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3 Supply of Interregional Transportation
Pages 38-79

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From page 38...
... The availability of the interregional transportation modes and their service offerings can vary considerably among regions of the country. Regional comparisons 1 For examples of service attributes of interest to travelers, see the survey results from the Northeast Corridor Intercity Travel Summary Report (Northeast Corridor Commission 2015, 12)
From page 39...
... When the ATS was conducted 20 years ago, few could have predicted the ways in which the supply of interregional transportation would be affected by technological advances outside the transportation domain. The Internet, for example, has become commercialized, and smartphones and other portable electronic devices have been introduced on a mass scale.
From page 40...
... It can deter business travelers who want to conduct work en route from using the automobile. Highway traffic congestion can reduce the utility of driving by requiring the inconvenient scheduling of trips at off-peak times.
From page 41...
... . The 47,000-mile Interstate highway system alone accommodates nearly 25 percent of all miles traveled by cars and light trucks,4 and presumably it accounts for an even higher share of miles traveled interregionally.
From page 42...
... These programs select the most direct freeway route to calculate travel times mainly on the basis of posted speed limits and the assumption of no rest breaks or variability in travel speed due to weather or traffic conditions. In Figure 3-2, driving times from these calculators are plotted by market distance for 200 of the country's most heavily traveled interregional city-pair markets.5 For markets of comparable distance, driving times tend be slightly higher in the Northeast, probably because of lower speed limits through high-traffic, urbanized areas.
From page 43...
... Longer-distance travelers may be able to adjust their travel times to avoid the commuting peaks. The prospect of en route delays increases for trips in corridors that contain multiple urban areas, such as the corridor between Washington, D.C., and New York City.
From page 44...
... 275,000 250,000 225,000 200,000 175,000 150,000 AADT 125,000 100,000 75,000 50,000 25,000 0 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 Highway Mile Marker (c) FIGURE 3-3 AADT on selected Interstate highways connecting large interregional markets, 2011: (a)
From page 45...
... Today, the ability to drive hundreds of miles without encountering a single traffic light is taken for granted. Whereas driving on the Interstate system was once viewed as fast and dependable, growing traffic volumes may have eroded these benefits in some urbanized areas.
From page 46...
... 46 Interregional Travel has been the installation of regional electronic toll collection systems and the availability of real-time information on traffic conditions and routing alternatives. By reducing backups at toll booths and providing travelers with detour options, these innovations may have countered some of the congestion impacts and even added to the freeway system's time-saving advantages on some routes.
From page 47...
... They provide examples of the difficulty of predicting the supply of interregional transportation.11 AIRPLANES AND INTERREGIONAL TRAVEL Most air travel is on scheduled airlines that operate in networks connecting hundreds of cities in the United States and abroad. Nearly all flights are routed through an airline's hub airports, where passengers from multiple spoke airports are consolidated for connecting service to their destination cities.12 From the perspective of airlines, a hub-and-spoke network is advantageous because it creates density economies by allowing travelers from numerous markets to share flights, thereby increasing aircraft occupancy.
From page 48...
... While Los Angeles International Airport is the main airport in Los Angeles, the metropolitan region contains many smaller airports with significant scheduled service, including airports in Burbank, Ontario, and Orange County. During the past 20 years, airlines have added service at secondary airports such as in Providence and Manchester outside Boston, Islip outside New York, and Long Beach outside Los Angeles.
From page 49...
... Boston–New York and Washington–New York are among the most densely scheduled airline markets in the country, despite abundant intercity train and bus service. Short-haul flights may incur disproportionate schedule delays because weather and traffic conditions can make them the primary candidates for air traffic control holds.17 However, the potential for such 15 http://apps.bts.gov/xml/ontimesummarystatistics/src/ddisp/OntimeSummarySelect.xml?
From page 50...
... (a) 40 Midwest 30 Northeast Chicago–Madison Houston–AusƟn West Phoenix–Tucson Atlanta–Birmingham 20 Southeast Atlanta–Augusta Atlanta–Asheville Atlanta–ChaƩanooga South Central Chicago–Champaign 10 Chicago–Grand Rapids San Antonio–McAllen 0 75 95 115 135 155 175 195 215 235 Market Distance (miles)
From page 51...
... Figure 3-6 shows average sched uled flight times for 112 interregional markets that have airline service.18 Markets in the Northeast and Southeast tend to have longer scheduled flight times than markets of comparable distance in the South Central and West regions. A longer scheduled flight time in one market than in another having comparable distance is usually due to the addition of buffer time by the airline in anticipation of recurrent delays.
From page 52...
... and weakened business travel demand during the economic recession that followed.23 Before these developments, short-haul airline service already had several competitive disadvantages with respect to the surface interregional modes. For example, the time consumed by ground access to the airport, security screening, transiting the airport to reach gates and baggage carousels, 21 http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/publications/national_transportation _statistics/html/table_01_42.html.
From page 53...
... Whether air travel is as accommodating to the use of these portable devices as are the other interregional modes is not clear, however.24 A 2011 study of the share of passengers using portable devices found that airline passengers lagged passengers in other modes.25 For example, about 35 percent of airline passengers were observed to use portable devices, compared with more than half of the passengers on intercity trains. This percentage may have risen in response to the recent relaxation of federal policy on the use of electronic devices in aircraft, despite the limits that remain on telephone calls.
From page 54...
... Furthermore, the airline industry continually adapts to changes in the economic and demographic environment. In recent years, for example, some low-fare airlines that had operated from secondary airports have entered and added capacity to hub airports to attract more business travelers.
From page 55...
... Business jet fractional ownership programs charge members a onetime signup fee, a monthly management fee, and an hourly fee to use an airplane. Some of the programs sell debit-like cards that entitle holders to a certain number of flight seat hours.27 The cost for a 20-hour card can be on the order $10,000, which is equivalent to more than $500 per seat hour.28 Such rates are high relative to most airline fares but are not out of line with the highest-priced tickets paid by business travelers.29 In the belief that general aviation aircraft could have an even larger role in interregional travel over the next several decades, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
From page 56...
... The carrier's national network extends to more than 2,400 stations, but a significant amount of scheduled bus service is provided by smaller carriers whose regional networks connect to Greyhound's trunk lines.35 During the past decade, however, the interlining and network-based model for providing scheduled bus service has been challenged by a new business model emphasizing express service between the downtowns of large cities with few or no intermediate stops or connections to regional bus networks. These express operators have further exploited the economic advantages of low capital requirements and assets that are highly mobile by eliminating the fixed costs of stations, baggage handlers, and ticketing kiosks.
From page 57...
... estimated that more than 250 intercity buses were departing and arriving each day in Manhattan's Chinatown district. By the mid-2000s, the new curbside bus companies were providing service to locations outside immigrant communities (e.g., near universities and adjacent to major transit stations)
From page 58...
... Although the rate of growth has slowed in recent years, the upward trend has remained, as bus companies have expanded into more interregional markets and as consumers have gained more awareness of the new service options. Geographic Variability in Bus Service According to ABA, more than 2,700 counties and cities across the country have at least some scheduled intercity bus service; only about 150 communities with populations of more than 25,000 lack any service.37 Types and 37 http://www.buses.org/files/Foundation/Motorcoach-Amtrak-Comparison.pdf.
From page 59...
... levels of bus service across markets and parts of the country are difficult to compare because of qualitative differences in service offerings, such as the number of connections and stops en route. For example, a trip by bus that involves multiple stops or that requires transfers is not necessarily comparable with a trip that can be made by a direct or express bus.
From page 60...
... New York's ability to fill buses is a function of its large population and its proximity to several other large Northeastern cities. In other regions, lower traffic volumes compel bus operators to structure their service offerings in network routings that require one or more transfers, which were not counted in the direct service data in Figure 3-9.
From page 61...
... (b) FIGURE 3-9 Frequency of scheduled weekend bus service in top 200 interregional markets by distance and region: (a)
From page 62...
... The Changing Bus Industry The intercity bus industry has reestablished itself as an important mode of interregional transportation largely because of new service features, many of them originally introduced by carriers competing in the express bus market. A survey conducted in 2010 and 2011 yielded the following findings concerning express bus riders (Schwieterman et al.
From page 63...
... In view of the need for high traffic volumes, such point-to-point service is unlikely to become a standard offering in all interregional markets. Nevertheless, there is growing evidence that traditional network-based bus lines have benefited from the improving reputation of intercity buses and the service delivery innovations that express bus operators have introduced.
From page 64...
... Such developments make predictions of how intercity bus services will evolve over the next few years difficult, and even more so over the next few decades. However, the bus has definitely reemerged as a mode of interregional transportation and merits consideration in the planning of the transportation systems intended to serve the country's interregional markets.
From page 65...
... Louis Carbondale Bakersfield San Luis Obispo Santa Barbara San Bernardino Raleigh Oklahoma City Charlotte Los Angeles Flagstaff Albuquerque Little Rock Memphis San Diego Atlanta Columbia Tucson Fort Worth Dallas Birmingham Savannah El Paso Jacksonville Austin Houston Sanford San Antonio New Orleans Orlando Tampa Regular service Frequency, both ways Acela service >5 trains per day Miami 2-5 trains per day Auto train 1 or fewer trains per day FIGURE 3-11 Amtrak passenger rail network.
From page 66...
... As late as the 1960s, intercity passenger train service was still provided by dozens of private railroads, nearly all of which were also transporting freight.42 By the late 1960s, passenger trains were succumbing to traffic losses to automobiles and airplanes. Ridership had fallen by more than 75 percent since 1950 alone (AAR 1980; CBO 2003, xi)
From page 67...
... However, Amtrak's ownership of most of the track in the NEC prevented passenger service from receding to the skeletal levels that characterized most other rail corridors, which were increasingly dedicated to the movement of freight. Amtrak's Route Structure Because the private freight railroads are obligated to provide Amtrak with track access only on routes that previously had passenger service, all other service additions must be negotiated by Amtrak.
From page 68...
... : 37 trains per weekday in each direction at average travel times of 2 hours 45 minutes for Acela service (16 trips per day each direction) and 3 hours 30 minutes for conventional service (21 trips per day each direction)
From page 69...
... State-Supported Trains Amtrak's legal right to access freight railroad tracks has prompted a number of states to provide financial support for Amtrak to increase passenger train frequencies and reduce travel times in corridors where Amtrak has access rights. State-supported service exists in California, Virginia,
From page 70...
... Geographic Variability in Rail Service Amtrak's route structure leads to considerable geographic variability in interregional train service. In particular, the "regional" routes designed to serve 100- to 500-mile markets are concentrated in the Northeast, Midwest, and West.
From page 71...
... Among the 200 most heavily traveled interregional city-pair markets,55 118 do not have any passenger train service, and 33 others are served by only one long-distance train per day in each direction. Figure 3-12 plots daily train service in the 200 markets.
From page 72...
... (b) FIGURE 3-12 Number of daily Amtrak trains, both directions, in the interregional markets examined: (a)
From page 73...
... Whether intercity rail service itself can be a significant factor along with intercity buses in stimulat ing the revitalization of more downtowns is likely to depend on many factors, including changing patterns of urbanization; demographic and economic trends; transportation policy and funding; and the proximity of service to other cities in the region that have similarly situated train stations, comparable urban densities, and high-quality public transit.
From page 74...
... Amtrak has partnered with states to make these amenities available on all regional trains.56 Outside the NEC, the prospect of significantly expanding passenger rail service -- such as by scheduling more frequent and faster trains on existing routes or adding new routes -- is complicated by Amtrak's need to use the freight rail network. Negotiated service expansions must often include infrastructure improvements such as new sidings, curve straightening, and new signal systems, as well as contributions to their maintenance.
From page 75...
... Traditional regional bus networks rely on traffic flows from connecting and multistop service to fill buses and offer service frequency. In the nation's most densely traveled interregional corridors, bus operators are offering frequent, nonstop express service between high-demand downtown locations.
From page 76...
... Some closely spaced populous cities, such as those in the NEC separated by about 200 miles, have frequent airline service because of large volumes of time-sensitive business travelers. In this corridor, however, airline service is constrained by airway congestion, and it competes with frequent intercity rail and bus service.
From page 77...
... 1992. Availability of Intercity Bus Service Continues to Decline.
From page 78...
... 2010. The Intercity Bus: America's Fastest Growing Transportation Mode: 2010 Update on Scheduled Bus Service.
From page 79...
... Transportation Research Board, Washington, D.C. Windle, R., and M


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