Welcome to NEC FUTURE, a comprehensive planning effort to define, evaluate, and prioritize future investments in the Northeast Corridor (NEC), from Washington, D.C. to Boston. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) launched NEC FUTURE in February 2012 to consider the role of rail passenger service in the context of current and future transportation demands. Through the NEC FUTURE program, the FRA will determine a long-term vision and investment program for the NEC, and provide a Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Service Development Plan (SDP) in 2016 in support of that vision.
The NEC, the rail transportation spine of the Northeast region, is a key component of the region's transportation system and vital to its sustained economic growth. Today, the 457-mile NEC—anchored by Washington, D.C.'s Union Station in the south, New York's Pennsylvania Station in the center, and Boston's South Station in the north—is one of the most heavily traveled rail corridors in the world. The NEC is shared by intercity, commuter, and freight operations and moves more than 365 million passengers and 14 million car-miles of freight per year.
Preliminary Alternatives Evaluation Report Available
The FRA has completed an evaluation of the Preliminary Alternatives. The results of the evaluation are summarized in the Preliminary Alternatives Evaluation Report.
The 15 Preliminary Alternatives, developed in 2013, were organized within four different program levels, each presenting a different vision for the NEC. They included varied service and route options, as described in the Preliminary Alternatives Report. The evaluation considered the ability of the Preliminary Alternatives to expand capacity, accommodate growth, rebuild aging infrastructure, improve service effectiveness and performance, and increase connectivity among services. Based on these findings, feedback from the public, and extensive consultation with stakeholders, FRA has developed a smaller set of alternatives for further analysis in the Tier 1 EIS that combine the most promising elements of the 15 Preliminary Alternatives.
View the Preliminary Alternatives Evaluation Report
Northeast Household Travel Survey Completed
FRA's NEC FUTURE team recently completed a telephone survey of households throughout the Northeast region. Approximately 12,000 households responded to questions about their travel behavior, such as where, how, and why they travel, and trip costs, as well as future travel preferences, such as travel mode, service type, and cost. The data from this survey is being used, along with other regional travel data from the NEC Commission, railroads, metropolitan planning organizations, and other sources to create an integrated ridership forecasting model for the NEC. This model will be used to forecast travel behavior and ridership for the alternatives that will be analyzed in the Tier 1 EIS. This information will help the FRA compare the performance of the alternatives and assess environmental impacts related to ridership and the number of trains on the corridor, such as noise and air quality impacts. The results will be summarized in the Tier 1 EIS, and the model will be available for FRA’s use in future projects.
CEQ Pilot Documents Posted
Did you know that NEC FUTURE is part of a federal initiative to improve the environmental decision-making process? Earlier this year, the FRA and the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) successfully completed a unique year-long pilot project designed to promote early environmental collaboration for efficient environmental decision-making. The CEQ Pilot was designed to help avoid the conflicts and delays often found in multi-state transportation projects, while still maintaining rigorous environmental protections. The pilot has provided the CEQ with insight into best practices for environmental collaboration during a complex, multi-state planning process. A memorandum summarizing best practices has been posted on the website. One of the practices identified was the development of a Statement of Principles to guide future environmental consultation for NEC FUTURE. Eight federal agencies have concurred with the Statement of Principles, which is now available on the website. View more information on the CEQ Pilot.