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.
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 .
We hope you will return to this site often to learn more about NEC FUTURE progress and future public involvement opportunities.
Scoping Summary Now Available
One of the highlights of 2012 for the NEC FUTURE program was a scoping process that enabled agencies, stakeholders and the public along the corridor to learn about and contribute to shaping NEC FUTURE. A summary of the scoping process and the comments received is now available online. A hard copy or CD of the Scoping Summary is also available upon request via email to .
The FRA heard from nearly 800 individuals, agencies and organizations during the four-month scoping period, which included agency and public meetings in each of the NEC's eight states and the District of Columbia. Many commenters addressed multiple topics, resulting in nearly 2,500 distinct comments for review and analysis. Key topics included the Study Area, Purpose & Need, alternatives, and public involvement. The FRA reviewed and considered each comment received during the scoping process. The Scoping Summary organizes those comments and provides representative examples of comments by category and how they will be addressed as the NEC FUTURE program advances the Service Development Plan (SDP) and Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The ideas, insights and concerns expressed during scoping will inform the development of alternatives, the Tier 1 EIS, and the public involvement and agency coordination process as NEC FUTURE moves forward.
FRA Extends Scoping Comment Period to October 19, 2012
In response to comments received from the public, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has extended the comment period for the NEC FUTURE Tier 1 EIS Scoping process until Friday, October 19, 2012. The decision was formally announced on September 7, 2012, with the issuance of a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register advising the public and federal, state, and local agencies of the extension.
To learn more about the Scoping process, view materials that were presented at the Scoping Meetings, or to make a comment, view our meetings page.
NEC FUTURE Public Scoping Meetings
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) will host a series of nine public Scoping Meetings from August 13-22 as part of the environmental review process for NEC FUTURE.
Meetings will be held in each state along the corridor and the District of Columbia. These meetings will provide an opportunity for the public to learn about the project, ask questions and provide oral and written comments. Each meeting will include a brief presentation and an informal open house.
Public Comments will be accepted by mail or email anytime during the comment period, which ends on September 14, 2012. The website provides information on how to submit a comment online, by mail or email.
FRA Initiates Environmental Review Process
The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a Notice of Intent (NOI) to conduct a Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Northeast Corridor. The Tier 1 EIS will evaluate potential passenger rail improvements between Washington, DC, New York, NY and Boston, MA. The NOI, issued in the Federal Register on June 22, 2012, provides information on the project purpose, potential types of alternatives to be evaluated, and information on how the public can comment. More detailed information can be found in the Scoping Package on this website.
The first step in the EIS is a scoping process to define the scope of study, including the project's Purpose and Need, alternatives to be considered, and environmental effects to be evaluated. Agency and public scoping meetings will take place in nine locations along the corridor from August 13-23. To participate in the scoping process, you may attend a meeting, comment on this website, send an email to , or mail your comment to Rebecca Reyes-Alicea, USDOT, Federal Railroad Administration, Office of Railroad Policy & Development, Mail Stop 20, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, D.C. 20590. Comments should be submitted by September 14, 2012.
NEC FUTURE Welcomes Public Involvement in Rail Investment Plan
The FRA welcomes the involvement of Northeast Corridor residents, businesses and travelers in helping to shape the future of our intercity rail system. NEC FUTURE will consider broad alternatives for revitalizing and expanding the services offered on the NEC over the coming decades. Please participate in this important planning program. Learn more about NEC FUTURE by exploring this website; send a comment to the project team; or attend a public meeting in your state.