U.S. Railroad Efficiency: A Brief Economic Overview

The focus of U.S. transportation policy in the 19th and 20th centuries was on extending the benefits of transportation to more locales and to more citizens. The focus of policy in the 21st century must also be on reducing the costs of transportation. Current transportation costs associated with safety, congestion, sprawl, and pollution are high. Future costs associated with the scarcity of petroleum could be cataclysmic. The railroad network is a national asset that could be used to reduce the costs of transportation. This paper has two aims consistent with that possibility: to describe the efficiency improvements that the railroad industry itself has made in the past few decades, and to describe the role that the rail network could play in a more efficient overall national transportation system.


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  • Accession Number: 01046036
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Apr 9 2007 3:54PM