Title

RAILROADS IN THE CITY: OVERLOOKED RAIL TRANSIT OPPORTUNITIES

Authors

J G. Allen

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2001

Subject Area

infrastructure - right of way, planning - surveys, ridership - commuting, place - cbd, mode - bus, mode - rail

Keywords

Transportation economics, Transport economics, Surveys, Right of way (Land), Railways, Railroads, Rail transit, Markets, Major activity centers, Links (Networks), Economics, Downtowns, City centers, Central business districts, Activity centers

Abstract

Transportation officials today are under pressure to deliver attractive rail transit at affordable prices. Although rail rights-of-way are often the least costly on a unit basis, planners frequently prefer other alignments that can better serve major origins and destinations. Yet occasionally rights-of-way built for railroads connect major activity centers with one another. In these cases, using rail alignments offers the dual benefits of economy and effective service to markets. A survey examines four existing and two proposed operations that link the region's largest downtown with at least two other major destinations within, or adjacent to, the central city along rail rights-of-way. These systems cover a full range of operating technologies and metropolitan sizes. The opportunities for using railroad rights-of-way to provide rail transit between major urban activity centers are not widespread and vary widely from city to city. Nevertheless, some possibilities do exist, and their potential has yet to be fully tapped.