Shipper Preferences Suggest Strong Mistrust of Rail: Results from Stated Preference Carrier Choice Survey for Quebec City-Windsor Corridor in Canada

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - vehicle, mode - rail


Windsor (Canada), Vehicle exhaust, Trucking, Truck transportation, Stated preferences, Shippers, Regulatory policy, Railroad transportation, Rail transportation, Quebec City (Canada), Quebec (Canada), Pollutants, Policy, Policies, Motor truck transportation, Mode share, Modal split, Modal shift, Greenhouse gases, Government policy, Freight transportation, Exhaust gases, Exhaust emissions, Emissions, Carrier selection, Automobile exhaust


The Quebec City–Windsor corridor is the busiest and most important trade and transportation corridor in Canada. The transportation sector is the second-largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the country. Governments around the world, including Canada’s, are considering increasing mode share by rail as a way of reducing transportation emissions. To understand whether freight mode shift is a realistic means of reducing transportation emissions, an analytical model is needed that can predict the effect of government policy on mode split. This paper presents the findings of the first such model developed for the Quebec City–Windsor Corridor. The model itself is a stated preference carrier choice model of shippers in this busy route. The model was developed by using the results of a stated preference survey undertaken in fall 2005. The survey was designed explicitly to evaluate shipper preferences for the carriage of intercity consignments, particularly their preferences for carriers that contract the services of rail companies to carry these shipments via rail. The results of the study (a) show that shippers are mistrustful of using rail to move their consignments and (b) suggest that increasing rail’s share of freight transport faces tremendous challenges.