By Goody Clancy and Economic Development Research Group et al., for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation
Restoring commuter rail service to points south of the Greater Boston area such as Fall River and New Bedford has received funding approval, pending final environmental, engineering and economic impact review. The South Coast Commuter Rail is targeted to open in 2016.
EDR Group developed a comparative analysis of commuter rail alternatives for the proposed New Bedford-Fall River to Boston South Coast commuter rail extension, which will restore passenger rail transportation between Boston and the cities of Fall River and New Bedford. The purpose of this effort is to develop a comprehensive economic development and land use plan to accompany the construction of the South Coast Rail. EDR Group's role was to develop a regional economic development perspective for the 31-community study area, including baseline economic profiles, trends and summarized growth projections.
EDR Group utilized its TREDIS model to evaluate user benefits and resulting economic development impacts for each alternative: firstly based on projected land use changes, and secondly based on a prospective "smart growth" land use scenario. This analysis had lead to recommendations to maximize the economic development potential in the corridor, creating sustainable development through land use change, and generating new revenues for corridor communities and the Commonwealth.
The Massachusetts Chapter of the American Planning Association gave the 2009 President's Award for Outstanding Planning to the South Coast Rail's Economic Development and Land Use Corridor Plan. The Congress for New Urbanism gave the plan its 2011 Grand Prize Award.