Benefits from expanding rail’s share of total freight shipping include higher productivity growth, lower prices for shippers and consumers, and less highway congestion. A market approach to reform would enable freight rail to maintain its current market share, while a public approach would expand rail’s share of the freight market. Cox reviews 11 reform techniques and approves six of them.
There is considerable potential to improve the capacity and reliability of the nation’s freight system by using freight rail to move more truck trailers and containers. The model is already in operation: A large part of truck commerce, both in terms of shipping containers and trailers, travels on intermodal trains around the nation. Intermodal shipments represent the fastest growing market in the railroad industry. There would appear to be substantial potential, at least on a theoretical level, for expanding intermodal operations.
This policy study consists of:
1. Introduction ……………..1
2. Situation and trends ……….2
3. Congestion and bottlenecks ….8
4. Social costs and benefits . . . . . 13
5. Barriers to investment . . . . . . . 18
6. Principles for reform . . . . . . . . . 21
7. Evaluation of reform proposals . 25
8. Recommended reforms . . . . . . 32
9. Summary and conclusion . . . . . 36