Other Reports

Benefit-Cost Analysis and Implementation Plan for Electronically Controlled Pneumatic Braking Technology in the Railroad Industry: Preliminary Report

  • 06
  • Jan
  • 2006
AUTHOR: Booz, Allen, Hamilton
SUBJECT: Braking Systems
KEYWORDS: ECP Brakes, Safety Impacts, ECP Implementation Costs and Benefits, Implementation Alternatives
ABSTRACT: Electronically Controlled Pneumatic (ECP) brakes are a tested technology that offers major benefits in freight train handling, car maintenance, fuel savings, and network capacity. Their use could significantly enhance rail safety and efficiency. The expected benefits of ECP braking technology appear to justify the investment, provided that the conversion is focused first on the high-mileage, unit-train-type services that would most benefit from its use, and subsequent conversions incorporate lessons learned. The challenge of ECP brake implementation is threefold: 1) How to equitably distribute the ECP brake benefits and conversion costs that fall unevenly between the freight railroads and private car owners; 2) How to focus ECP brake conversion on the particular types of trains and corridors that would most benefit from the technology without disrupting capacity-constrained rail freight operations; 3) How to manage the operating mix of ECP brake and non-ECP brake cars and locomotives during a lengthy conversion process. This report by Booz Allen Hamilton (Booz Allen) for the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) addresses these considerations, and presents three alternative plans for ECP brake implementation, as well as a recommended approach.