The Cities of Pawtucket and Central Falls established several initiatives to reinvigorate their economies by closely integrating transportation, development, and recreational elements. Dedicated investment into public transportation has been critical to enhancing mobility and economic opportunity for the community, and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) has responded by supporting the creation of a new commuter rail station with intermodal connection to Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) bus service.
RIDOT engaged VHB in preparing the Preliminary Engineering and NEPA Documentation for the new station, focusing efforts on transportation planning and alternatives analysis for railroad operations and opportunities for transit-oriented development (TOD); design for the station, access roadways, bridges, and track layout; financial analysis; NEPA documentation; a TOD Master Plan; and a successful application for a USDOT TIGER grant.
Following the TIGER grant award, VHB developed a Design-Build bidding package for procurement, which allowed RIDOT to innovatively deliver the Pawtucket-Central Falls Transit Center, working collaboratively with the cities’ parallel TOD initiatives, as well as that of RIPTA to construct an intermodal bus facility immediately adjacent to the commuter rail stop. The project included extensive coordination with Amtrak, which owns and operates on the corridor through Rhode Island; the Providence & Worcester Railroad, which provides freight service through the project area; and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), which provides commuter rail service into Rhode Island.
Now open, the Transit Center provides a combination of commuter rail and bus service, providing connections to Boston to the north and Providence, T.F. Green, and Wickford Stations to the south. The new Transit Center will improve local and regional mobility and is anticipated to create new economic opportunities across the Blackstone Valley. It will also allow riders multimodal connections from commuter rail to the statewide bus network, making it easier and more convenient for travel to and from Boston, as well as other destinations across Rhode Island and Massachusetts. It features 200 parking spots and a RIPTA bus hub, with an additional 200 parking spots and restrooms slated for future construction. The project was the recipient of the WTS-Rhode Island 2019 Innovative Transportation Solution of the Year Award.