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Boston transportation planning getting a boost from national partnership

National Association of City Transportation Officials—NACTO—will advise Boston on a project to both improve transit and reduce carbon emissions

Bikers make their way around a delivery truck parked in a bike lane. Boston Globe via Getty Images

The National Association of City Transportation Officials is partnering with Boston and four other cities to speed the implementation of bike and transit corridors designed to reduce carbon emissions, according to a May 15 release from the group.

It is unclear what that means in terms of new infrastructure for Boston, but a spokesman for the association (also known as NACTO) said it would be out with specifics shortly.

Whatever the timetable, Boston could use the help. The city has some of the worst vehicular traffic congestion in the world, a situation that a spotty and still-developing bike infrastructure exacerbates. Mayor Marty Walsh referenced bike lanes and Boston’s long-term transportation planning in a statement about the NACTO help.

“Building on the momentum of Go Boston 2030,” Walsh said, “and in partnership with NACTO and our neighborhood stakeholders, we will work to further improve our transportation options, including an expanded network of high-quality bike lanes, giving Boston residents the safe, effective transportation choices that will keep our city at the forefront of mobility progress and climate action.”

The NACTO work is supposed to be finished by the end of 2020. It is part of a wider effort called the American Cities Climate Challenge, and will also involve the Natural Resources Defense Council and consultancy Delivery Associates. The work will be based on what NACTO calls its accelerator model.

“NACTO will provide technical expertise, convene workshops, and create open channels of communication between the participating cities and NACTO’s broader network of 82 cities and transit agencies across North America, who will advise and share lessons from completing similar projects in their own communities,” the group said in the release.

The other participating cities are Atlanta, Denver, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia. Stay tuned.