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4 Corridor Geography and Interregional Transportation
Pages 80-103

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From page 80...
... One that is emphasized in this chapter is corridor geography, because it can be especially germane to the ability of a railroad to supply competitive passenger train service. A generally favorable condition for both intercity rail and bus service is the existence of commercially vibrant, densely populated downtowns where train and bus terminals are connected to extensive public transit systems that make service access convenient.
From page 81...
... This chapter profiles the major corridors connecting cities in five large geographic regions -- the Northeast, Midwest, South Central, Southeast, and West. The review does not account for all relevant factors, but it offers insight into why some interregional markets, especially those in the Northeast, have sustained significant intercity train service while others have not.
From page 82...
... The importance of rivers and ports for the country's early industry and transportation is evident in the urban geography of the region, which has many closely spaced cities along the Atlantic seaboard. Nearly all of the cities in this region matured during the 19th century, when railroads dominated interregional travel.
From page 83...
... FIGURE 4-1 Location of 200 of the most heavily traveled interregional city-pair markets.
From page 84...
... The many overlapping Northeastern markets create traffic densities on the NEC that allow the frequent scheduling of train service. The Northeast has the highest use of passenger trains in the country, with 11 of the country's top 15 rail markets being in the region.
From page 85...
... They include good public transit systems, relatively low car ownership among center-city residents, and downtowns that have remained densely populated and a locus of commercial activity. Nevertheless, even with these favorable local conditions and a dense travel corridor, the automobile is dominant in the NEC.
From page 86...
... Chicago was a junction for more than a half dozen railroads during the late 19th century and prospered as a hub for rail movements of passengers and freight. Many of the largest cities in the Midwest, such as Indianapolis, Kansas City, and Saint Paul, benefited from being junctions on major rail lines linked to Chicago.
From page 87...
... The two Chicago markets with significant rail mode shares are Saint Louis and Detroit, at 8 and 10 percent, respectively. Mainly because of these two markets, passenger rail accounts for nearly 3 percent of all trips in the 28 Midwest markets.
From page 88...
... 88 Interregional Travel FIGURE 4-5 Top 26 interregional markets in the Southeast (radius of circle = 200 miles)
From page 89...
... Today, several major Interstate highways converge in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City. The 34 South Central markets generate the highest automobile mode shares among the 200 markets examined, with a median automobile mode share exceeding 97 percent.
From page 90...
... It consists of three major subregions: the desert Southwest, the
From page 91...
... COMPARISON OF CORRIDOR GEOGRAPHIES The length, shape, and traffic densities of the corridors formed by the relative position of cities in a region can affect the viability and service levels of the interregional transportation modes. The effects are evident
From page 92...
... . (Two markets farther to the east, Denver–Cheyenne and El Paso–Albuquerque, are not shown.)
From page 93...
... Because of high traffic densities, the original Tokaido line and its southern extensions are believed to earn revenue suf ¯ ¯ ficient to cover their operating expenses and to pay for asset maintenance and renewal.4 The term "string of pearls" has been used to describe linear, multimarket travel corridors in the United States, including the NEC and California's north–south intrastate corridor. However, the demographic and geographic conditions of Japan's To ¯kaido corridor have no strong ¯ parallels in the United States.
From page 94...
... FIGURE 4-8 Tokaido high-speed rail corridor serving central Japan's string-of-pearls alignment of metropolitan areas ¯ ¯ (radius of arc = 200 miles)
From page 95...
... This conurbation creates corridor traffic densities unmatched by any other region of the country. As shown in Figure 4-10, the region has many city pairs with rail mode shares of 5 percent or more.
From page 96...
... The central position of the heavily populated New York metropolitan area differentiates the NEC and California corridors. New York's position creates many 100- to 200-mile markets, which are well suited to conventional rail service.
From page 97...
... . The potential for generating the many shorter-haul trips conducive to conventional rail is therefore smaller in the California corridor, where the longer interregional trip distances have stimulated interest in higherspeed rail.
From page 98...
... The Pacific Northwest corridor is 325 miles long, but the average interregional trip is only 133 miles because most trips are between Portland and Seattle. The short distance between these two large cities, as well as the presence of a few other cities in between, helps explain the relatively high rail mode shares in the region.
From page 99...
... Furthermore, their connecting routes to Chicago have few intermediate cities that can add substantial rail traffic volumes.
From page 100...
... SUMMARY Comparisons of the most heavily traveled interregional markets in the United States indicate that their size and relative position within interregional corridors can affect the modes of transportation available. The region with the most modal diversity is the Northeast.
From page 101...
... Fresno Las Vegas Bakersfield Tulsa Oklahoma City Albuquerque Los Angeles Wichita Falls San Diego Phoenix Fort Worth Dallas Tucson Nogales AusƟn Houston San Antonio M E X I C O Corpus Laredo ChrisƟ Brownsville FIGURE 4-14 Triangular shape of Texas and Southwest interregional corridors.
From page 102...
... The closely spaced and linearly aligned large cities along the east coast of Japan, sometimes referred to as a string of pearls, is the classic configuration for efficient passenger train service and the site of the world's most heavily used passenger railway. The To ¯kaido high-speed line was built ¯ more than 50 years ago to serve travelers in this corridor after the existing poor-quality line became overcrowded with passenger and freight traffic.
From page 103...
... In The Economics of Investment in High-Speed Rail, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, pp.


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