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Understanding Passenger Rail Demand Post-COVID


COVID-19 is causing changes in travel behavior and residential location decisions, driven in large part by the new flexibility offered by telework. Understanding these changes are key because this could impact mode shift, traveler behavior, and location decisions as Americans commute less and possibly work farther from urban job centers.


The goal of this research topic is to:

  • Identify methods, models, and/or forecasts for estimating passenger rail demand post-COVID;
  • Develop new methods and/or practices for identifying intercity passenger rail routes and services;
  • Research and discuss how transformative technologies, such as vehicle electrification and low-emission aircraft may impact the cost and attractiveness of substitutes for intercity passenger rail that could impact rail demand;
  • Understand price and mode choice decision-making between rail, driving, and flying; and

  • Identify policies, risks, and externalities that could impact the supply and demand sides of intercity passenger rail, such as road use charge, cap-and-trade, low-carbon fuel standards, zero-emission mandates, and others that could influence intercity mode choice.

Sponsoring Committee:AR010, Passenger Rail Transportation
Research Period:6 - 12 months
Research Priority:High
RNS Developer:Karen Philbrick
Date Posted:05/20/2021
Date Modified:05/28/2021
Index Terms:Travel behavior, Travel demand, COVID-19, Modal shift, Residential location,
Cosponsoring Committees: 
Public Transportation
Planning and Forecasting
Passenger Transportation

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