State of the NEC Region Transportation System

The Northeast Corridor (NEC) Region (shown in light gray on the map below) is comprised of portions of 10 states and the District of Columbia, encompassing large and small metropolitan areas connected by the NEC rail network. The NEC Region is home to one out of every six Americans and one out of every five U.S. jobs on just two percent of the nation’s land area. Mobility in the NEC Region relies on an interdependent set of highway, rail, and aviation networks that constitute the country’s most diverse transportation system.

State of the Northeast Corridor Region Transportation System is a report that presents information on the current state of and future outlook for the Region’s multimodal passenger and freight transportation system. It draws on existing studies and databases to aggregate information at the level of the NEC Region. Explore the report below:

Where We Live

The NEC Region (shown in light gray below) is a dense and economically productive area, home to one out of every six Americans and one out of every five U.S. jobs. If the NEC Region were its own country, it would be the fifth largest in the world in terms of GDP – just behind Germany and just ahead of France.




How We Travel

Mobility in the NEC Region relies on an interdependent set of highway, rail, and aviation networks that comprise the country’s most diverse transportation system. Though the majority of commuters still commute by automobile (18 million or 74%), the Region added more transit commuters (708,000) than automobile commuters (671,000) between 2000 and 2011.



System Congestion and Performance

The NEC Region faces some of the nation’s highest congestion and worst travel delays.






Challenges and Opportunities for the Future

Population and employment in the NEC Region are projected to continue to grow, which may stress the already burdened transportation system and increase delays.


Separate travel forecasts for each mode – that are not constrained by the limits of the current transportation system – project that travel demand will grow across all modes in the NEC Region by 2040.


While grappling with the challenges of growing demand and increased congestion, the NEC Region is identifying opportunities to improve its transportation system and support continued economic and population growth.

Transportation agencies are working on ways to enhance connections between modes and improve transportation services across cities and metropolitan areas. In Viriginia, the Silver Line Extension to Dulles Airport, currently under construction, will create a new connection between transit service and air travel. In the NY Metropolitan Area, NJ TRANSIT and MTA Metro-North introduced a special joint rail service in 2009, offering seamless train service from Connecticut and New York to New Jersey for events at Met-Life Stadium.
Improvements in transportation technology are supporting increased travel demand while also mitigating congestion and delays. Agencies are increasingly taking advantage of technologies like electronic tolls and fare payments, real-time delay information for highways, transit, and air, next generation air traffic control, and modern signaling technology for trains and subways.
Local, state, regional, and federal agencies are working together in new ways to coordinate efforts and tackle shared challenges. Regional collaboration is yielding new technology and services, while supporting the development of long-term plans for the region’s transportation systems. For the NEC, the Federal Railroad Administration is leading a comprehensive and collaborative planning effort to define, evaluate, and prioritize investments through 2040 with the completion of a Service Development Plan and Environmental Impact Statement called NEC FUTURE.