by Dave Towers, P.E.
HMMH is proud to be a part of the team that prepared the NEC FUTURE Tier 1 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that was released by the U.S. Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) earlier this week. NEC FUTURE is a comprehensive plan for improvements to the Northeast Corridor (NEC) rail line from Washington, D.C. to Boston, Massachusetts and the objective of the Tier 1 EIS is to evaluate the broad environmental impacts of several NEC alternatives. HMMH was responsible for evaluating the potential noise and vibration impacts of these alternatives to residential and other sensitive land uses along the existing NEC and potential new routes. The noise and vibration analysis was conducted based on the methodology outlined in guidance documents for noise and vibration impact assessment prepared by HMMH for both the FRA and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Estimates of noise and vibration levels accounted for passenger and freight rail operations as well as roadway and aircraft traffic in areas along the routes and the results provided estimates of residential populations and sensitive resources within impact zones for each of the alternatives. After the Tier 1 process is completed, a Tier 2 EIS will be undertaken to evaluate impacts for a preferred alternative in site-specific detail.