Instead of converting former rail lines to multi-use trails, states and municipalities are also finding that trails can be built alongside active rail lines. This report examines the characteristics of 88 rails-with-trails in 33 states, based on a survey of trail managers and the results of ongoing study over the past 20 years.
Increased coal shipments to Washington State ports could significantly intensify congestion on both roads and rail lines. Two recent reports by Parametrix and the Sightline Institute discuss the impacts of increased shipments of fossil fuels (particularly coal) from Montana, Wyoming, and North Dakota to ports in the Pacific Northwest.
A study published in the Journal of the American Planning Association argues that the rail transit frequently used to define transit-oriented development is not the most important factor in reducing vehicle miles traveled and car ownership. Overall density and the availability of parking were shown to be the most important variables in predicting reduced driving.
While passenger rail has been on the front page, freight railroads have been thriving. However a new truck-to-rail transfer facility to serve the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has caused a fierce debate on the thorny question of how to weigh the value of regional economic and environmental benefits against local environmental impacts and environmental justice concerns.
More evidence that the public strongly supports system preservation comes from a survey performed for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. When asked to rank the importance of a variety of potential priorities for WisDOT, preservation came out on top by a wide margin with 47.3 percent of respondents citing it as “extremely important.” A year earlier, a survey for Washington DOT found a similar result in that state.
Early this month, a bipartisan group of senators, led by Al Franken (D-MN), called on the chairman of the Surface Transportation Board to assure that Berkshire Hathaway’s 2010 purchase of BNSF doesn’t result in unfair rate hikes for farms and businesses in Minnesota and nationally. He also recently called on President Obama to address a lack of freight rail competition that he claims is forcing businesses to pay unfair rates to ship their goods.
The legislation signed by President Obama on January 2nd to avert the tax increases scheduled to take effect as a result of the “fiscal cliff” included a two-year extension of the Section 45G tax credit for short line railroads to improve their infrastructure.
A new study of the preparations for and recovery from Superstorm Sandy outlines why New York City’s transit system was able to resume operations so quickly. The report from the Rudin Center for Transportation at NYU also points out the benefits of the city’s many transportation alternatives, which allowed residents other ways to get to work and other daily destinations following the storm.
For trips between 100 and 500 miles, express buses, trains, and airlines are all vying for customers and contemplating the future of these shorter trips. At the same time, drivers are seeking relief from crowded highways and high gas prices. Add in the desire of travelers to be in constant internet and cell phone contact with the world, and intercity travel begins to seem a very competitive market. While air travel will continue to be the dominant mode for longer trips, and driving continues to offer maximum flexibility, rail and bus service upgrades in comfort and accommodations for electronic connectivity are attracting a larger number of travelers each year.
GAO was asked to examine (1) features included in BRT projects funded by the FTA; (2) BRT project performance in terms of ridership and service and how they compare to rail transit projects; (3) how BRT-projects’ costs differ from rail transit …