The New Hampshire Capitol Corridor Rail & Transit Alternatives Analysis
Increasing transportation demand and growing concerns about mobility, economic development, and quality-of-life led New Hampshire and Massachusetts citizens and officials to explore options to improve transit service along the Capitol Corridor’s northern end. Early in 2013, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT), working in concert with its counterparts in Massachusetts, started this 21-month Capitol Corridor AA with support and funding from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The Study evaluated a diverse set of rail and bus options for improving connectivity in the corridor by leveraging existing transportation infrastructure and integrating transportation and land use planning.
The need for the Analysis along the 73-mile stretch from Concord, NH to Boston has been growing for decades. While the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) commuter rail service currently operates between Boston and Lowell, commuter rail passenger service north of Lowell ceased in 1967. Since then, however, the Boston commuter-shed steadily expanded north into Nashua and Salem, and is continuing even further northward into Manchester and Concord. Sprawl-type suburban residential development patterns, which rely heavily on auto travel, have emerged, yet business development and job creation, especially in high-technology sectors, have been stagnant in the corridor’s northern half. The Capitol Corridor’s robust transportation network includes roadways, highways, transit services, intercity passenger rail service, freight railroads, airport, and pedestrian and bicyclist facilities. Despite the dense, multi-modal nature of this transportation network, demand is exceeding capacity – particularly within the highway network.
The study was published in December 2014 and can be found in its entirety on the NH DOT website.