Portland Transportation Study

Background

The Portland Transportation Center (PTC) serves as a transportation terminal in Portland, Maine for Concord Coach Lines’ (CCL) intercity bus service to eastern and northern Maine and points south (particularly express service to Boston and NYC), as well as Amtrak’s Downeaster service between Boston and Brunswick (managed by NNEPRA). The PTC terminal and property, including parking lot, is located on the south side of Thompson’s Point Road and is owned and managed by CCL. MaineDOT owns an adjacent Park and Ride Lot on the north side of Thompson’s Point Road that serves transit customers (both bus and train). The PTC is shown in the figure below.

Bird's Eye view of parking lotThe PTC is in urgent need of a terminal renovation and additional parking capacity, and if NNEPRA remains at the PTC, added train platform capacity. NNEPRA has indicated that the location of the station on the Mountain Division spur was impeding ridership (currently trains need to back into the spur to pick up and discharge passengers, adding significant time and cost to each trip). A mainline location was needed to maximize efficiency of the Downeaster and fully realize its ridership potential for travelers within Maine, as well as between Maine and Boston. Possible sites have been identified on the main line just to the north and south of the Mountain Division junction which would support a station and could arguably benefit from redevelopment that needs further evaluation.

Study Purpose

The purpose of the PTC Study is to evaluate, from a customer and transportation system perspective, various alternatives to address the existing deficiencies identified above and recommend which alternative best balances identified costs as compared to documented benefits. The PTC Study’s goal is to recommend practicable solutions that enhance customer satisfaction and improve long-term mobility and safety for the region.

Study Status

The PTC Study began in June 2019, and a Phase I evaluation was completed in December 2019. Phase I focused on evaluating the following alternatives:

  • Maintaining the bus and rail station at the intermodal transportation center at the current PTC location on Thompson’s Point Road
  • Co-locating the bus and rail station at other locations along the rail mainline in the immediate vicinity of St. John Street
  • Separating the CCL intercity bus and rail stations

Phase I concluded with the identified need to continue the Study process, providing additional focus on specific alternatives remaining after an initial screening and the opportunity to add additional alternatives to the Study process.

Phase II of the PTC study is now reaching completion, and the draft Phase II report is available to view. We welcome comments on the draft. Also provided is an Executive Summary, which provides details on the consultant recommendations and MaineDOT’s proposed path forward. To provide comments, use the Contact Us link in the menu at the top of the page or click here.

Study Stakeholders

The Study is guided by a Principal Stakeholders’ group, comprised of NNEPRA, CCL, METRO, City of Portland, and MaineDOT. GPCOG/PACTS, as the region’s Metropolitan Planning Organization, serves as an advisor to the project.