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Shared Use: Progress and Evolution 83 Advantages · Increase accessible passenger market; public transportation available in new, less served areas. · Potential for route extensions, connections and passenger growth. Flexibility for test services. · Walkability to and from stations. · Downtown distribution. · Lower cost than light rail. · Quieter and with lower emissions than traditional commuter rail. · Induced growth may be economically beneficial to locality. · Shorter, faster trains. · Viable in edge cities and suburban neighborhoods. · Additional utilization of an existing railroad asset. · Reduced social disruption construction relocation, and environmental disturbance by using existing facility. Disadvantages · Conflicts with growth in freight traffic. Temporal separation can be a zero-sum game, with winners and losers. · Capacity limitations, not suitable for high density, high volume passenger movements. · Stations require parking and improved highway access, and generate traffic. · Noise generated by horn warnings when trains traverse grade crossings. · Increase in noisy freight movements that will likely shift to night. · A lightly used freight line must exist. The concept is applicable in selective circumstances. · Existing freight corridor may not be optimally placed to generate ridership. Growth may be induced where inappropriate or constrained by other factors. Ridership may be induced rather than mode shifted. · A cooperative freight partner is required. · Extended and complex bureaucratic process; success not assured. · Requires added systems and technology to protect passenger traffic from freight-based accidents. · Route will likely include a large number of grade crossings. Realistic or not, concern is increased with noncompliant vehicles. · Disparate speeds and weight, structural incompatibility of vehicles increases risk. · Each incremental change requires approval from the FRA. Market appeal can benefit from increased advocacy by state or local government entities and community movers and shakers as an economic stimulus and a practical approach to new sys- tem starts. Collaboration between a transit agency and a local shortline or branch line owner may be encouraged by explaining the potential infrastructure, economic, and operating advantages that would accrue. Shared-Track Operation--An Evolving Concept The future growth of shared-track operations is contingent upon shared-track being afford- able and achievable without sacrificing safety. Technical advances and evolution of a more sophisticated business case is likely to enhance shared-track's appeal. The following recommen- dations for research and action will support progress for present operations and those being planned or considered: 1. Demonstration projects should encourage funding for development, evaluation, testing and documentation of methods to expand concurrent track sharing, and involve the SSO orga- nization too. In both California and New Jersey, it would include a detailed evaluation of what
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84 Shared Use of Railroad Infrastructure with Noncompliant Public Transit Rail Vehicles: A Practitioner's Guide types of concurrent operations are necessary and desirable. The demonstration would provide for development and evaluation of approaches to facilitate those operations. The demonstra- tion project would provide for design, deployment, testing, evaluation, and documenting, and recommend a preferred approach. Finally the project would report on the actual costs and derived benefits of extending concurrent shared-track operations. 2. The business case template and risk analysis technique illustrated in Chapter 4 should be adapted to a specific candidate line segment under consideration by a transit agency. The research for this report used hypothetical data for illustrative purposes. Expanding upon this research by applying the method to a real system could validate and calibrate the model, and quantify the benefits in a way that may be transferable to other prospective systems. 3. APTA currently sponsors a shared-track working group that serves to disseminate relevant experiences and information. A more active intervention and role by APTA in promoting this application of technology should be encouraged. One means of doing that is developing new FRA standards for shared-track under the auspices of APTA. The existence of any type of standard may assure that each project will not be treated as the first of its kind by the FRA. An approach similar to PRESS and RTOS programs could be adapted for Shared-Track. Cre- ating standards and self-regulation may obviate some FRA concerns. 4. More structural research is needed, such as computer modeling and simulation of light pas- senger rail cars and freight vehicle collisions. Ideally a real-world test should be performed and results can be incorporated in new CEM designs and risk analysis models. 5. Investigate whether it is possible to use federal funding available for shortline/branchlines reconstruction or rehabilitation for a shared-track service, thus reducing costs to the transit agency.