Comparison of external costs of rail and truck freight transportation

In this article we estimate external costs for four representative types of freight trains. For each type of freight train, we estimate three general types of external costs and compare them with the private costs experienced by railroad companies. The general types of external costs include: accidents (fatalities, injuries, and property damage); emissions (air pollution and greenhouse gases); and noise. Resulting private and external costs are compared with those of freight trucking, estimated in an earlier article. Rail external costs are 0.24 cent to 0.25 cent (US) per ton-mile, well less than the 1.11 cent for freight trucking, but external costs for rail generally constitute a larger amount relative to private costs, 9.3-22.6%, than is the case for trucking, 13.2%.


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  • Accession Number: 01393191
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Files: ATRI
  • Created Date: Aug 23 2012 9:22AM