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Rail Vision

Updated on July 27, 2018

Logo with "Rail Vision" in purple and a grid layout between the two words

About the Project

Timeline: 2018-2019
Status: Planning

The MBTA's Rail Vision will identify cost-effective strategies to transform the MBTA's existing Commuter Rail system to better support improved mobility and economic competitiveness in the Boston region.

Commuter Rail customers and other interested stakeholders will have many opportunities to offer their perspectives on how to improve the MBTA's rail service. This input, along with an analysis of the existing system and lessons learned from domestic and international peers will help the MBTA identify up to 8 alternative visions for the future system.

A thorough evaluation of the costs, ridership potential, and operational feasibility of these alternatives, as well as a broad public conversation in 2019, will inform the ultimate vision for the future of the MBTA rail system—one that the MBTA will then begin to turn into a reality.

Project Features

The study will ask questions about what kind of service will best serve riders and determine which investments support the final vision.

The project includes:

  • Review more than a dozen domestic and international rail systems to understand how different investment decisions, operating strategies, demographics, and land use of the regions they serve have led to gains in ridership and efficiencies
  • Coordinate with other initiatives on factors that may affect transportation and the market for MBTA commuter rail service (such as the distribution of population growth, or the impact of autonomous vehicles)
  • Develop objectives that a future MBTA rail system should support, and the metrics necessary to evaluate different approaches to achieving them
  • Identify up to 8 alternatives that range from those that require less capital intensive operational strategies to those that require major infrastructure upgrades and new technologies
  • Evaluate the alternatives using a variety of tools—including operations simulations and models of ridership and land use
  • Engage with stakeholders to ensure that the recommended vision has been developed based on a variety of ideas and opinions

Advisory Committee

The role of the Rail Vision Advisory Committee is to provide informed advice to MBTA leadership and the project team. The members represent diverse perspectives of the MBTA service area.

Download documents from the June 28, 2018 meeting

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Contact Information

For all queries and comments related to Rail Vision, please contact:

Scott Hamwey, Manager of Transit Planning, Office of Transportation Planning

Past Meetings