The proposed line would run past 13 colleges and universities in total, including the University of Connecticut, which has about 25,000 students, and the University of Massachusetts, which has about 27,000 students. New London and Willimantic also have a college population of more than 11,000.
Together, these two campuses account for over 35% of the total student population at tending state universities in New England, and by far the greatest concentration of that population. Every other flagship campus, including UVM, or major campus of a state university in New England is either on or within 5-10 minutes travel of an existing rail line or planned rail line.
The Central Corridor passes through communities containing colleges and universities serving about 70,000 students. By improving the NECR line at modest cost and adding stops at Palmer , Millers Falls, Mansfield/Storrs CT and other communities, direct passenger rail connect ions could be established between the two largest state university flagship campuses in New England and UVM, and with the rest of southern New England.
Creating connections between UVM, UMass, and UConn, with other regional colleges and nearby urban centers, will increase communication and economic development.
College students and academic travelers are the most frequent and reliable users of passenger rail service, and are a primary source of ridership. For example, near ly 11,500 (57%) of the 20,210 undergraduate students enrolled at UMass/Amherst in fall 2009 listed a home mailing address in eastern Massachusetts (Worcester , Boston and its suburbs, southeastern Mass., and the Cape) . Many of these students grew up using the MBTA lines- train travel is second nature to them. The demand is clearly here. Every Friday afternoon, Peter Pan Bus Lines operates five, one-way express runs from Amherst to Boston. Additionally, wherever rail service is available, students and other academics regularly travel by rail to at tend major sports or cultural events being held at other campuses. Note the huge 150,000 passenger rail traffic at Amtrak’s Kingston, RI stop, a town of 6,000 inhabitants, but
home to the 16,000 students of URI.
ASSORTED PERTINENT STATISTICS
Number of universities/colleges 15
Univ. /colleges with more than 20,000 students 2
Total student population 78,000
Student population of three largest institutions 37,000
Major Nearby Campuses that Benefit from Central Corridor Line
UMass – Amherst (26,500 students)
UConn – Storrs (24,000 students)
ECSU – Willimantic (6,000 students)
Three Rivers CC (4,000 students)
Amherst College (2,000 students)
Connecticut College (1,800 students)
Coast Guard Academy (1,500 students)
Hampshire College (1,400 students)
Mitchell College (1,000 students)
UConn Avery Point (750 students)
Total Students: 68,950