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Chicago – St. Louis passenger rail ridership and revenue forecasts

Illinois Department of Transportation

keywords: 
ridership and revenue, forecasting, Chicago passenger rail, St. Louis passenger rail, rail corridor

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is considering several infrastructure and systems improvements to the Chicago – St. Louis Amtrak rail alignment that would improve the speed and capacity of travel on the corridor.

Improvements under consideration include construction of a second main track; rehabilitation of the existing mainline; and installation or upgrading of train signaling systems.

Our role

Steer Davies Gleave will be developing ridership forecasts for the Tier 1 NEPA document that IDOT is currently preparing for passenger rail service improvements on this corridor.

How we did it

This study will use our existing well-tested rail/HSR forecasting methodology to predict the probability that travelers will divert to improved rail/HSR from conventional modes such as auto and air, as a function of the modes’ service attributes and traveler characteristics. The model has proven its robustness and reasonableness across applications to many rail/HSR corridors in the US.

Components of the study include:

  • Establishing the current pattern of inter-urban tripmaking in the corridor, with data collection including analysis of anonymized traveler movements obtained from cell phone use within the corridor.
  • Predicting the effects on inter-urban mode splits of improving Amtrak service in the corridor.
  • Ridership forecasts for the improved rail system, which will consist of both diverted trips and induced trips, which formerly were not made, but which are caused to be made as a result of the improved passenger rail service.
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