Intermodal Planning is one of the busiest sections of RIDOT, taking the lead on major expansion of passenger rail service in Rhode Island with new two new stations in Warwick and Wickford Junction and studies ongoing for future stations. Beyond those high profile efforts, Intermodal Planning is the lead in a host of other projects, all having to do with alternative transportation projects or those making improvements to enhance our transportation system. These efforts fall into two major project categories, those called Enhancement Projects and those done under the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Program.
The growing momentum towards intermodal transportation must be sustained and cultivated as an underlying philosophy for establishing a well-balanced transportation system in the state. Continued emphasis on modal diversification and intermodal linkages will strengthen the state’s transportation system, reduce pollution, and offer convenient, efficient, and enjoyable means for visitors to traverse the state.
RIDOT recognizes the potential for commuter rail service to reduce congestion and improve mobility throughout Rhode Island, including the busy commuting corridors of I-95 and Route 4 in South County.
To reach this goal, RIDOT has established a 20-mile extension of commuter rail service from Boston south of Providence. New stations at Warwick and Wickford Junction represent the first facilities to open as part of the South County Commuter Rail (SCCR) project.
Service to Wickford Junction represents the minimal operating segment of future Providence to Westerly service. SCCR service operates as an extension of the existing Providence to Boston commuter rail service operated by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA).
Service to Warwick started in December 2010. Service to Wickford began in April 2012.
The Interlink at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick officially opened on October 27, 2010. The Interlink offers multiple transportation alternatives, including a consolidated rental car facility serving the airport, local RIPTA bus service and MBTA commuter rail service to Providence and Boston.
The rental car facility and train station are connected to the airport terminal by a 1,200 foot, elevated, enclosed skywalk with moving sidewalks, creating one of the closest physically enclosed rail connections to a major airport in the country. Additionally, the City of Warwick anticipates that the intermodal connection will serve as a catalyst for economic development within the city’s Warwick Station Redevelopment District.
The site of the station is in the Wickford Junction Shopping Plaza on Ten Rod Road (Route 102) in North Kingstown near the intersection of Route 4. Wickford Junction Station is a critical component in the SCCR plan, providing 58 percent of the total projected commuter rail ridership. The was built through a public-private partnership with an adjoining private developer and consists of a parking garage with 1,100 commuter spaces with 10 charging stations for electric cars.
RIDOT is undergoing a Phase II Study that will provide feasibility, operational and cost analysis for four future passenger rail stations, two existing (Kingston and Westerly) and three proposed (Cranston, East Greenwich and West Davisville). Phase II service will build upon the 20-mile MBTA commuter rail extension from Providence to Wickford Junction, potentially extending service another 24 miles south to Westerly. Also, connections to Connecticut’s Shoreline East service will be explored.
The Cranston Transit Station has emerged as one of the major concepts coming out of several public workshops in the development of an updated City Comprehensive Plan. The location chosen to study this topic is an underutilized area about halfway between the Providence Station and the proposed commuter rail station at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick. This location is defined by Park Avenue to the north, Elmwood Avenue to the east, Wellington Avenue to the south and west and the Amtrak Northeast Corridor (NEC) bisecting the project area.
The East Greenwich Commuter Rail station has long been a vision for the Town of East Greenwich. The station would simultaneously fulfill two strategic goals for the Town; the first being better public transit connections to the urban core of Rhode Island and the Boston region and the second being smart growth in a prime area for redevelopment within the Town. By combining commuter rail development with redevelopment of vacant and underused land, a transit-oriented urban setting could be created in the Town adjacent to its already urbanized core.
Located 3 miles from the University of Rhode Island (URI), this historic station was renovated by RIDOT in 1998. The station currently serves as an Amtrak station stop and as the trailhead for the South County Bike Trail. Recently, the station has experienced a substantial increase in Amtrak ridership, demonstrating demand for more frequent and affordable commuter rail service.
RIDOT will explore the feasibility of a potential commuter rail stop at West Davisville in North Kingstown. This area is part of the Quonset Business Park, the state's largest industrial park with more than 8,800 employees.
The renovated historic Westerly Station is located near the Connecticut state line and serves as an Amtrak station stop. Strategically located, the existing station and immediate surroundings provide a unique opportunity to enhance development, including Transit-Oriented Development (TOD), and will support rail service to Providence.
The City of Pawtucket, with its consultant Vanasse, Hangen, Brustlin (VHB), completed a study exploring the restoration of commuter rail service at Pawtucket/Central Falls.
The Federal Transit Administration has released $1.9 million in New Starts Program Funding for preliminary engineering and environmental review as part of the next phase of development for a proposed commuter rail station in Pawtucket.
A passenger rail study for a link from Woonsocket to Providence and Boston has been completed by the City of Woonsocket. RIDOT actively participated as a project stakeholder.
The study focused on potential passenger rail between Woonsocket and Providence, including ridership demand and potential station sites.
The Providence Foundation and the City of Woonsocket were awarded a Rhode Island Statewide Planning Challenge Grant to explore the potential for an intrastate passenger rail service operating between Woonsocket and T.F. Green State Airport in Warwick. The study found that intrastate commuter rail would serve two-thirds of Rhode Island's population and most major employment centers by operating on two active lines: Amtrak's Northeast Corridor (NEC) and the Providence and Worcester Railroad's main line.
RIDOT completed a passenger survey of MBTA commuters at Providence and South Attleboro Stations during the Summer of 2008. The purpose of the survey was to find origins and destinations of RI commuters using the existing MBTA service and if these passengers would consider using the new stations at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick and Wickford Junction in North Kingstown as well as other potential future stations along the Northeast Corridor in Rhode Island.
In 1994, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation evaluated several abandoned and underutilized railroad rights-of-way for reuse as transit corridors. Based on ridership projections, environmental issues and cost estimates, the study determined the feasibility of implementing light rail, commuter rail and busway technology on each corridor.
Transportation Enhancements are non-traditional transportation improvements with links to the intermodal transportation system. Enhancements serve to integrate a transportation facility into the surrounding community and natural environment. The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) established 12 categories under which projects may be considered for Transportation Enhancement funding.
CMAQ funding is focused on investment in air quality improvements; it provides funds for projects that expand or initiate transportation services with air quality benefits. This program was designed with flexible guidelines that allow the CMAQ Program to cut across traditional boundaries and encompass projects and programs dealing with highways, transit, and non-traditional areas, such as vehicle emission inspection and maintenance, and traffic operations, to name just a few.
Commuter Resource RI
A free program, administered by the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) and funded by RIDOT’s CMAQ Program, Commuter Resource RI provides transportation information and services to Rhode Island corporations and employees in order to: reduce single-occupant vehicle trips, increase high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) commuting, reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality and maximize use of public transit.
Click here more information or call 1-888-887-4782
Rhode Island has become a leader in providing bike paths, bike lanes and bike routes to its residents and visitors. Today there are nearly 60 miles of paved bike paths in Rhode Island and more than 40 miles of paths under design. Rhode Island is also one of the few states on the East Coast that has a majority of its portion of the East Coast Greenway completed. Also, Rhode Island is dedicated to improving pedestrian access in cities and towns statewide. Please visit our informative BikeRI webpage dedicated to bicycling in the Ocean State. Downloadable bike path maps are available.
Safe Routes to School is a RIDOT-funded program designed to reach out to communities to develop programs and projects to promote walking to school. As a result of various state and local pilot programs over the last few years, federal legislation establishing Safe Routes to School programs in every state was passed. Eligible activities include:
Infrastructure projects that will substantially improve the ability of students to walk and bicycle to school. Examples include crosswalks, sidewalks and repairs, traffic calming, etc.
Non-infrastructure related programs and activities to encourage walking and bicycling to school. Examples include traffic enforcement, "walking school buses," walking clubs, bike rodeos, etc.
Please visit Statewide Planning’s Safe Routes to School website for more information.
RIDOT is responsible for the funding of capital improvements of ferry terminal sites for ferry services in the state. Ferry Boat Discretionary (FBD) grants are available through an annual application process with the Federal Highway Administration.
Current projects include Galilee Terminal Improvements for the Block Island Ferry and Pawtucket’s Town Landing Site, which is currently under design. Other Ferry Terminal Projects include the Newport Harbor Shuttle Project which will develop an inner-harbor service to various points of interest in Newport Harbor.
Several year round and seasonal ferry services are operated in Rhode Island:
These services provide an alternative mode of transportation or provide the sole means of transportation. Future ferry services may include some type of cross-bay ferry service, perhaps from the Warwick area to the Bristol area (roughly halfway between the new Providence River Bridge (I-195) in Providence and the Newport and Jamestown Bridges).
Intermodal Planning is responsible for the placement of new commuter Park & Ride locations. Working closely with RIPTA, new sites are evaluated based on highway proximity, environmental constraints, right-of-way and cost. The current 20 lots are monitored and evaluated on a regular basis to determine if expansion or an alternative site is warranted, or if closing is appropriate.
For Park & Ride service to Providence schedule information, visit RIPTA's Park & Ride site or call RIPTA at 781-9400 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).
Some of these intermodal hubs are full-service centers that have been created or improved in recent years. Others on the list provide minimal facilities at present and require upgrading. New intermodal stations, particularly new rail stations, will be required to meet travel demand in the future.
Northern Rhode Island:
Woonsocket Depot – Woonsocket
Blackstone Valley Visitors’ Center – Pawtucket
Metro Rhode Island:
Amtrak Station -- Providence
Kennedy Plaza (major RIPTA hub) -- Providence
Point Street Landing -- Providence
T.F. Green Airport – Warwick
East Bay Rhode Island:
RIPTA Hub (Ames Plaza), East Providence
Newport Gateway Visitors’ Center and Perrotti Park
Southern Rhode Island:
Quonset Davisville -- North Kingstown
Kingston Station -- South Kingstown
RIPTA Hub (Wakefield Mall) -- South Kingstown
Westerly Station -- Westerly
Port of Galilee -- Narragansett
Old Harbor -- Block Island
Wickford Junction -- North Kingstown
The Rhode Island Statewide Planning Program, in cooperation with other agencies, prepares a long-range (20-plus years) transportation plan that is part of the State Guide Plan. The State Guide Plan is a collection of plans and policy documents adopted by the State Planning Council that addresses the social, economic and physical development of the state. The last transportation plan was adopted in 2004, for the year 2025. Federal regulations for ozone non-attainment areas, such as Rhode Island, require an update to the long-range plan every four years. Therefore, in 2008, this Plan update was completed, and the planning horizon was extended to the year 2030. View Transportation 2030.