A Boston area travel advisory issued Friday by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation is the latest in a series of warnings of possible disruptions in the coming weeks.
The advisory comes amid a national debate over whether passengers should be forced to use their cell phones and other devices while traveling.
The advisory was issued by the state Department of Emergency Management, which said that it is “committed to providing information to the public about any disruption or danger to the environment or people’s health, safety, and well-being caused by weather events, power outages, or other issues.”
It’s the latest example of what is being called the “emergency travel advisory,” a term created in response to the deadly blizzard that struck Massachusetts last month.
The term was created by a bipartisan bill in 2015, which Gov.
Charlie Baker signed into law.
The law created the department to “adopt and implement” emergency travel advisaries, but it also required state agencies to develop a “travel advisory” to be used to warn people of possible risks to their safety.
It was a move that was criticized by some residents of the Boston area who felt that the state did not have enough time to develop the guidance.
Baker and other Republicans have argued that the travel advisory is a waste of resources, saying the information is not needed.
The state’s travel advisory board is expected to vote on whether to update the advisory sometime next week.
Massachusetts is one of about two dozen states that have created travel advisory boards.
The governors of Hawaii, Maryland, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Washington also created advisory boards, while the governors of Alaska, California and Texas also created one.
In the Boston metro area, the advisory comes as authorities are trying to find out if people are at risk of injury or death from the storm.
In a press release, Massachusetts DOT spokeswoman Lauren Smith said that “the current forecast does not suggest any significant impacts on our communities.”
But in a statement posted on the department’s website, she said that the agency is “confident in the fact that all of our transportation infrastructure is secure, including the state’s water and power system, the major highways, and our rail and airport systems.”
State officials said Friday that there are two possible ways people could travel to Massachusetts: by plane or rail.
On Friday, state officials said that there was no specific estimate for how many people would use the rail option, which they described as a safer option than the plane option.
On Friday, Massachusetts Transportation Secretary Mary Kay Henry also said that she expects the Federal Aviation Administration to issue a travel advisory for the area.
She said she’s encouraged by the Federal Railroad Administration’s guidance on the use of cell phones during flights and trains.
The Federal Aviation Authority also said it has issued a travel warning for areas of the country impacted by the storm, including Alaska, Hawaii, California, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.