The standard definition of productivity as being the relationship between the factors of production and physical output (goods or services or both) is accepted and the various and commonly used measures in the railroad industry are critically evaluated. Problems range from the credibility of data to the difficulty in separating changes in ton-miles due to productivity versus shifts in traffic consist. The conclusion is reached that there are many indicators of railroad productivity but no reliable overall standard acceptable for all purposes. Thus the adoption of productivity measurements is a function of the use of those measurements. For instance, relatively simple productivity measurements are available as a basis for making capital investment decisions. On the other hand, highly sensitive uses of railroad productivity changes, such as adjusting the rail cost adjustment factor or increasing labor wages, demand precise productivity measurements, which are currently not available. Given the problems of calculating railroad productivity (e.g., assets that float throughout the country and are used by railroad competitors, long-lived assets, a multitude of output factors, and the inability to properly calculate the value of capital stock) it is unlikely that an overall railroad productivity measure can be developed that would satisfy the standards of precision, reliability, and general application.

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 1-5
  • Monograph Title: Railroad productivity
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00455814
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309039207
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: May 31 1986 12:00AM