Business Model for Commingled Operations of Freight and Non-FRA-Compliant Passenger Rail Services

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, infrastructure - track, infrastructure - vehicle, mode - bus, mode - rail, mode - tram/light rail, mode - mass transit


Transit vehicle operations, Transit, Tracks, Shared tracks, Railroad vehicle operations, Railroad transportation, Railroad tracks, Rail transportation, Public transit, Mass transit, Local transit, Light rail transit, Goods movement, Freight traffic, Freight and passenger traffic, Business models


It is a challenge to develop a business model of commingled operations of freight and non-FRA-compliant passenger rail services because there are no domestic cases of such operations and the number of cases in which freight and light rail transit (LRT) equipment share tracks on a temporal basis of separation is limited. Greater opportunities for commingling may be created, however, because in many domestic cases public passenger transportation and private freight operations share track and there are many proven international experiences with commingled operations of LRT and freight services. This paper identifies and describes the components recommended for inclusion in the business models for both freight railroad operations and public transit agencies for the potential implementation of relevant shared-use operations. These components include shared-use agreements related to costs, capacity, risk sharing, and insurance on the basis of both domestic and international experiences. Building on the experiences of existing shared-use operations and the plans under development, the authors have constructed a business model that can serve as a starting point for future operations.