Data Day 2015
Research & Analysis


Promoting Smart Growth & Regional Planning

Insight on the past, present, and future of Metro Boston.

The Research Group creates new data resources and conducts original analysis to provide insight on the past, present, and future of Metro Boston. We cultivate new datasets by mining administrative records, compiling on-line sources, or crowd-sourcing information from community partners. Our demographic and land use projections serve as the foundation for a wide variety of planning and policy activities; and our original research on demographic, economic, and housing trends helps planners and policymakers make informed decisions about the future of the region. We also help MAPC to monitor progress toward the goals of the MetroFuture through our Regional Indicators program.

Recent Publications:

General Questions?

For more information on Research at MAPC, contact Jessie Partridge Guerrero, Research Manager at



December 2019

A group's exposure to climate hazards, access to resources, and ability to plan for and rebuild after a climate event all factor into a group's vulnerability to climate change. This research examined the central question: Which populations are most vulnerable to the climate hazards that are likely to impact Metro Boston?

To answer this question MAPC constructed a regional climate vulnerability index that shows which neighborhoods in Metro Boston are more vulnerable to climate hazards than other. This mapping tool- which combines sociodemographic, public health, housing, and workforce data with climate exposure data- can be used to help identify which populations should be centered in climate preparedness and resiliency work.

Read full report and explore the data



Examining 18 Months of Dockless Bikeshare in Metro Boston

November 2019

Dockless bikes are an entirely new form of travel in the region, providing rapid mobility for local trips generally less than two miles. This report provides a first look at the data produced by the Lime dockless bike system which has been operating in the Boston region since Spring 2018, following a 2017 pilot program int he City of Malden. MAPC  analyzed information about 300,000 trips to better understand how people are using the system to get around the region, and also to map where people are riding.

Read full report and explore the data

Perfect Fit Parking Initiative Report Cover

Perfect Fit Parking

July 2019

Parking, especially the amount of parking that should be required for new housing, is a hotly-debated issue in Metro Boston. Over the past three years, MAPC has set out to measure the actual supply and demand for residential parking in the Inner Core subregion, which includes Boston and 20 surrounding municipalities. We interviewed property managers and conducted overnight counts of parking spaces and parked cars at nearly 200 multifamily residential developments in 14 cities and towns. Overall, 30 percent of the available parking we surveyed was not being used. This research suggests not only is the over-building of parking in residential development wasting money and useful space, but the provision of abundant parking may also be counterproductive to local transportation goals for traffic and sustainability.

Read full report and explore the data

A photo of a young Uber driver smiling out the window of his silver car.

Share of Choices: Further Evidence of the Ride-hailing effect in Metro Boston and Massachusetts

May 2018

On May 1, Massachusetts regulators released a first-ever statewide picture of annual ride-hailing activity through a data set detailing the total number of trips by municipality and average trip length for the state. Coming shortly after the release of MAPC's Fare Choices report on ride-hailing passengers, these statistics provide additional evidence that a travel mode option that did not exist a decade ago is quickly altering travel patterns and choices throughout Metro Boston and Massachusetts.

Read the Full Report

Photo via Uber

Medium shot of a young woman smiling while standing on a street waiting for her ride

Fare Choices: A Survey of Ride-Hailing Passengers in Metro Boston

February 2018

MAPC surveyed nearly 1,000 ride-hailing passengers in late 2017 and asked about their demographics, the nature of their trip, and why they chose ride-hailing over other modes of transportation.

The results confirmed many common assumptions about ride-hailing users; they also provided striking new insight into the ways that the services are changing travel behavior and affecting our existing transportation system.

Read the Full Report

Photo via Uber

Desks in an empty classroom

The Waning Influence of Housing Production on Public School Enrollment

October 2017

One of the most widespread worries about new housing development, especially in suburban communities, is that it will drive up school enrollment. Many local officials and residents assume that new housing, and especially new multifamily housing, will attract families - families with children who will inevitably increase enrollment in the local public schools - creating additional education costs outweighing any new revenue the housing generates. MAPC examined housing permit and enrollment trends across 234 public school districts over the past 6 years and found no correlation between housing unit growth and enrollment change.

Read the Full Report

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Rental Market Rates Dimensions of Displacement

Regional indicators

Updated Spring 2017

Our Regional Indicators program is a set of measures that quantify our progress as a region in achieving the goals of MetroFuture.

MetroFuture, MAPC’s long-range vision for a more sustainable and equitable Metro Boston in the year 2030, includes goals that were established through community input and a collaborative stakeholder engagement process. By measuring our progress, we can identify where action or intervention are needed, and find opportunities for collaboration.

Explore our Regional Indicators


Housing Greater Boston’s Workforce

September 2016

Across Metro Boston, there is a growing sense that the housing problems that one affected only low-income families are now affecting a greater number of households at higher and higher incomes. Many people fear that high housing prices are driving middle income middle-income families out of their neighborhood, and out of the region. To help shed light on these issues, the Data Services Research team analyzed household characteristics, income trends, and housing costs since 1990, with a focus on “middle income” households. We also projected the amount and type of housing that will be needed to accommodate new working households over the coming 15 years.

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Baseline Data for Managing Neighborhood Change in Somerville’s Green Line Corridor

February 2014

This report, prepared in collaboration with the City of Somerville, Somerville Community Corporation, Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership, Friends of the Community Path, and Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance is intended to help focus action on the strategies with the best potential to preserve a diversity of housing opportunities in Somerville.

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Read Executive Summary


Kids are Commuters, too

Assessing the Mode Shift Potential of Walk to School Programs in Massachusetts


With support provided by the Barr Foundation, WalkBoston and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) developed a spatial framework for the following:

WalkBoston and MAPC recorded their findings and recommendations in the report Kids are Commuters Too: Assessing the Mode Shift Potential of Walk to School Programs.

  • Assessing district- and school-level walkability
  • New methods for collecting student commute data
  • And a formula for estimating the GHG footprint of student auto commutes and the reductions that might be achieved by successful SRTS programs

Read the full report



The Impact of School Construction on District Enrollment in Massachusetts Public Schools, 1996 – 2006

December 2009

MAPC Data Services analyzed the the impact of school construction on district enrollment in Massachusetts public school districts before and after major school construction or renovation projects that took place between 1996 and 2006. The primary goal of this effort, conducted for the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) was to ascertain whether enrollment increases after construction or renovation of a school facility above and beyond what would have been projected to occur in the absence of a construction event?

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