Some preliminary conclusions concerning the rate of technological change and railroad productivity are drawn based on the railroad industry's High Productivity Integral Train project. First, the economic targets established for integral trains appear to be reasonable in light of already available alternatives to conventional technology and opportunities for further improvement resulting from the design of noninterchange equipment and the exploration of possible improvements in truck and brake systems. If the targets are realized, integral-train technology should affect at a minimum 20 percent of railroad business and enable the industry to meet competitive challenges in the foreseeable future. Second, integral trains are not new conceptually or radically different in engineering. What is new is the economic and institutional environment. Mergers, deregulation, changing transportation markets, and truck competition have all improved the potential for integral-train technology and for other innovations that promise productivity improvement. Third, innovation in railroad equipment must overcome the adverse impacts of slow output growth, current excess capacity, long asset life, and the financial condition of the railroad supply industry. Therefore, the railroad industry may well need to explore new approaches to R&D and equipment purchasing policies if the rate of innovation is to be increased.

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: pp 58-64
  • Monograph Title: Railroad productivity
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00455824
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309039207
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: May 31 1988 12:00AM