Boston | infrastructure



A silver and red rapid transit train departing an above-ground station
An MBTA Red Line train departing Boston for Cambridge. Bostonians depend heavily on public transit, with over 1.3 million Bostonians riding the city's buses and trains daily (2013).[270]

Logan Airport, in East Boston and operated by the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), is Boston's principal airport.[271] Nearby general aviation airports are Beverly Municipal Airport to the north, Hanscom Field to the west, and Norwood Memorial Airport to the south. Massport also operates several major facilities within the Port of Boston, including a cruise ship terminal and facilities to handle bulk and container cargo in South Boston, and other facilities in Charlestown and East Boston.[272]

Downtown Boston's streets grew organically, so they do not form a planned grid,[273] unlike those in later-developed Back Bay, East Boston, the South End, and South Boston. Boston is the eastern terminus of I-90, which in Massachusetts runs along the Massachusetts Turnpike. The elevated portion of the Central Artery, which carried most of the through traffic in downtown Boston, was replaced with the O'Neill Tunnel during the Big Dig, substantially completed in early 2006. The former and current Central Artery follow I-93 as the primary north-south artery from the city. Other major highways include US 1, which carries traffic to the North Shore and areas south of Boston, US 3, which connects to the northwestern suburbs, Massachusetts Route 3, which connects to the South Shore and Cape Cod, and Massachusetts Route 2 which connects to the western suburbs. Surrounding the city is Massachusetts Route 128, a partial beltway which has been largely subsumed by other routes (mostly I-95 and I-93.

With nearly a third of Bostonians using public transit for their commute to work, Boston has the fifth-highest rate of public transit usage in the country.[274] The city of Boston has a higher than average percentage of households without a car. In 2015, 35.4 percent of Boston households lacked a car, which decreased slightly to 33.8 percent in 2016. The national average was 8.7 percent in 2016. Boston averaged 0.94 cars per household in 2016, compared to a national average of 1.8.[275] Boston's public transportation agency, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) operates the oldest underground rapid transit system in the Americas, and is the fourth-busiest rapid transit system in the country,[18] with 65.5 miles (105 km) of track on four lines.[276] The MBTA also operates busy bus and commuter rail networks, and water shuttles.[276]

South Station, the busiest rail hub in New England, is a terminus of Amtrak and numerous MBTA rail lines.
Hubway bikes in Boston

Amtrak intercity rail to Boston is provided through four stations: South Station, North Station, Back Bay, and Route 128. South Station is a major intermodal transportation hub and is the terminus of Amtrak's Northeast Regional, Acela Express, and Lake Shore Limited routes, in addition to multiple MBTA services. Back Bay is also served by MBTA and those three Amtrak routes, while Route 128, in the southwestern suburbs of Boston, is only served by the Acela Express and Northeast Regional.[277] Meanwhile, Amtrak's Downeaster to Brunswick terminates in North Station, and is the only Amtrak route to do so.[278]

Nicknamed "The Walking City", Boston hosts more pedestrian commuters than do other comparably populated cities. Owing to factors such as necessity, the compactness of the city and large student population, 13 percent of the population commutes by foot, making it the highest percentage of pedestrian commuters in the country out of the major American cities.[279] In 2011, Walk Score ranked Boston the third most walkable city in the United States.[280][281] As of 2015, Walk Score still ranks Boston as the third most walkable US city, with a Walk Score of 80, a Transit Score of 75, and a Bike Score of 70.[282]

Between 1999 and 2006, Bicycling magazine named Boston three times as one of the worst cities in the US for cycling;[283] regardless, it has one of the highest rates of bicycle commuting.[284] In 2008, as a consequence of improvements made to bicycling conditions within the city, the same magazine put Boston on its "Five for the Future" list as a "Future Best City" for biking,[285][286] and Boston's bicycle commuting percentage increased from 1% in 2000 to 2.1% in 2009.[287] The bikeshare program called Hubway launched in late July 2011,[288] logging more than 140,000 rides before the close of its first season.[289] The neighboring municipalities of Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline joined the Hubway program in the summer of 2012.[290] In 2016, there are 1,461 bikes and 158 docking stations across the city.[291] PBSC Urban Solutions provides bicycles and technology for this bike-sharing system.[292]

In 2013, the Boston-Cambridge-Newton metropolitan statistical area (Boston MSA) had the seventh-lowest percentage of workers who commuted by private automobile (75.6 percent), with 6.2 percent of area workers traveling via rail transit. During the period starting in 2006 and ending in 2013, the Boston MSA had the greatest percentage decline of workers commuting by automobile (3.3 percent) among MSAs with more than a half-million residents.[293]

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