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CHAPTER 5 Shared Use: Progress and Evolution Given the preceding information, what means are available to advance this concept to true shared use of track? A few operations are on the verge of crossing the threshold, but that first step has yet to be taken. What actions are most likely to impel the process? Will a demonstration project help? Will the advantages outweigh the disadvantages? What are the barriers to progress? Up until now, this concept has been equated with a "leap into the unknown" for all stakehold- ers, especially policy makers, planners, and regulators. Yet achievements to date are indicative of the benefits and future opportunities. Demonstration Project A viable business case for shared-track can be made and results from the risk analysis model indicate that equivalent safety criteria can be met. Widespread consensus exists in the transit professional community on the next steps for the shared use of track by conventional railroad trains and light passenger rail cars. With the background research on signaling, communica- tions, operating methods, and vehicle technologies presented in Chapter 2 (detailed in the reports for Tasks 1 through 4), and business model and national business case information pre- sented in Chapters 2 and 4 (detailed in the reports for Tasks 7 through 10), a clear picture for the way forward has emerged. Determination of project feasibility parallels that of making the viable business case. In particular, the planning process requires four main steps, described in Chapter 2 (detailed in the Task 9 report): (1) Identify Service Requirements; (2) Define Alternatives; (3) Choose Shared-Track Operating Regime; and (4) Complete Economic Analysis. This process (or a stan- dard alternative analysis process) should be followed to determine project feasibility and to under- stand demonstration project opportunities and constraints. In the case of an existing system, this process is less arduous, because it has already established a track record of safety as evidence for regulators. At the present time, a demonstration project for shared-track operations may take one of two possible forms: 1. A currently operational, temporally separated shared-track line has identified a business need that requires concurrent operations; or 2. A currently operational light rail system has demonstrated a need to extend or expand its sys- tem using an adjacent freight railroad branch line. 77