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Americans see railroads as the wave of the future
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   Author  Topic: Americans see railroads as the wave of the future  (Read 94 times)
Alco83

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Americans see railroads as the wave of the future
 
« on: Feb 8th, 2006, 5:50pm »
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I add this here since it is related to Amtrak.  In general, does anyone think that this poll is an encouraging sign for America's railroading future?  As it pertains to Amtrak, Bush and the rest of those that are opposed to proper passenger-rail funding might do well to take a look at the numbers provided by this Harris Poll.
 
Something else that stuck out in my mind with this poll. Obviously over the last 20 or 30 years railroads have really retrenched themselves away from the public's eye. Saying that the numbers provided are fairly accurate, do you think it would bode well for them (the railroads) to take a look at these numbers and perhaps try to be more open and welcoming to the public since it appears that that very public, which has seemed to come to despise them over that time (20-30 years), is now changing their attitude?
 
 
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TRAINS:  Results of a Harris Poll released today show that most Americans view railroads as the preferred future mode for moving passengers and freight.
 
“Freight railroads (63%) come far ahead of all other modes that adults would like to see have an increasing share of freight transportation,” said the polling organization. “They are followed by air freight (35%) and trucks (24%).”
 
Asked to name two preferred means of passenger transportation, the poll respondents listed commuter trains (44%), long-distance trains (35%), local bus service (23%), and airlines (23%). Harris said safety and energy efficiency were seen as top priorities for passenger transportation.
 
As for opinions on transportation financing, Harris reported these findings:
 
“State government (36%) and local government (27%) are seen by the largest numbers of adults as having the main responsibility for ‘maintaining and improving transportation in your community.’ Fewer think that the federal government (16%) or private companies (10%) should have this responsibility.
 
“When it comes to the transportation system ‘in the nation as a whole,’ two-thirds (68%) of adults believe this should be a responsibility of the federal government. Relatively few see this as the responsibility of state government (13%), local government (2%), or private companies (8%).”  
 
The nationwide poll of 1,961 adults conducted online by Harris Interactive® between Dec. 8 and Dec. 14, 2005.  


« Last Edit: Feb 8th, 2006, 5:59pm by Alco83 » Logged

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Re: Americans see railroads as the wave of the fut
 
« Reply #1 on: Feb 9th, 2006, 10:30am »
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Public perception probably not harmed any by teh recent cover article in Popular Science (or maybe Popualr Mechanics) on the new innovations in rail technology, including GPS-based dispatching.
 
HAd an interesting point - suggested the new GPS-based dispatching system with various computer assisted functions to avoid collisions and all sorts of other bad things would cost $2 to 10 billion to implement nationwide, and that it would increase average freight train operating speeds from 2 to 4 mph over any given run. It was stated taht on a large system, an increase in average speed for freight trains of one mph would equate to a $250 million saving in costs for the system (that is the single large railroad). If taht is correct and you say that there are four "large systems" (CSX, NS, BNSF, UP), then two mph average improvement nationwide  would be a $2 billion saving. Annually, just for those four systems. Four mph would be $4 billion saving. Annually, for those four systems. That looks to me as if you could recoup the costs of nation-wide implementation in 5 years, max, on teh assumption that it will cost $10 billion to implement and will only result in a  2 mph average increase in train speed. Interesting numbers. Wonder if it will happen?
 
Oh - the same article suggests taht alying an additional line of track (to double track present single track lines where traffic suggests taht would be a good idea) would, where space is available, cost around $1 million per mile.


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Walt_C
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Re: Americans see railroads as the wave of the fut
 
« Reply #2 on: Feb 9th, 2006, 10:56am »
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on Feb 8th, 2006, 5:50pm, Alco83 wrote:       (Click here for original message)
I add this here since it is related to Amtrak.  In general, does anyone think that this poll is an encouraging sign for America's railroading future?    

 
 
 Much as I hate to say it, I doubt it. Back in the 1950's, when the Congress revoked the franchise of DC's Capital Transit ( as a result of a 9 month carmans' strike) it put out bids to find an entity that would take over the provision of Mass Transit services in the Capital. One of the conditions for the awarding of the new franchise was the complete bustitution of the system. Polls were taken which showed that a significant majority of transit users preferred the streetcars, but this did not alter the Congressional view of things. Ultimately, O. Roy Chalk purchased the franchise, created DC Transit and managed to delay bustitution for a number of years, but the last streetcar ran in DC in January 1962.
 
    The same condition can be cited for the "temporary", now perminant bustitution by SEPTA of North Philadelphia's streetcar Routes 23 and 56. In this case, both the city and the general riding public favored the retention ( and upgrading) of rail service on those two lines, but SEPTA has bustituted them anyway.
 
   In Amtrak's case, I suspect that polls, no matter how accurate and instructive, will not affect the opinions of those who would "de-fund" Amtrak. The more effective poll will be whether Amtrak's actual ridership can be increased enough to, in essence, prove out the numbers reflected in this poll.


« Last Edit: Feb 9th, 2006, 10:58am by Walt_C » Logged

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Re: Americans see railroads as the wave of the fut
 
« Reply #3 on: Feb 9th, 2006, 1:19pm »
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Just proves that DC isn't serious about breaking that "addiction to oil".  Also that the voices of lobbies are louder than the voice of the people...

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