Rail Competitive With Air Between Many U.S. Cities

Data from the Federal Railroad Administration shows that rail is competing well (and mostly winning) against air to claim market share in eight major city-pairs, many outside of the traditionally strong Northeast Corridor.

1 minute read

March 23, 2013, 1:00 PM PDT

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj


Plane and Train

neighborhoods.org / Flickr

"Longer-distance intercity rail gets short shrift as a transportation mode in a lot of circles, often treated as more novelty than honest-to-god mobility solution," says Shane Phillips. "Air travel, on the other hand, is generally considered completely legitimate. In reality, even with relatively poor facilities by international standards--and massive federal investments in airport infrastructure--rail is competitive with air travel in much of the United States, and in some cases vastly more popular as this chart [from Amtrak] illustrates."

Phillips goes on to explain why this state of affairs is actually good for both Amtrak and airlines, and helps make the case for investment in High-Speed Rail.

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