Shortline Railroads and Rail Transit: Joint Development Planning Issues

This paper considers a scenario of increased rail transit new starts that share infrastructure and track with lightly used railroads. New start sponsors who see an opportunity to share infrastructure with a railroad that has capacity for rail transit traffic are likely to engage a local, shortline business. Regional transportation planning involvement of railroads in public-sector programs and goals is uncommon. This paper explores the perspective of local railroads in the context of potential rail transit planning and joint development. Surveys and interviews were conducted at 30 shortline and regional railroads, primarily serving cities without rail transit, but where the railroad operates on a potential rail transit route. A smaller, parallel survey engaged transportation planners at 13 metropolitan planning organizations and one regional port, where almost half of the surveyed railroads are located, in order to compare planning agency and shortline perspectives. The surveys sampled attitudes, interest, and conditions related to potential joint development that can be broadly summarized by four questions: To what extent are shortline railroads recognized and incorporated in regional plans and transportation programs? What public policies are important to the shortline railroads? What business issues are important to shortlines that may help transit developers achieve mutually agreeable joint development? What are operating and right-of-way conditions that might suffice for Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) approvals of shared track transit operations using noncompliant diesel-powered vehicles? The survey results point to new planning methodologies that meld rail transit and rail freight interests, project goals, and conceptual design standards in joint development programs.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 176-193
  • Monograph Title: Joint International Light Rail Conference: A World of Applications and Opportunities, April 9-11, 2006, St. Louis, Missouri
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01044155
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Mar 15 2007 9:40AM