Technical Reports

Energy Intensity of Intercity Passenger Rail

  • 01
  • Dec
  • 1977
AUTHOR: Ram K. Mittal
OFFICE: RPD
REPORT NUMBER: DOT/RSPD/DPB-50-78/7
SUBJECT: Environmental Protection, Passenger Rail
KEYWORDS: Energy Intensity of Intercity Rail; Energy Efficiency; Transportation Energy; Energy Collservation
ABSTRACT: This research report deals with the Energy Intensity of Intercity Rail Passenger Systems. Included in the energy evaluation are the impacts of operating conditions (speed, load factor) and train consists. The report also documents an extensive list of data used for evaluation purposes. Impact of track on energy intensity is also documented. Several trains are simulated along the new York City to Buffalo Corridor. Increases in energy efficiency due to modernization of rolling stock and improvements of track and service conditions are also analyzed to insure equitable comparison among the competitive modes. The study concludes that: Presently the energy intensity figures are high because the load factor is low; there is a considerable potential for improving values by improving the attractiveness (reduced trip time) of the trains and also by using poor track conditions, the maximum potential of the trains (in terms of speed, etc.) cannot be realized. Improved track conditions will enhance block speed which would result in increased rail patronage (consequently higher load factor) and reduced energy intensity. Electric trains were also studied (along NYC to Washington, DC) and are quite favorable from an energy intensity viewpoint. The study provides guidelines for energy conservation; will serve the railroad industry, and has a potential for nationwide application. This report represents a comprehensive study in the subject area.

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