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161003-1 Report Abstract

How Fast is a Fast Train? Comparing Attitudes and Preferences for Improved Passenger Rail Service among Urban Areas in the South Central High-Speed Rail Corridor

Benjamin R. Sperry and Curtis A. Morgan, Texas A&M University, December 2011, 89 pp. (161003-1)

High-speed passenger rail is seen by many in the U.S. transportation policy and planning communities as an ideal solution for fast, safe, and resource-efficient mobility in high-demand intercity corridors between 100 and 500 miles in total endpoint-to-endpoint length.  As the nation moves forward with a significant investment to improve its intercity passenger rail system, a number of planning and policy barriers still exist, making it difficult to fully realize the anticipated benefits of high-speed passenger rail.  Using data from an Internet-based survey of residents in three communities in Central Texas—Waco, Temple, and Hillsboro—this research project examined the potential impacts of new intercity passenger rail service on small- or medium-sized communities located in the intermediate area between two larger urban areas that form the endpoints of a federally designated intercity high-speed rail corridor.  Responses from more than 1,000 surveyed residents found that residents’ attitudes toward new intercity passenger rail service are generally favorable and that trains could be used instead of automobiles for some intercity trips.  The project’s findings provide a foundation for later investment-grade ridership studies in the corridor and have potential applications in planning for intercity passenger rail and transportation policy development.


Keywords: Intercity Passenger Rail, High-Speed Passenger Rail, Passenger Rail Planning

ENTIRE REPORT (Adobe Acrobat File – 1.5 MB)