportation Resources Among Five Municipalities and One Business in the Acton Region”. This first grant established the partnership between Towns of Acton, Boxborough, Littleton, Maynard, and and the business Clock Tower Place in Maynard. With limited transportation each of these five communities had few options. This grant allowed the partners to develop a regional transportation system by sharing their transportation resources, such as Council on Aging vans. We had success with the development of a plan to sustain and continue the program. The project resulted in outreach to other communities in the region to ascertain their interest in joining the program, which resulted in the addition of the community of Westford and most recently Concord.
In 2013 the group received $60,000 to form a Regional Transportation Management Association. The partners wanted to provide better coordinated transportation services to help commuters going into Boston and Cambridge, reverse commuters coming from the city into the area, suburb to suburb commuters, and local people with daily need trips in the area.
Also in 2013, CTC reached one of its major milestones towards regionalization of community transportation services by consolidating the Acton, Boxborough, Littleton, and Maynard Council on Aging shuttles as well as the Acton MinuteVan Dial-A-Ride and Road Runner services under one Central Dispatch Call Center. For each community, this increased their daily dispatch hours from two to eight, which led to greater efficiency in trips, an increase in ridership and a decrease in cancellations. Building on that effort, CTC put Geodetic Positioning System/Geographic Information System (GPS/GIS) technology in place on all of the vehicles used for transportation by the partners. This technology documents trip information of each vehicle resulting in both long term and real-time improved dispatch service and performance. With eleven vans currently being dispatched, CTC is connecting more than 35,000 riders to their destinations each year. Providing transportation management services to the businesses and communities is also connecting more than 5,000 employees to transportation alternatives each year.
In 2014 we were awarded our third CIC grant for $40,000 to expand the business partners and the services provided by CrossTown Connect. This was our final CIC grant as the CIC program is no longer in existence.
CTC is now comprised of six public partners (Acton, Boxborough, Concord, Littleton, Maynard and Westford) and eight private partners (Mill and Main of Maynard, Guiterrez Company of Westford, IBM of Littleton, Juniper Networks of Westford, Red Hat of Westford, West Acton Villageworks of Acton, Potpourri Group of Littleton and Associate Environmental Systems of Acton) bound together by Intermunicipal Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding which are focused on increasing mobility and commuting options while also reducing traffic congestion and air pollution. CTC works both with communities to address transportation concerns and increase economic development opportunities as well as with employers to provide their employees with commuter services that enable them to have more options for getting to and from work. The six communities are located approximately 20 miles west-northwest of Boston close to the intersection of Route 495, Route 2 and the Fitchburg Commuter Rail line. Together, the six communities cover an area of roughly 110 square miles.
CTC also coordinates its efforts with a number of organizations, including: 1) the two regional transit authorities which serve our five towns, Lowell (LRTA) and Montachusett (MART); 2) the Fitchburg Line Working Group of municipal, state, and federal officials and legislators, which was convened by the Devens Enterprise Commission to advocate for capital and operating improvements for the Fitchburg rail line; 3) the Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination (MAGIC) subregion of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), whose suburban transportation studies for the 13 MAGIC towns recommended the establishment of our transportation management association and, 4) the 495 MetroWest Partnership, which effectively advocates for reverse commute / last mile initiatives throughout our region.
In 2015, all of the member towns of CTC signed Community Compacts with the Baker-Polito Administration for best practices in transportation. One of the goals of the Community Compact was to work to bring LRTA and MART to the table to jointly identify and overcome the bureaucratic hurdles and streamline redundant operations to better meet the needs of the partner communities. On April 15, 2016, with the help of MassDOT we achieved that goal. All of the shuttle services in Acton, Boxborough, Littleton and Maynard are now run as one system sharing vehicles between towns. This has brought us another step closer to full regionalization of all assets and services, a project that began in 2014 with the establishment of the Central Dispatch Call Center.
Along with its dispatch services, CTC is also providing its employer partners with commuter services, which include:
Nuride – an online carpool database and tool that maches people with similar commutes to form carpools
Assistance with vanpool formation
Emergency Ride Home – in case a person who has carpooled experiences an emergency and needs to leave work, a cab or rental car will arrive within ½ hour
Shuttle Service -- to link businesses to transit stations
Workout to Work – provide information to employees and facilitate active modes of commuting like bicycling
Management of transit benefits
Commuter promotional events – to educate commuters about their options