Martha's Vineyard Commission
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Island Plan


Transportation on Martha's Vineyard faces special challenges.

  • As an island, it is only accessible by boat or air.

  • As a summer resort, there is a nearly five-fold fluctuation in the number of people on the Island, with seasonal patterns leading to congestion, safety problems and straining of infrastructure capacities.

  • As a predominantly rural area, the low-density land use pattern encourages high automobile use and makes it more challenging to offer alternative means of transportation.

  • As a locality of unique environmental, scenic, and historic qualities, there is ongoing concern about the impact of transportation on these important features of the Vineyard.

As one of the Commonwealth's thirteen regional planning agencies, the Martha's Vineyard Commission coordinates transportation planning on Martha's Vineyard through an agreement with MassHighway. Transportation is also an important factor considered when projects are reviewed by the MVC as Developments of Regional Impact.


The transportation system of Dukes County is made up of the following components.


About 2.5 million passenger trips are made to and from the Island each year, about 90% on the Steamship Authority ferries operating from Woods Hole to Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs. There are several private passenger ferries linking the Vineyard and Gosnold to various mainland ports. The MV Chamber of Commerce maintains up-to-date information and links to these services.


The Martha's Vineyard Airport handles about 300,000 passenger [wgv1]trips each year. There are also two smaller airstrips on the Island.


There are 177 miles of public, paved roads on the Vineyard, none more than two lanes wide. There are no traffic lights or parking meters on the Island. Traffic can be quite congested in Down-Island towns during the summer.


The Martha's Vineyard Transit Authority runs an Island-wide, year-round bus service. There are many taxi companies operating out of the three Down-Island towns.


There is an extensive network of bicycle paths and routes that offers an alternative to car use.


The Commission works under the direction of the Committee of Signatories and in collaboration with the Joint Transportation Committee to carry out a comprehensive, cooperative, and continuing ("3C") transportation planning process that is responsive to local needs. This planning is carried out in the framework of the TransportEquityAct [document not yet available online] for the 21st Century (TEA-21) and the 1990 CleanAirActAmends [document not yet available online] (CAAA).

The UPWP FFY2015 (UPWorkProgram pdf 471K) (UPWP) is a contractual agreement that outlines transportation planning activities to be undertaken by the Commission with funding from federal and state agencies.

The Commission collects a variety of transportation data and maintains an active database. Click on the names below for PDF versions of the following inventories.

  • Traffic Counts (TrafficVolumeCounts pdf 47K)
  • PED Meeting Agenda 2011_01_19 (AccidentData pdf 56K)
  • SSA Ferry Traffic Reports (FerryTrafficReports pdf 28K)
  • EnplaneInfo [document not yet available online]
  • TransitRidership [document not yet available online]
  • CensusTransportPlanPkg [document not yet available online]

The Commission has prepared a computerized Travel Demand Modeling (TravelDemandModeling pdf 14K) that models traffic flows on major Island Roads based on socio-economic data.


Transportation Planning in Dukes County is the responsibility of a Committee of Signatories that is advised by a Joint Transportation Committee.


The Commission and its three partners—the Executive Office of Transportation and Construction, MassHighway, and the Martha's Vineyard Regional Transit Authority—act as a Committee of Signatories (the equivalent of a Metropolitan Planning Organization in urban areas) that oversees transportation planning in Dukes County.


The Joint Transportation Committee (JTC) advises the Committee of Signatories. The JTC's members widely represent Island interests to ensure a balanced consideration of transportation issues. Two key documents guide the public's role in transportation decision-making.

  • A MOU (MemoUnderstanding pdf 110K) defines the "3C" process, the responsibilities of the decision-makers and the roles of the Joint Transportation Committee (JTC).
  • The Agenda -JTC - 2014-12-17 (JTCAgenda pdf 32K) is the JTC's bylaw.


The Regional Transportation Plan looks 25 years ahead and frames long and short-term strategies that will result in the development of an integrated multimodal regional transportation system.

Updated every four years, the latest plan includes socio-economic, environmental, and other land-use-related considerations that influence the Island's transportation network. By analyzing the existing and future conditions of the region's transportation system, the Plan identifies needs, recommends further study and suggests for possible solutions.

A copy of the current 2011 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) (RegionTransportPlan pdf 7.2M) is available in the Resource Center of this web site.


The Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) lists regional transportation projects for Dukes County for the next five years (based on the federal fiscal year of October 1 to September 30).

All transportation projects funded by federal and state agencies must be included. The list is constrained by available funding sources and must satisfy air quality conformity guidelines. The projects appearing in the current TIP were selected from a variety of sources, including the previous TIP as well as project listings provided by MHD, the Regional Transit Authority, and JTC members representing their towns and organizations.


The following criteria are used to select and prioritize projects.

  • Promote greater roadway, bicycle and pedestrian safety.
  • Favor the use of alternative modes of transportation, other than the private automobile.
  • Reduce traffic congestion with physical improvements, particularly at the most problematic locations.
  • Respect and reinforce the scenic, historic and natural values of the Vineyard.
  • Preserve existing road and bridge infrastructure.


A copy of the current TIP FFY 2015-2018 (TransportImprovePlan pdf 2.9M) is available in the Resource Center of this web site.



Mike Mauro, Planner (Transportation), 508-693-3453 x16,


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