Indicator 22: Infrastructure
How Does Massachusetts Perform?
Massachusetts has the fastest average broadband speed among the LTS (23.8 Megabits per second or Mbps). This is almost the same as Rhode Island’s (23.7 Mpbs), but almost 2.0 Mbps faster than New Jersey, the next closest state. Broadband speeds have increased dramatically since 2012 when Massachusetts, then the top ranked state among the LTS, had an average speed of 9.1 Mbps. Rhode Island has the highest level of access to broadband speeds above 15 Mbps among the LTS, a benchmark for high quality broadband (available to 66.2% of population). Access to broadband is improving, as Massachusetts has improved the access to connection speeds over 15 Mbps by 14.0% relative to 2015. Increased access to faster broadband speeds is a pattern throughout the LTS, as every state increased its access to 15 Mbps broadband in 2016.
Since 1990, Massachusetts has consistently sustained higher industrial electricity prices than either the LTS or the U.S. as whole. After a trend of declining prices from 1990 to 2006, Massachusetts has since experienced a relatively large increase in industrial electricity prices compared to the LTS and the U.S. The difference in prices between Massachusetts and much of the country is due to a number of persistent factors, including a relative lack of generating capacity in New England, a lack of interconnections with other regions, and a mix of energy sources with higher input costs. The other New England states also have higher industrial electricity prices than the LTS average.
Finally, Boston is well known for its heavy rush hour traffic and indeed, Massachusetts metropolitan areas with more than 250,000 commuters (“large metros”) have similar commutes to those in California. However, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois commuters spend even more time in traffic. New York has experienced a large increase in annual commute time for large metros since 2014 (23 hours). This is largely driven by New York City, which has suffered from an outbreak of breakdowns on the Metropolitan Transit Authority. Massachusetts has also experienced a significant increase in annual commute times from 239 hours to 250 hours from 2014-2016. While not as large as New York’s, this is evidence that continued investments in the transportation system matter. Metropolitan areas in Connecticut, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Ohio have shorter commutes than the U.S. average.