Benjamin Forman

Benjamin Forman is the research director at MassINC, a nonpartisan think tank located in Boston.  

Recent Articles

Linking Commuter Rail to Jobs, Housing, and Opportunity in Eastern Massachusetts

Developers have a laser-like focus on projects in Boston and its inner suburbs while ignoring the rich potential of smaller cities that have decades-old rail connections to the state capital.

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer Passengers board a train at South Station in Boston Waiting at a suburban station for the train to Boston, I remember my father, who commuted to the state capital from our home south of the city for more than four decades. These old, stubborn purple-trimmed trains still lumber along just like they did when he first started riding them to work in the 1970s. As I listen for the rails to hiss and give away the approaching train, I wonder if the waves of growth and innovation engulfing metro Boston will finally force the Bay State to take a fresh approach to transit, housing, and commercial development. Scurrying down the platform toward a conductor, who hangs out of an open door to wave us in, I pass a route map for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) vast commuter rail network. A dozen branching lines carry passengers over nearly 400 miles of track (Chicago and New York are the only systems in the U.S. with greater reach). In the first...