The purpose of the NEC FUTURE program is to upgrade aging infrastructure and to improve the reliability, capacity, connectivity, performance, and resiliency of passenger rail service on the NEC for both intercity and regional trips, while promoting environmental sustainability and economic growth.
Service quality currently falls short, due to the aging and obsolete infrastructure that has resulted from insufficient investment in maintaining a state of good repair on the existing NEC. Achieving and maintaining a state of good repair is needed to improve service.
There is a need to improve the reach and effectiveness of the passenger rail network currently limited by gaps in connectivity among transportation modes and between different rail services.
In order to accommodate both existing riders and future growth in ridership, improvements at critical infrastructure chokepoints are needed to fix severe capacity constraints that limit service expan-sion and enhancements.
In many markets, the trip times on passenger rail within the study area are not competitive with travel by air or highway. Improvements in travel times, frequency, or hours of service are needed to make passenger rail competitive with other modes.
The NEC is vulnerable to the effect of severe storms. A more resilient and redundant passenger rail network is needed to enhance safety, security, and the reliability of the region's transportation system.
Throughout the Study Area, energy use and emissions associated with transportation affect the built and natural environment. Passenger rail can help meet the region's mobility needs with fewer environmental impacts.
A transportation system that provides options for reliable, efficient, and cost effective movement of passengers and goods is needed for continued economic growth in the Northeast region. The region's knowledge-based economic sector, including academic research and medical facilities, is especially reliant on access to convenient, reliable, and frequent rail service.