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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Railroads can help reduce major U.S. cities' highway congestion, study says


Freight railroads can help reduce highway gridlock, according to a recent study of 47 major U.S. urban areas sponsored by the Association of American Railroads (AAR). If 25 percent of the nation’s freight is shifted from truck to rail by 2025, highway commuters could save an average of 41.9 hours in travel time annually, the study estimates.

The freight shift would reduce average congestion costs by $657 per commuter and cut gasoline consumption by 15.6 million gallons each year. The shift also would lower the nation’s air pollution an average of 792,100 tons annually.

“With gas prices soaring and freight volume expected to grow two-thirds by 2020, freight railroads are critical to reducing fuel consumption and easing congestion,” said Wendell Cox, a transportation expert and the study’s author, in a prepared statement. “However, to carry increasing freight volumes, railroads need more capacity.”

One freight train can move as much cargo as 500 trucks, and one intermodal train can carry the equivalent of 300 trucks, according to AAR estimates.

“The intermodal partnership between the rail and trucking industries combines the best abilities of the transportation modes and is an important solution in the battle against traffic congestion,” said AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Edward Hamberger.