RSG created the ridership demand forecasting tool that supported the development of CONNECT NEC 2035 (C35), a recently released $117 billion blueprint to modernize and improve the Northeast Corridor (NEC). C35 details 150 projects to improve rail service in the NEC over the next 15 years. It has involved multiple agencies and has been overseen by the NEC Commission.
The ridership demand forecasts developed by RSG estimated commuter and intercity ridership using a customized elasticity-based ridership tool. This tool incorporated behaviors embedded in existing ridership models. It included demand sensitivities to travel time, service frequency, and fare prices. The tool's outputs helped C35's planners evaluate ridership changes and improvements that would include corridor-level changes in vehicle and passenger miles traveled, travel time savings, and mode shifts to rail (from auto, air, and bus).
The work proposed in C35, if fully funded and completed, would create 1.7 million new jobs and deliver service improvements. These improvements would include a 26-minute reduction in travel time between Washington, DC, and New York City; riders would also see a 28-minute reduction in travel time between New York City and Boston. Importantly, work will result in fewer delays, new direct and express services, and off-peak and reverse-peak trains.