Sustainable Transportation Planning in the BosWash Corridor

  • Michelle R. Oswald Beiler


Mobility in the twenty-first century has transformed into a multimodal experience. With goals of reducing impacts on the environment, society, and economy, sustainable transportation systems including trails, bikeways, transit, and even high-speed rail plans are being integrated and adopted within the Boston to Washington, D.C. (BosWash) corridor. Although rail and highway facilities originally formed the spine, the development and expansion of this megaregion requires reliance on non-vehicular mobility. This chapter highlights sustainable transportation systems, specifically non-motorized mobility and transit, using examples within the BosWash corridor. The facilities are explored in terms of their strengths in promoting sustainable mobility as well as future challenges and barriers to shifting away from automobile reliance and toward a more balanced multimodal system.


Transportation Sustainability Transit Pedestrian Bicycle Multimodal 

Further Reading

  1. The following references are provided as supplementary reading (in addition to the cited references in the next section) in regard to sustainable transportation planning and the BosWash Corridor. They are organized based on the following topics: background on sustainable transportation, non-motorized transportation, transit, and performance measures.Google Scholar

Background on Sustainable Transportation

  1. Hamilton, Booz Allen. 2014. Strategic Issues Facing Transportation, Volume 4: Sustainability as an Organizing Principle for Transportation Agencies, NCHRP Report 250. Washington DC: Transportation Research Board.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Jeon, C., and A. Amekudzi. 2005. Addressing Sustainability in Transportation Systems: Definitions, Indicators, and Metrics. Journal of Infrastructure Systems 11 (1): 31–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Litman, T. (2016). Issues in Sustainable Transportation, Victoria Transport Policy Institute. Available from:
  4. NJDOT and PennDOT. (2008). Smart Transportation Guidebook. Available from:
  5. UC Davis. National Center for Sustainable Transportation. Institute of Transportation Studies. Available from:

Non-motorized Transportation

  1. NACTO. 2013. Urban Street Design Guide. Washington DC: Island Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. ———. 2014. Urban Bikeway Design Guide. 2nd ed. Washington DC: Island Press.Google Scholar
  3. National Center for Safe Routes to School. (2015). Safe Routes to School Guide. Available from:
  4. NYC DOT. (2015). Street Design Manual. Available from:


  1. AMTRAK. (2012). The AMTRAK Vision for Northeast Corridor-2012 Update. Available from: Scholar
  2. Litman, T. (2015). Evaluating Public Transit Benefits and Costs. Victoria Transport Policy Institute. Available from:
  3. U.S. High Speed Rail Association. (2016). Northeast Corridor High Speed Rail. Available from:
  4. WMATA. (2016). Metro Sustainability Report 2016. Available from:

Performance Measures

  1. FHWA. INVEST-Sustainable Highways Initiative. Available from:
  2. Greenroads Foundation. (2016). Greenroads Rating System. Available from:
  3. NYSDOT. (2016). GreenLITES. Available from:
  4. Oswald Beiler, M., and Waksmunski, E. (2015). Measuring the Sustainability of Shared-Use Paths: Development of the GreenPaths Rating System. Journal of Transportation Engineering, ASCE 141 (11), 04015026.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Oswald Beiler, M., S. McNeil, D. Ames, and R. Gayley. 2013. Identifying Resiliency Performance Measures for Megaregional Planning: A Case Study of the BosWash Transportation Corridor. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board 2397: 153–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar


  1. AASHTO. 2010. The Road to Livability: How State Department of Transportation Agencies are using Investments to Improve Livability.
  2. America 2050. 2016. Our Maps – GIS Shapefiles. Regional Plan Association,
  3. AMTRAK. 2010. A Vision for High-Speed Rail in the Northeast Corridor.
  4. ———. 2012. The AMTRAK Vision for Northeast Corridor-2012 Update.
  5. ———. 2016a. The 1970’s – The Journey Forward.
  6. ———. 2016b. Tickets – Northeast Regional.
  7. City of Boston. 2016. Boston Bikes.
  8. Downs, A. Still Stuck in Traffic. Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press. ESRI. (2016). USA State Boundaries. 2004.
  9. FHWA. 2016a. Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century. US DOT.
  10. ———. 2016b. Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act – Transportation Alternatives. US DOT.
  11. Fritze, J. 2015. Maryland Awarded $27.8 Million Grant for Maglev. The Baltimore Sun.
  12. Gottmann, Jean. 1961. Megalopolis: The Urbanized Northeastern Seaboard of the US. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  13. Greenroads. 2016. Greenroads Rating System.
  14. Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. 2016. What Is BRT?
  15. ITE. 2016. Context Sensitive Solutions.
  16. Litman, T. 2014. Economic Value of Walkability. Victoria Transport Policy Institute.
  17. Malouff, D. 2014. Alexandria’s Metroway: BRT Open and Carrying Passengers, Greater Greater Washington.
  18. McNeil, S., Oswald, M., and Ames, D. 2010. A Case Study of the BOSWASH Transportation Corridor: Observations based on Historical Analyses. University of Delaware University Transportation Center: Newark. on December 8, 2016.
  19. Melosi, M. 2010. Automobile in American Life and Society – From Walking Cities to Automobile Cities.
  20. Motivate International. 2016. About Hubway.
  21. MTA. 2016. Light Rail. Maryland Department of Transportation.
  22. National Center for Safe Routes to School. 2016a. History. University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center.
  23. ———. 2016b. Celebrating Local Successes. University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center.
  24. National Park Service. 2016. National Trails Systems – Frequently Asked Questions.
  25. Northeast Corridor Infrastructure and Operations Advisory Commission. 2014. State of the Northeast Corridor Region Transportation System. content/uploads/2013/12/NECC_transportation_summary_report_2014-02-18.pdf.
  26. NYC DOT. 2016a. NYC Plaza Program. The City of New York. Available from:
  27. ———. 2016b. WalkNYC. The City of New York.
  28. ———. 2016c. Safe Streets for Seniors. The City of New York.
  29. Oswald Beiler, M., and E. Waksmunski. 2015. Measuring the Sustainability of Shared-Use Paths: Development of the GreenPaths Rating System. Journal of Transportation Engineering 141 (11): 04015026.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pushkarev, B., and Zupan, J. 1977. Public Transportation and Land Use Policy. Indiana University Press (Bloomington).
  31. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. 2015. Rail Trails, Greenways, and Historic Canal Trails. GIS Data – From
  32. ———. 2016a. Benefits of Rail Trails.
  33. ———. 2016c. TrailLink – Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail.
  34. Safe Routes to School National Partnership. 2016. The 6 E’s.
  35. Saksa, J. 2015. Plan for BRT-Lite Taking Shape along Roosevelt Boulevard Taking Shape. Plan Philly.
  36. Short, J.R. 2009. Liquid City: Megalopolis and the Contemporary Northeast. Resources for the Future, Washington DC.Google Scholar
  37. Siderelis, C., and R. Moore. 1995. Outdoor Recreation Net Benefits of Rail-trails. Journal of Leisure Research 27 (4): 344–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Stilgoe, John R. 1983. Metropolitan Corridor: Railroads and the American Scene. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Sustainable Cities Institute. 2013. Traditional Neighborhood Development. National League of Cities.
  40. The Greater Boston BRT Study Group. 2015. Better Transit for Greater Boston.
  41. The Northeast Maglev Project. 2013. The Northeast Corridor.
  42. Transit Oriented Development Institute. 2016a. Sustainability.
  43. ———. 2016b. Projects.
  44. University of Wisconsin. 1999. An Overview: Land Use and Economic Development in Statewide Transportation Planning.
  45. US Census Bureau. American Community Survey. 2011.
  46. US DOT. 2017. Our Sustainability Efforts.
  47. US EPA. 2016. About Smart Growth.
  48. Victoria Transport Policy Institute. 2016. Transit Oriented Development.
  49. WMATA and the City of Arlington. 2016. Metroway Goes the Distance!

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle R. Oswald Beiler
    • 1
  1. 1.Civil and Environmental EngineeringBucknell UniversityLewisburgUSA

Personalised recommendations