Iowa Rail Route Alternatives Analysis, June 1998

(1998) Iowa Rail Route Alternatives Analysis, June 1998. Transportation, Department of


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The development of new rail systems in the first part of the 21st century is the result of a wide range of trends that are making it increasingly difficult to maintain regional mobility using the two dominant intercity travel modes, auto and air. These trends include the changing character of the economic structure of industry. The character of the North American industrial structure is moving rapidly from a manufacturing base to a service based economy. This is increasing the need for business travel while the increase in disposable income due to higher salaries has promoted increased social and tourist travel. Another trend is the change in the regulatory environment. The trend towards deregulation has dramatically reduced the willingness of the airlines to operate from smaller airports and the level of service has fallen due to the creation of hub and spoke systems. While new air technology such as regional jets may mitigate this trend to some degree in medium-size airports, smaller airports will continue to lose out. Finally, increasing environmental concerns have reduced the ability of the automobile to meet intercity travel needs because of increased suburban congestion and limited highway capacity in big cities. Against this background the rail mode offers new options due to first, the existing rail rights-of-way offering direct access into major cities that, in most cases, have significant capacity available and, second, a revolution in vehicle technology that makes new rail rolling stock faster and less expensive to purchase and operate. This study is designed to evaluate the potential for rail service making an important contribution to maintaining regional mobility over the next 30 to 50 years in Iowa. The study evaluates the potential for rail service on three key routes across Iowa and assesses the impact of new train technology in reducing costs and improving rail service. The study also considers the potential for developing the system on an incremental basis. The service analysis and recommendations do not involve current Amtrak intercity service. That service is presumed to continue on its current route and schedule. The study builds from data and analyses that have been generated for the Midwest Rail Initiative (MWRI) Study. For example, the zone system and operating and capital unit cost assumptions are derived from the MWRI study. The MWRI represents a cooperative effort between nine Midwest states, Amtrak and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) contracting with Transportation Economics & Management Systems, Inc. to evaluate the potential for a regional rail system. The 1 The map represents the system including the decision on the Iowa route derived from the current study. Iowa Rail Route Alternatives Analysis TEMS 1-2 system is to offer modern, frequent, higher speed train service to the region, with Chicago as the connecting hub. Exhibit 1-1 illustrates the size of the system, and how the Iowa route fits in to the whole.

Item Type: Departmental Report
Keywords: Iowa Rail, MWRI, Rail Routes
Subjects: Transportation > Research
Transportation > Design and Construction
Transportation > Railroads
ID Code: 13579
Deposited By: Margaret Barr
Deposited On: 21 Aug 2012 13:14
Last Modified: 21 Aug 2012 13:14