The development of conflicts between urban areas and railroads in the United States is examined, and the nature and magnitude of the current problems and present and past effects to resolve them are described. Many American cities developed primarily as a result of the railroads, but changes in urban activities and transportation operations have altered somewhat the relation between the cities and railroads. Continuing expansion of urbanized areas and increases in vehicle travel have intensified the conflict. Cities have reacted by pushing for elimination of railroad- highway grade crossings and, in some cases, for consolidation, relocation, and/or removal of railroad tracks from the center city. Many city planners see the railroads as a hindrance to rejuvenation efforts. In some cities, underutilized railroad properties are in strategic locations that could be important in urban redevelopment plans. High-volume rail lines that pass through congested downtown areas can cause massive traffic jams and delays unless crossings are grade separated. Railroad-highway grade crossings pose safety problems to the motorist and restrict mobility, which is particularly important for emergency vehicles. In addition, the slow train speeds mandated by local municipalities, frequent grade crossings, and large numbers of trespassers are not compatible with efficient railroad operation. But new rail routes are difficult to locate and expensive to build, and there are many implementation problems involved in other, less expensive solutions, such as consolidation or abandonment.

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 58-66
  • Monograph Title: Railroad track and facilities
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00319312
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309030528
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Dec 11 1980 12:00AM