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Shared-Use: Background and Rationale for the Research 13 The objective of this research is to develop a guide for practitioners that (1) provides a business case for the shared use of non-FRA-compliant public transit rail vehicles (e.g., light rail) with freight operations; (2) suggests business models for such shared-use operations; and (3) identifies and evaluates available and emerging technology, operating procedures, and techniques that could be used to minimize the risks asso- ciated with sharing of track between non-FRA-compliant public transit rail vehicles and freight railroad operations. The research program was not conducted in isolation, and was complicated by the need to be coordinated with a parallel program sponsored by the FRA. This was titled, "Intelligent Trans- portation Systems Technologies for Integrated Rail Corridors" (No document reference num- ber because it is not published at this time) and was under the auspices of the USDOT Joint Pro- gram Office. Representatives of the FRA, FHWA, and FTA made up the panel for that project. Their objective, while similar, was not entirely the same in approach, scope, and deadlines; nor was the audience they wished to reach. Additionally this report had to incorporate information generated by previous research including TCRP Report 52: Joint Operations of Light Rail Transit or Diesel Multiple Unit Vehicles with Railroads, TCRP Research Results Digest Number 43 and TCRP Research Results Digest Number 47, and build on those efforts to advance the breadth of knowledge and adapt it for prac- tical application. The unwritten element guiding the research was its audience. The immediate audience con- sists of the review Project A-27 Panel, assisted by the TCRP Program Manager. The second and ultimately larger audience comprises the transportation professionals, consultants, regulators, vendors, advocacy groups, public or government agency officials, private sector representatives and academic specialists who are professionally interested or simply curious about this novel approach to transit services. The A-27 Panel's makeup was intended to represent a cross-section of the larger audience to assure that a broad perspective and differing views were considered in pursuit of the objectives. Research Approach The team's first effort was to identify the most important issues to define and focus the research. They also examined prior work and documentation and selected the most valuable out- puts for use in the project. Once this was accomplished members went on to establish and pri- oritize the primary obstacles to true shared operations. Information acquired for each task involved conventional research methods. Literature survey and review of available research and internet search; Surveys of supplier/vendor representative and Operating Agencies; Interviews with supplier/vendor representatives and Operating Agencies; and Site visits, inspections, and discussions with Operating Agencies. Although primary interest lies in true shared-use operation of track and infrastructure, the team had to review parallel operations on adjacent tracks and operations on same track with tem- poral separation to establish characteristic operating categories and parameters. These categories were confined chiefly to shortlines and low-speed and low-density routes rather than to high- volume and high-speed freight corridors where risk assessment and mitigation would be extremely difficult. Finally, the products of the research were used and then integrated into a risk assessment process along with a business case and a business model. This could then be packaged and rolled out to the transit industry as a practical guide on planning and implementing a shared-track operation.