MBTA Budget Calculator

Metropolitan Area Planning Council   (Boston)

March 2012

MAPC created an interactive online tool called the MBTA Budget Calculator, accessible at FixTheT.mapc.org, inviting the public to try their hand at balancing the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s budget. The goal of the MBTA Budget Calculator was to educate the public on the variety of measures that could be taken to solve the MBTA’s massive FY13 budget shortfall and demonstrate that there are alternative solutions to balance the budget while maintaining the current level of service and avoiding drastic fare increases. The site received over 8,000 unique page views and more than 1,300 people submitted a complete budget proposal of their own design. Users not only fixed the budget deficit—with 93% choosing not to cut any service—they created a surplus of $277 million on average. People who visited fixthet.mapc.org also used the site to send more than 800 emails to more than 100 different state lawmakers, calling on the legislature to help solve the MBTA’s budget crisis. The tool has shown great potential for engaging the public in a thoughtful debate about transportation policy, and will be adapted in the coming year for a larger statewide effort to raise more revenue for transportation in Massachusetts.