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SUMMARY Shared Use of Railroad Infrastructure with Noncompliant Public Transit Rail Vehicles: A Practitioner's Guide Research Objective A. Over the past decade, highway and urban congestion have garnered the attention of com- muters as well as government entities. Facility joint-use, by expanding public transit using existing rail corridors, is one approach to solving the constellation of problems occurring as offshoots of congestion. Such routes are especially attractive because they appear to have available capacity and utilize an existing connection between high trip generating origins and destinations. The potential and feasibility of shared use of rail corridors, between light rail vehicles (associated with public transit) and freight railroads, to function compatibly are still being investigated, even as current "near shared-track" operations are evolving. B. A number of operating issues need to be addressed, including the relative safety of shared- track, and practicality of the operational concept. Other questions that remain to be answered include: · How to mitigate joint use risks? What accommodations are necessary to make com- mingled shared-track workable in a variety of situations? · What are the viable business models? · How would shared use affect a current freight carrier and the rail corridor operations? Can track sharing be made attractive to the freight operator? · What are its advantages to the public? · How do public agencies develop policies and strategies to enable the use of an existing freight track for public transit? · What are the capital, maintenance, and insurance costs elements? · Finally, the most significant unknown is determining what is necessary to satisfy the FRA to obtain approval for this mode of operation. C. The intent of the research project is to initiate a pragmatic investigation whose end product is a guidebook for transportation and other practitioners, and to assist them in finding answers to the questions raised above. Part of the goal is pedagogic: to pro- vide a means to expand knowledge and understanding of strategies to ensure safety in rail transportation. The information and analysis should form a basis for informed dis- cussion, analysis, and decisions in the environment of shared-track of infrastructure, including approaches to an assessment of benefits and costs; and demonstrate current practical processes and applications of different scopes. D. Valuable and cost-effective projects of opportunity are available in some of the larger urban and suburban areas in the United States. Consequently, a secondary goal is to for- malize and standardize an American approach to concurrent shared-track operations. 1