The National Academies

NCHRP 08-36/Task 109 [Final]

Non-Rail Infrastructure Upgrade and/or New Construction Due to Passenger Rail Implementation
[ NCHRP 08-36 (Research for the AASHTO Standing Committee on Planning) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $100,000
Research Agency: RAND Corporation
Principal Investigator: Bonnie Nelson
Effective Date: 10/4/2011
Completion Date: 9/11/2012
Comments: Completed. Final report sent to AASHTO.

Passenger rail already is, and will continue to be, a driving force behind transportation system improvements and congestion relief. With many states’ main transportation corridors at or reaching capacity, the pressure is on to find alternative modes of transportation to relieve demands on the roadway networks. Passenger rail is one of the answers; however, implementing, maintaining and operating a passenger rail system are extremely costly. One aspect not being highly factored into the cost is the needed upgrades or installation of infrastructure in areas surrounding and providing access to the rail lines & stations.
Due to the fact that local, state and federal funds are severely constrained and are anticipated to remain that way for the foreseeable future, states now, more than ever, need to be able to create realistic budgets of needed expenditures. With many states studying the possibility of passenger rail service in the future or currently in the process of attempting to implement some form of passenger rail service, it is vital that state and local transportation agencies have access to information that will guide them in identifying all costs associated with the implementation of a passenger rail system, which includes upgrades to or the construction of infrastructure off the tracks and outside the stations.

The research produced a guidebook to assist state and local transportation agencies in determining what the ‘true cost’ of implementing passenger rail service will be by looking ‘beyond the tracks’ and identifying upgrades to existing infrastructure &/or identifying new infrastructure that needs to be constructed in order to serve the movement of passengers to and from the rail stations.
The final guidebook is available HERE.

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