MBTA study to evaluate region’s commuter rail needs

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BOSTON — The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has issued a request for proposals to study the current and future needs of the region’s commuter rail system. The evaluation will complement an existing future planning exercise already underway for the city’s subway and other transportation systems.

Agency officials argue that current commuter rail services makes it difficult to grow ridership during off-peak times due to an overwhelming majority of the trips being made during peak commuting hours and in peak directions. Current service also limits the potential for the agency to encourage reverse commuting options and to provide more connections between gateway cities and Boston, an agency news release says.

In other instances, infrastructure is also a barrier to expanded service options or different types of service.

The commuter rail vision study will help the agency and its state partners better understand how to use existing resources, understand infrastructure needs, and get a better grasp on the potential customer demands in the future.

The plan will focus on a variety of topics, including network upgrades needed to accommodate proposed service expansions, if some of its existing rail lines should be electrified to improve service, and where new train stations should be located.

Previous studies and data collection will be incorporated into the new study and an analysis of the future market will help create a 2040 commuter rail vision. Led by the office of transportation planning and supported by the agency’s railroad operations, the study will take more than two years to complete. The study will cost about $3 million and is funded through the MBTA capital budget.

The agency expects to award a contract to the winning bidder in September 2017.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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  • June 19, 2017
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