Purpose and Need Statement

February 27, 2015


A component of scoping is the development of the P&N statement. Drawing from public and agency input, the purpose and need(s) for improved passenger rail, will be outlined and described in the P&N statement. The P&N statement sets measurable goals to form the criteria that will be used to screen potential alternatives and improvements for the corridor and enables decision makers to identify which alternatives clearly address the issues that are important to the project and region. The P&N statement will be completed by Spring 2015.

Population growth, increasing demand, and the reduced capacity of the current transportation system contribute to the need for improved passenger rail service. However, many more factors are taken into consideration when determining the need for rail improvements in communities throughout the project area. They include federal and state legislation for rail; safety measures; current and potential stations; current operating agreements between those currently using the rail system and corridor; and I-95 roadway conditions, including ongoing and planned improvements. Previous rail studies performed in the corridor are taken into account, and current rail demand and usage also are important factors. The report will consider how passenger and freight transportation demand affects current roadway conditions and air traffic along this busy corridor.

Benefits of High Speed Passenger Rail:

  • Decreased travel times with increased speeds up to 90 mph
  • Increased frequency of passenger rail service
  • Improved reliability of passenger rail service
  • Competitive option to air and auto travel along the eastern seaboard
  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles as travelers divert to rail
  • Economic benefit to the Commonwealth and this region
  • Improved motorist and rail safety through upgraded highway-railroad crossings

Key Purpose & Need factors that will be taken into account include:

  • Prepare for forecasted population growth
  • Account for increasing demand for intercity travel and freight movement
  • Offer more transportation options as travel delays increase because of growing congestion on Virginia’s highways and at airports
  • Help mitigate the negative effect congestion has on the economy, quality of life, and air quality in the Commonwealth
  • Support economic development
  • Improve safety and energy effectiveness of transportation alternatives

Evaluation criteria, or measures, will be added to round out the evaluation process.