Freight-Oriented Development To Be Implemented Along the Red Line

In Charlotte, N.C, planners are looking at ways to appeal to freight users. In addition to transit-oriented development, their plan is to allow freight trains to run on the same tracks as passenger trains promoting the use of the Red Line.

According to Yonah Freemark, "Freight rail transport is more ecologically friendly than its truck-based competitor, but there is not enough capital in industrial activities in the Charlotte area alone to invest hundreds of millions in new tracks." This is why the existing Norfolk Southern O Line is receiving a $452 million upgrade that would allow expansion on the tracks.

Charlotte's planners suggest that "the sometimes rivalry between the two types of transportation should really be approached hand-in-hand, especially for a project whose primary right-of-way extends far beyond dense urban neighborhoods that characterize the zones around most successful transit links. Perhaps for the first time so directly, transit-oriented development is proposed to be joined by 'freight-oriented development.'"

Freemark explains that "the improvements planned for the corridor would make it possible to run more freight trains at off-peak hours without disrupting the primary travel needs of riders. Operations will have to be coordinated, but with positive train control and other safety measures in place, it is hard to see what would prevent this project from adapting to the needs of both passengers and freight."

Full Story: Innovative Financing Points the Way Ahead for a Rail Project in Charlotte

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