Teaching Case - Extending the Green Line to Somerville

Extending the Green Line to Somerville


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  • Product Description

    In 2012 Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick presided over the groundbreaking for a 4.3 mile extension of the Green Line, a light rail transit line, into Somerville, a very dense, older inner suburb in the Boston metropolitan area. The Green Line extension was projected to cost $1.2 billion (in 2012 dollars) to build but add only 7,500 weekday trips to greater Boston's public transportation system. Advocates argued that the extension was worthwhile nonetheless and that the State of Massachusetts was legally bound to build it anyway as part of the environmental commitments the State had made to do the “Big Dig” highway project. But was it possible that such a large project would have so little impact on transit ridership and land uses? And why, given its poor performance, did the project have such widespread political support?

    Learning Objective:
    This case is designed primarily for a course in transportation or urban policy to stimulate a discussion of the effects of public transit improvements on travel patterns and land uses and the incentives to support seemingly less productive infrastructure investments. It also can be used in a course on project evaluation to illustrate the application of benefit-cost analysis.

  • Other Details

    Publication Date: July 18, 2013
    Teaching Plan: Available with Educator Access
    HKS Case Number: 1983.0
    Case Author: David Luberoff
    Faculty Lead: Jose Gomez-Ibanez
    Pages (incl. exhibits): 33
    Setting: United States
    Language: English
    Funding Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, New England University Transportation Center
    _year: 2010-2015
    _pages: 25+
    _geography: US & Canada
  • Warranty Information

    /review/1983.0.EducatorCopy.pdf, /teachingplan/1983_2.pdf