National Academies Press: OpenBook
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Suggested Citation:"Foreword." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Contracting Commuter Rail Services, Volume 1: Guidebook. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25266.
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v Foreword TCRP Research Report 200: Contracting Commuter Rail Services is a two-volume set that presents guidance on the different approaches for providing commuter rail service and includes decision trees to assist public transportation agencies and other key stakeholders in determining how to implement commuter rail or evaluate changes in their approach to service delivery of an existing system. Volume 1: Guidebook provides an evaluation of the advantages and disadvantages of each potential approach for providing commuter rail service, including the primary functions for commuter rail delivery— train operations, dispatch, maintenance of way, and maintenance of equipment. Key system attributes are included as a part of the evaluation such as passenger miles, train miles, revenues, infrastructure ownership, and other appropriate criteria that could help the practitioner compare and assess the value of the various service approaches. The guidebook includes a decision tree analysis to assess local decisions, and discusses trends in contracting commuter rail services. Current trends for contracting commuter rail services and innovative approaches for contracting transportation services applicable to commuter rail are also presented. Volume 2: Commuter Rail System Profiles describes the 31 commuter rail services in North America and the various delivery approaches, and documents a broad range of strategies and approaches for managing the operation and maintenance issues associated with the contracting of commuter rail services. The products of this research will be useful to senior managers and public transportation frontline employees including operators and maintenance personnel across all modes, all disciplines, and all system sizes. ______________________________________________________ Over the past 40 years, there has been considerable change in the way commuter rail services are provided in the major metropolitan areas of the United States and Canada. Until the early 1960s, commuter rail services in these two countries were owned, operated, and paid for by privately owned freight railroads. Starting around that time, public agencies began to subsidize the continued operation of the few remaining trains that ran in only a handful of metropolitan areas. By contrast, the North America commuter rail industry today has significantly grown to 31 systems serving 25 metropolitan areas. Most of these systems contract for all or part of their operating and maintenance services. Until now, there was little guidance or generally recognized best practices for determining how to provide a city or a metropolitan region with commuter rail service. This guidebook presents potential approaches, an evaluation of the approaches, and guidance on how and when to apply them to existing and new services. The Texas A&M Transportation Institute prepared this report under TCRP Project G-14 in association with ESH Consult, James Stoetzel, and Shelly Brown Associates, LLC. The objective of this project was to develop guidance for use by public agencies and other key stakeholders in the contracting of commuter rail services. To accomplish this objective, literature, research in progress, and current practices related to contracting commuter rail services were reviewed. Based on the literature review, 31 system profiles were created. Also, research focused on the selection of commuter rail systems for 10 in-depth case studies included in Volume I of this set. Development of the guidebook involved direct site visits and in- person interviews.

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TRB's Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) has released a pre-publication, non-edited version of Research Report 200: Contracting Commuter Rail Services, Volume 1: Guidebook. TCRP Research Report 200: Contracting Commuter Rail Services is a two-volume set that presents guidance on the different approaches for providing commuter rail service and includes decision trees to assist public transportation agencies and other key stakeholders in determining how to implement commuter rail or evaluate changes in their approach to service delivery of an existing system.

Volume 1: Guidebook provides an evaluation of the advantages and disadvantages of each potential approach for providing commuter rail service, including the primary functions for commuter rail delivery—train operations, dispatch, maintenance of way, and maintenance of equipment. The guidebook includes a decision tree analysis and summarizes current trends for contracting commuter rail services, as well as highlights innovative approaches for contracting transportation services.

Volume 2: Commuter Rail System Profiles describes the 31 commuter rail services in North America and the various delivery approaches, and documents a broad range of strategies and approaches for managing the operation and maintenance issues associated with the contracting of commuter rail services.

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