Danbury Branch Line Service Study

This study was prepared by the South Western Regional Planning Agency in 1995 to look at how well the Danbury Branch Line serves major employers in several southwestern Connecticut towns. The major focus was on the intrastate rather than the interstate commuters in the region. In late 1993 employers with 100 or more employees in the South Western Region began an ‘Employee Commute Option (ECO)’ Program, which encouraged use of transit for commuting.

The study looked at 11 origin/residence towns in the region (Bethel, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield, Sherman, and Wilton) and 5 destination/employment towns (Darien, Greenwich, Norwalk, Stamford, and Wilton). The table below lists the number of people from each origin town working in each destination town for one of the ECO employers. The table also lists the total number of people working for the ECO employers in each destination town regardless of origin town. The ECO population represented approximately 28% of the total population in the region.

1995 Danbury Branch Line Service Study ECO Employees by Town


Source: SWRPA ECO database, 1995

Prior to the 1995 Metro-North Danbury Branch Line service addition, there was a 2-hour service gap that covered the scheduled ending time of 80% of commuters between the 11 origin towns and ECO employers in 5 the destination towns. Other problems noted in the report were:

 
  • Limited parking
  • Inconvenient and inadequate service (especially lack of north-bound peak train)
  • Need for transfers between trains
  • Inadequate marketing of new train service, and
  • Lack of connecting transit (in some towns) to take passengers to and from their train stations to work and home.

The study concluded that a large market existed for expanded intrastate service on the Danbury Line. The existing service was sufficient for New York–bound employees but was not optimal for a majority of employees in Connecticut’s coastal towns. To that end, the following recommendations were made:

 
  • Examine rail service enhancements in Wilton and a potential link with commuter connection shuttles and bus service.
  • Change the schedule or add a new morning peak train to Danbury from South Norwalk with an emphasis on the Merritt 7 and Wilton Stations.
  • Add stops in Stamford and Greenwich on peak Danbury Branch through trains.
  • These are valuable time slots and stop locations for intrastate commuters.
  • Continue track and parking improvements.

 

Study Sections
 

Route 7 Corridor Travel Options Implementation Plan
Danbury Branch Line Shuttle Feasibility Study
Rail Transit Development Program
Danbury Branch Line Service Study
The Untapped Market for Rail Passenger Service
Action Plan for Restoring Passenger Rail Service to New Milford
Congestion Mitigation Systems Plan “Vision 2020”