Proposed Infrastructure Pricing Methodology for Mixed-Use Rail Networks

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

ridership - commuting, policy - sustainable, economics - pricing, mode - rail


Sustainable transportation, Railways, Railroads, Railroad transportation, Rail transportation, Pricing, Passenger trains, Methodology, Methodologies, Internal costs, Infrastructure, High speed trains, Freight trains, External costs


A pricing methodology adapted to specific railroad infrastructures and the trains that use them is one way to ensure that railroad networks used by several different operators are used optimally. The diversity of railway networks (new lines and old lines) and services (long-distance and suburban passenger trains, freight trains, etc.) makes it difficult to develop such a pricing methodology. A pricing methodology is proposed for a mixed-use rail network designed to encourage efficient network use and thereby contribute to development of a sustainable transport system. The proposed methodology considers internal and external costs. It could be applied by different network operators (e.g., national rail networks) differently on the basis of policy objectives. One feature of the pricing methodology is that it would partially subsidize a rail service’s infrastructure charges on the basis of savings in external costs when a certain level of demand is met by railroad rather than road. The proposed methodology also considers the rail service operator’s willingness to pay and public service issues. How the proposed methodology would be applied for different train services is described. Conclusions show that under the proposed pricing methodology, charges would increase in the following order: suburban, regional passenger trains, and freight trains (lowest) to high-speed trains (highest).