The Cape Rail Study evaluated potential year-round passenger rail to the Cape Cod region, approximately 50 miles south of Boston, providing data and information about projected ridership, auto usage, and emissions, and costs. The study, led by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) with technical support and guidance from the Cape Cod Commission, considered the options for expanding passenger rail service to Cape Cod with connections to Middleborough, Wareham, and beyond.
Extending just beyond the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA’s) existing commuter rail network, the rail connection could enhance public transportation options to the region and provide opportunities for economic development.
The Cape Rail Study considered two alternatives that were developed cooperatively with the Advisory Group, which consisted of elected officials and representatives from the Towns of Bourne, Wareham, and Middleborough; representatives of local interest groups; and representatives of regional agencies and organizations. Each alternative included a range of options that allowed MassDOT and the MBTA to test the benefits and tradeoffs of different service components.
While this study provides a foundation for potential future rail service to the Cape Cod region, there are additional systemwide changes and other factors that could affect and inform potential future implementation. Developing a plan for the O&M of a potential future Cape rail service and identifying funding sources and opportunities are critical next steps towards implementation.
Outreach for the project included two advisory group meetings with opportunities for members of the public to provide comments during the meetings or by contacting the study team via email or phone.
The first Advisory Group meeting for the Cape Rail Study was held on November 19, 2020 to discuss the context for the study, to describe existing conditions, and to develop the purpose, need, and potential alternatives for the analysis. Feedback received through this meeting provided context for the project team to establish an Alternatives Framework that identifies goals and objectives, proposed service alternatives, and a framework for results.
A second Advisory Group meeting for the Cape Rail Study was held on June 9, 2021. The meeting included discussion of the two alternatives identified in the Alternatives Framework including, ridership estimates, order of magnitude cost estimates, and potential project benefits.
The Final Report was presented at the Cape Cod Metropolitan Planning Organization Meeting on November 15, 2021.