Impact of High-Speed Passenger Trains on Freight Train Efficiency in Shared Railway Corridors
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Impact of High-Speed Passenger Trains on Freight Train Efficiency in Shared Railway Corridors

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  • English

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    • NTL Classification:
      NTL-RAIL TRANSPORTATION-High Speed Ground Transportation
    • Abstract:
      In the United States, freight rail demand had doubled from 0.9 trillion ton-miles in 1980 to 1.8 trillion tonmiles in 2007, and railroad carriers reached a 39.5% market penetration in 20071 . As intercity passenger rail is widely recognized as an energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly, and safe mode, the development of high-speed passenger rail holds the promise to mitigate highway congestion, achieve sustainable development, and reduce foreign oil dependency. To achieve a cost-effective investment to the HSR systems, a mixed traffic system (i.e., heterogeneous passenger and freight trains sharing the same railroad tracks that are privately owned) is highly likely to be implemented in the U.S. However, the introduction of a high priority passenger train (typically with higher speed) will induce both primary delays (due to operational uncertainties) and secondary or “knock-on” delays (due to meet, pass, and overtake for train conflicts, and delay propagations) to the existing freight trains (typically with lower speed). Resolution of the conflicts between passenger and freight trains is extremely essential for the future deployment of an HSR system. This highlights the need for an integrated, systems-level framework that incorporates cutting edge train control technologies and advanced analytical and simulation based modeling techniques for decision making and policy analysis. In particular, it is a pressing need to understand the complex interactions between high-speed passenger trains and freight trains in shared railway corridors. This project has developed a series of decision support tools that can help evaluate the impact of high-speed passenger trains on freight corridor capacity, e.g., by answering the following fundamental questions: • How does the introduction of high-speed passenger trains affect the railroad freight carrying capacity? • How is this impact dependent of various design factors (e.g., speeds, headways, and infrastructure design)? • What policies will be suitable for public agencies and private sectors to support the development and deployment of the proposed high-speed passenger trains?
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