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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Harris Poll: Majority of Americans believe railroads should move more of the nation's freight and passengers


U.S. freight and passenger railroad proponents who for years have believed more cargo and people should travel via rail can point to a recent Harris Poll that supports their viewpoint. A vast majority of 1,961 U.S. adults polled online by Harris Interactive® believe railroads should obtain a bigger share of the nation’s freight and passenger traffic.

As part of the survey conducted between Dec. 8 and 14, 2005, 63 percent of the respondents said they would like to see freight railroads obtain an increasing share of cargo traffic. Thirty-five percent of the respondents selected air freight, 24 percent chose trucks and 17 percent said coastal shipping.

When asked which passenger transportation mode should increase its share of traffic, 44 percent of the respondents chose commuter rail and 35 percent selected long-distance trains. Twenty-three percent of the respondents chose local buses and another 23 percent selected airlines.

Harris also asked the randomly selected adults to chose passenger transportation’s highest priority among a list of six selections. The top five priorities were safety (47 percent), energy efficiency (44 percent), cost (29 percent), environmental impact (27 percent) and reliability (26 percent).

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