Creating Community Links to Better Understand Industrial Development

With the help of an NPF Transportation Scholar, Lowell National Historical Park was able to expand critical public infrastructure and increase park visits.

The history of America's Industrial Revolution is commemorated in Lowell, Massachusetts. The Boott Cotton Mills Museum with its operating weave room of 88 power looms, "mill girl" boardinghouses, the Suffolk Mill Turbine Exhibit and guided tours tell the story of the transition from farm to factory, chronicle immigrant and labor history and trace industrial technology. The park includes textile mills, worker housing, canals, and 19th-century commercial buildings.

Lowell National Historical Park is working in cooperation with several local partners to pursue expansion of the Park's 1.5-mile visitor trolley system into a larger 7-mile public transit system, creating a heritage transit system in downtown Lowell, Massachusetts.

As is typical of older cities, roadways within Lowell are narrow with limited opportunities for expansion due to existing development, much of which is historic and are considered critical resources within the Lowell National Historical Park.

The trolley extension enhanced the city's existing transit services for trips within the downtown historic district and reduced the need for short automobile trips within the downtown. It also addressed travel demand for trips between the downtown area and outside locations allowing the park to attract additional visitors.