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Rail News Home Rail Industry Trends

October 2012

Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Americans want more transportation options; plus, freight rail traffic data


A majority of Americans would prefer new transportation options — including rail — instead of additional highways as a solution to the country's traffic congestion problems, according to poll results issued last month by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Conducted this summer by a bipartisan team of pollsters, the telephone survey of 800 Americans found that most wanted more transportation options and believed the nation's current transportation system is in need of major change.

Among the results, 59 percent of respondents believed the transportation system is "outdated, unreliable and inefficient;" 58 percent said they would use transit more often, but it's not conveniently available; 59 percent want more transportation options; and 64 percent believe their community would benefit from an expanded and improved rail and/or bus system, NRDC officials said in a prepared statement.

The poll was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, and Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates.

If they could spend less time driving, how would commuters spend their extra minutes? Twenty-one percent said they would spend more time with their family; 20 percent would cook, garden or work around the house; 13 percent would take up a hobby; 11 percent would exercise; 9 percent would get more sleep; 4 percent would volunteer; and 3 percent would work more.

Asked how they would reduce traffic congestion, 42 percent favored improving public transportation, 21 percent favored development of communities where people wouldn't have to drive as much, and 20 percent preferred construction of more roads. The remaining 17 percent preferred all or none of those options, or didn't know.

Sixty-eight percent said they would support more local investment to improve public transportation.

The survey showed that Americans want to drive less, and "want to shake up the status-quo mindset when it comes to relieving the traffic congestion they say they deal with all too frequently," stated the pollsters' report that summarized the survey findings.

Poll-Results Chart


Intermodal Traffic Table


North American Carloads chart

Download larger PDF


Browse articles on transportation options rail traffic data highway congestion Natural Resources Defense Council intermodal AAR traffic data short line traffic RailConnect

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