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Public Invited To Help Shape the Future of the MBTA Commuter Rail

Posted on February 6, 2019

Rail Vision logo

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the MBTA are announcing an informational open house and online survey to encourage members of the public to learn more about and comment on the MBTA’s Rail Vision, a 2-year study intended to identify current and future Commuter Rail needs and improvements.

The Rail Vision Open House will be held on Tuesday, March 5, from 4:30 to 7:00 PM, in the State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza, in the second floor Board Room.

In addition, a Rail Vision survey may be accessed online: The survey takes less than 1 minute to complete and will allow MassDOT and MBTA officials to become aware of what’s important to respondents, what may incentivize drivers to use public transit, and what barriers may exist to allowing members of the public to use the commuter rail on a regular basis.  

"The Commuter Rail system is a tremendous asset and there are many different views regarding how service should be enhanced," said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. "The Commuter Rail Vision gives us a structure to receive public input, collect data, and eventually to determine the strategies we should pursue to meet the needs of the future."

"Feedback from our riders and the general public plays a vital role in shaping our plans for the future of MBTA Commuter Rail," said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. "The feedback helps staff direct the Rail Vision’s focus. We encourage participation, both in person and online, so we can continue to improve service now and in the future."

In June 2017, the MBTA released a Request for Proposals for the Rail Vision Study. Since selection of a consulting firm, MassDOT's Office of Transportation Planning and the MBTA have been meeting monthly with an Advisory Committee composed of individuals who represent diverse perspectives from the MBTA service area. This committee has helped inform 7 alternatives for the future system. While all alternatives provide higher frequency, all-day, bi-directional service with predictable, consistent schedules, they vary in their focus on service type, electrification, and other key factors. Feedback received during the Open House will provide valuable input to complement the technical analyses the project will conduct in the coming months. 

Project presentations and Advisory Committee meeting summaries are posted on the project website. The website includes a project contact and sign-up for project emails and notices. 

The MBTA Commuter Rail system is one of the largest in the nation, operating 14 Commuter Rail lines that serve 50 cities and towns.  

The MBTA already has a future planning exercise underway for bus, subway, and ferry, which is known as Focus40.

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