Welcome to NEC FUTURE, a comprehensive planning effort to define, evaluate and prioritize future investments in the Northeast Corridor (NEC), launched by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in February 2012. FRA's work will include new ideas and approaches to grow the region's intercity, commuter and freight rail services and the completion of an environmental evaluation of proposed transportation alternatives.
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 Boston's South Station in the north, New York's Pennsylvania Station in the center, and Washington's Union Station in the south—is one of the most heavily traveled rail corridors in the world.
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.
Preliminary Alternatives Report Now Available
The NEC FUTURE Preliminary Alternatives Report is now available on the NEC FUTURE website. The report presents the process used to develop 15 Preliminary Alternatives that represent a wide range of possible futures for the NEC. The Preliminary Alternatives are study concepts that will be tested and refined to form a smaller set of Reasonable Alternatives for detailed evaluation.
The Preliminary Alternatives are organized within four different program levels, each of which presents a different vision for the NEC. The levels vary from modest capital investment and service options to dedicated High Speed Rail and robust regional service. At each level the alternatives present different service options, including new types of service to increase frequency, minimize travel time, or increase the number of “one-seat rides” available on the system, as well as providing improved connections to off-corridor markets.
All 15 Preliminary Alternatives include improvements to the existing NEC spine. Several of the alternatives include concepts for new routes with off-corridor segments. These are representative routes intended for further study and refinement.
The FRA welcomes your involvement in the NEC FUTURE planning process. If, after reviewing the Preliminary Alternatives Report you have questions or wish to make a comment, please submit your question or comment via the comment form or email@example.com .
We hope you will return to this site often to learn more about NEC FUTURE progress and future public involvement opportunities.