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Reviewing passenger rail infrastructure for the California State Rail Plan

14 December 2015

Steer Davies Gleave recently led the first ever comprehensive review of passenger rail infrastructure in California. Our team compiled and analyzed diverse information from across the state into a coherent resource for the next stage of the state rail planning process.

The study concluded with four credible strategic development options to guide future thinking for investment in integrated passenger rail services throughout the state.

Our team applied international state of the art practices to the analysis to show how a co-ordinated whole-system approach could help to optimize connectivity and service levels. The work has served to create a vision for the rail network of California that has huge potential to shift the balance of modal share from auto in favor of rail.

The four options were based around the simple concepts of quality (journey time), frequency (interval between services) and coverage (geographical distribution and density of station locations). These three criteria represent the key trade-offs that decision makers are likely to have to consider when looking into the future of passenger rail, depending on the timing and quantum of funding. 

The team collaborated throughout the process with key rail stakeholders to understand the system and its constraints together with current and future plans for network improvements.

The state rail network, when viewed as a whole and overlaid with timetable and rolling stock performance data, is a very complex data set. To help stakeholders to develop options our team used bespoke mapping enhanced with visual rich information to help to understand the results of the comprehensive analysis.

SDG is now set to support the second and final phase of the 2018 State Rail Plan development process.

Written by Stefan Reul

Tags: Rail
Category: Press releases

About the author

Stefan Reul's picture
Stefan Reul
Stefan is a transportation planner with 19 years' experience in toll road, rail and transit planning and forecasting projects. Stefan specializes in traffic and revenue studies, road and rail micro-simulation and operations planning, travel demand forecasting and project management.

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