Linking Commuter Rail to Jobs, Housing, and Opportunity in Eastern Massachusetts

An In-Depth Look

Research Director Ben Forman offers an in-depth look at the rich potential of New England small cities’ transit infrastructure in “Linking Commuter Rail to Jobs, Housing, and Opportunity in Eastern Massachusetts,” published this week in the American Prospect. Forman champions the virtue of these cities’ land—expansive, close to transit, and ripe for new development—but laments

New MassINC Research Sizes Up the Untapped Potential of Gateway City Rail

Exploring the Future of Transit-Oriented Development

Leaders from across the state gathered at the UMass Club last week for the unveiling of a major new report estimating the long-term potential of transit-oriented development (TOD) in Gateway Cities. The culmination of a year of methodical work by a MassINC-led research team, this new study provides a detailed look at how many potential additional jobs and

Study reveals large untapped development potential around urban commuter rail stations

Spurring Transit-Oriented Development

A major new study from the nonpartisan think-tank MassINC finds that vacant and underutilized land surrounding 13 Gateway City commuter rail stations could house up to 230,000 residents and 230,000 jobs-double the number of people living and working in these station areas today. Decades of disinvestment have made it difficult for private real estate markets

Generating more geographically-balanced growth

Connecting Gateway Cities with Boston’s Job Cluster

Gateway Cities like Brockton, Lynn, and Worcester can play an important function generating more geographically-balanced growth throughout Massachusetts. These communities all have strong transit connections to Boston, which positions them to tap the hub’s valuable assets, including its major research institutions, sophisticated service providers, skilled-workforce, and global connections. As regional centers, the economic activity they

Building reverse commute ridership

A newfound opportunity for Gateway Cities

With thousands of new housing units going up in downtown Boston at the terminus of commuter rail lines, Gateway Cities have a newfound opportunity to draw reverse commuters and recapture some of the talent they have lost to Boston. The MBTA doesn’t track how many riders currently board in Boston and disembark in Gateway Cities.

Connecting rail riders from the station to jobs in the suburbs

Can shuttle services give Gateway City residents access to more jobs?

As we described in a previous post, job growth outside of the Boston core has overwhelmingly occurred at highway interchanges with limited access to public transportation. This phenomenon is partially attributable to the MBTA commuter rail’s hub-and-spoke model. By design, the system operates with one-directional aim—funneling suburban residents to jobs in Boston and Cambridge. Increasingly,

Increasing access to economic opportunity with affordable transit

A growing number of transit agencies discount fares for low-income riders

Rising rents are pushing low-income transit-dependent households awy from strong public transit and out to Gateway Cities, where service is less frequent. These residents have just two costly options to get to back to better paying jobs in Boston: driving or taking the commuter rail. Compared to the subway, with its flat fare of $2.25

Four things we learned about Gateway City travel this summer

Understanding mobility patterns

The Googles of this world have loads of travel data to understand mobility patterns at minute detail. While most researchers and planners never get a good look at these real-time data, we do have two interesting sources of information that can help us learn more about how people travel across the state. One resource is

Reading employer demand for transit in the job growth tea leaves

The picture we get is revealing

The best data we have to look at where jobs are growing over time come to us at the municipal level.* This isn’t great for getting a sense of whether employers are migrating to locations with strong transit service—ideally we’d have job counts for Census tracts or smaller geographies that represent actual station areas—but it’s

Juicing regional economic development by improving labor mobility

A look at Gateway City residents earning the Boston wage premium

A startling percentage of households migrating from Boston to the Gateway Cities are low-income and transit-dependent. For these residents, finding living wage work may now hinge on whether they can make the commute back to Boston. Data from the American Community Survey show that Gateway City residents who are able to find and get to

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