Massachusetts Department of Transporatation Massachusetts Bay Transporatation Authority
Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative


Smart Growth Program

New jobs, homes and development are projected for the South Coast region by 2030. This growth, while welcome for many reasons, can also bring some unwanted changes. It can threaten the historic farms and villages, fields, forests and cities on the South Coast. The South Coast Rail project seeks to welcome and shape the coming growth in ways that protect communities and the environment – an approach called smart growth. A response to low density, auto-dependent development often referred to as “sprawl,” smart growth emphasizes the preservation of local resources, including people, land and water, while concentrating new development in areas where infrastructure exists and promoting mixed-use, well-connected and walkable neighborhoods. Clustering jobs, homes, and transportation in places where infrastructure exists, while preserving open space and natural resources is an effective strategy for managing growth and new transit.

South Coast Rail will be the third largest infrastructure project in recent state history – and the first based on smart growth principles, resulting in many economic and environmental benefits.

In support of a smart growth approach to development, the Commonwealth identified the following Sustainable Development Principles to guide state policies and investments:

  1. Concentrate Development and Mix-Uses
  2. Advance Equity
  3. Make Efficient Decisions
  4. Protect Land and Ecosystems
  5. Use Natural Resources Wisely
  6. Expand Housing Opportunities
  7. Provide Transportation Choice
  8. Increase Job and Business Opportunities
  9. Promote Clean Energy
  10. Plan Regionally

Economic Development and Land Use Corridor Plan

The award-winning South Coast Rail Economic Development and Land Use Corridor Plan, a blueprint for economic and residential development, job creation and environmental preservation, provides the framework for new development and growth in the South Coast region. The Corridor Plan is intended to maximize potential economic development and land use benefits to local cities and towns, the region, and the state as a whole. The Commonwealth has also committed to funding local Technical Assistance grants to help communities implement activities identified in the Corridor Plan.

Did You Know?

Public transit can generate dense developments that bring people together and allow them to share resources. This concept, known as agglomeration, has measurable economic and environmental benefits. Agglomeration has the potential to generate job growth, increase wages and promote economic productivity. Since walking and biking are more favorable in denser communities, agglomeration helps take single-occupancy vehicles off the road.

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