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473700-00076-1 Report Abstract

The Potential for Improving Rail International Intermodal Services in Texas and the Southwest Region of the United States

Robert Harrison and James R. Blaze, University of Texas at Austin, June 2011, 78 pp. (473700-00076-1)

The report covers a period of great significance for railroading in the U.S as it contains a number of milestones now shaping the future performance of the industry. The specific subject is improving intermodal service so that it can support state and regional highway planning, now facing severe financial cut-backs as revenue sources become fully committed to bond servicing, user taxes, loose purchasing power and fuel consumption begins to fall. Intermodal traffic grew strongly in the period 1995 – 2007 and UP and BNSF trans-continental routes were improved largely on the back of intermodal demand. Alliances with larger trucking companies strengthened and transportation officials began to ask whether rail could take some of the predicted freight off key highway corridors. This report addresses elements of this question, more especially as it relates to intermodal traffic in Texas and the Southwest. The report comprises the following sections. Chapter 2 considers the changes in rail freight since the Staggers Act, Chapter 3 evaluates Class 1 intermodal service, and Chapter 4 identifies the major trade corridors serving Texas and the Southern region of the U.S. Chapter 5 describes rail bottlenecks on the state rail system that might impact future intermodal growth, and Chapter 6 concludes by examining the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to rail intermodal service in Texas and the Southern region over the next decade.

Keywords: Freight rail, Intermodal, Texas Rail Investment, Multimodal Planning

ENTIRE REPORT (Adobe Acrobat File – 2.3 MB)