Tuesday, July 23, 2024

The Kendall Square T stop in Cambridge, seen in March 2022. (Photo: Marc Levy)

MBTA riders gained new insight into the progress of fixing quality and safety issues on the T Friday when the transit agency launched an online safety dashboard.

The dashboard is a way for the public to see how the T progresses on Federal Transit Administration safety management inspection special directives from findings released in August covering rail transit and safety disciplines, vehicle maintenance, signals, train control, track access, capital project delivery, traction power, facilities and safety management. Based on directives, the T developed a 38-point Corrective Action Plan with 545 action items.

“This public-facing dashboard will allow everyone to learn about the progress the MBTA is making to improve the safety and reliability of the system,” Transportation Secretary and chief executive Gina Fiandaca said in a press release. “Management recognizes the important role the T plays in the daily lives of the communities served, that service is critical – and with this dashboard, the MBTA will be transparent about efforts underway to address the FTA findings.”

Currently, the dashboard includes information on the overall progress toward completing the Corrective Action Plan; information about the FTA’s inspection and report; information about areas of improvement; and a breakdown of progress toward the individual action plans.

A screen capture of a MBTA dashboard graphic showing overall progress on federal safety directives.

“The dashboard will be updated monthly, and new features added as the T progresses toward addressing each special directive,” said the MBTA’s interim general manager, Jeff Gonneville.

In the agency’s January board meeting, Gonneville emphasized his commitment to bringing the dashboard to fruition. Lisa Battiston, deputy press secretary for the MBTA, said its teams have been working for months to ready the dashboard.

“It’s been a priority to share information [with] riders who want to see our progress to provide a safer and more reliable transit system,” she said.

The dashboard includes a speed restriction report from January. The MBTA recently came under scrutiny for lack of transparency on its speed restrictions after an investigation by The Boston Globe revealed more speed restrictions and longer-lasting ones than were made public.

The speed restriction report will be the basis for a new dashboard to be launched by the T in March. According to the T, it will be updated daily with speed restriction locations, and their speed limits and distances.

TransitMatters, a transit advocacy group dedicated to improving transit in Boston, has its own online Slow Zone tracker and data dashboard. It has been pushing for such transparency from the MBTA.

“The new Slow Zone Dashboard is a great step forward for the T when it comes to transparency. It shows a marked change from the previous administration,” said Jarred Johnson, executive director of TransitMatters. “The next step is for the agency to release clear plans for addressing each of these slow zones and to acknowledge what these slow zones mean for everyday riders. In the meantime, we’ll continue to provide useful tools that validate the experience of MBTA riders.”

The information is now in the public’s hands. Battiston said MBTA customers can see both the action plan and recommendation and compare it with the status of steps being taken.

“We believe customers will be encouraged by the specific steps being taken to correct what the special directives have pointed out,” Battiston said.