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SWUTC Research Project Description

Intercity and High Speed Rail Passenger Distribution

University: Texas Southern University

Principal Investigator:
Carol Lewis
Center for Transportation Training and Research
(713) 313-7924

Project Monitor:
Alan Clark
Houston Galveston Area Council

Funding Source: USDOT

Total Project Cost: $60,000

Project Number: 600451-00050

Date Started: 2/1/15

Estimated Completion Date: 12/31/15

Project Summary

Project Abstract:
The Texas Central Railway company is in the process of developing a high speed rail line from Dallas to Houston, Texas. Plans are for 8 car trains that accommodate 200 people per vehicle scheduled every 30 minutes. In addition, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and officials in Austin, Houston and San Antonio are investigating intercity rail to provide frequent rail service linking those cities. After arriving, passengers will need disbursement throughout the cities from the rail terminal station. The menu of options includes passenger pick-up, taxi/limousine, rental car or public transportation. This research will investigate the distribution patterns of northeastern cities with a history of intercity ground transportation as well as distribution patterns from a Houston area airport to estimate anticipated mode split of passengers disembarking from intercity rail systems in Texas.

Research Objectives:
The objective of this research is to gain information that will enable estimation of a mode split range for distribution from intercity or high speed rail in Texas.

Task Descriptions:

Task 1: Establish Advisory Board
An advisory board consisting of area transportation professionals, who can add insight that guides the direction of the research and help identify data sources. Advisory Board members will include a representative from HGAC, Central Houston, METRO, the WAVE and Houston Airport System to guide the direction of the study.

Task 2: Conduct Literature Review
Literature will be examined extensively to ensure the state-of-industry knowledge about this subject.

Task 3: Identify and Collect Existing Data and Information
Solicit information about distribution from existing intercity rail service and distribution from Hobby Airport to gain an understanding of current mode split for disembarking passengers. This task will supplement knowledge gained in Task 2.

Task 4: Develop Estimation Approach
Synthesis of the information learned in Tasks 1 through 3 will lead to development of an approach to estimate the range of distribution by mode for Texas cities. Anticipated categories are passenger pick-up, public transportation, taxi, rental car, and other.

Task 5: Synthesize and Prepare Final Report
A report will be prepared that includes findings from the literature, data assessment and the estimation approach.

Implementation of Research Outcomes:
Governmental and quasi-governmental agencies served on the advisory committee and jointly financed later portions of the research.  Specifically those agencies are the Houston Galveston Area Council, Uptown Houston Association and Central Houston Improvement District.  A meeting is scheduled for September 2016 to discuss project findings with officials from these agencies, plus members of the Texas Central Partners (high speed rail).

Impacts/Benefits of Implementation:
Findings from this research are designed to assist area officials as they assess the physical facility needs to disburse transit connected passengers from high speed rail.  Agencies and transport providers will be better able to plan for interregional rail connectivity with their operation.  This work lays a foundation for distribution to the activity/employment centers and provides greater insight into sizing and locating bays for bus and private vehicles.

Web Links:
Final Technical Report