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National Rail Planning Study, US
Federal Railroad Administration
Steer Davies Gleave is helping the federal government develop and provide tools to support rail planning in the US through the development of a nationwide sketch planning rail demand forecasting tool for the Federal Railroad Administration.
Steer Davies Gleave is part of team that is working for the Federal Railroad Administration to perform a National and Regional Rail Planning Study, which is intended to impact national policy involving High-speed and Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) services.
One of the primary outputs of this work was the development and application of the CONceptual NEtwork Connections Tool (CONNECT) - a spreadsheet-based screening tool that allows a user to define a network of rail corridors and quickly analyze the ridership and revenue, operating and maintenance cost, and capital cost implications of various scenarios. Our primary responsibility was to develop the ridership module of the CONNECT’s ridership module.
How we did it
The CONNECT tool’s ridership module takes Steer Davies Gleave's proven approach to rail demand forecasting, simplifies it, and packages it into a standalone tool intended to produce sketch-level ridership forecasts quickly and easily. CONNECT is flexible enough to analyze any user-defined network of up to ten individual rail corridors at the MSA level, and versatile enough to serve both novice and advanced users - default values based on existing data are provided for all parameters, while the ability of advanced users to modify any or all of these inputs is preserved. CONNECT also provides the user with the ability to easily run extensive custom sensitivity analysis.
Development of the CONNECT ridership module involved implementing the ridership and revenue model in VBA, conducting extensive research to inform default parameter values, estimating a direct-demand model of auto travel between MSAs, and preparing an underlying national database of multimodal long-distance travel information.
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