Trains For America

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Visualizing How Poorly Amtrak’s Route Network Serves Most of the U.S. – Jobs & Economy – The Atlantic Cities

Here is an excellent item that aptly demonstrates (with several maps) failings and opportunities within the nationwide Amtrak “system.” You need to follow the link below to see they maps. They are worth your time.

Like the classic electoral college map filled in each Election Night, train maps don’t tell you much about the stuff that counts: people.

For Amtrak, the route map can be particularly unhelpful. Not only are the longest lines the least popular, their train frequency can be one-sixtieth that of the system’s busiest lines.

With that in mind, Mike Hicks, a transit blogger in Minneapolis, plotted boardings and alightings on a simple state map. Using numbers from Amtrak’s State Fact Sheets and a list of GPS coordinates for Amtrak stations published by Bill Ensinger, Hicks funneled ridership data into circular, geographic containers.

As you might expect, the result drives home the preeminence of the Northeast Corridor route — individual cities are lost in a foam of overlapping bubbles.

But a visual representation calls attention to other rail travel hotspots as well. California and the Pacific Northwest both have substantial (if largely separate) traffic on the rails, as does the Chicago area, with heavily traveled prongs extending east into Michigan, south to St. Louis, and north to Milwaukee.’

Read it all at the link below. It is very informative.

Visualizing How Poorly Amtrak’s Route Network Serves Most of the U.S. – Jobs & Economy – The Atlantic Cities.

Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, Regional USA Passenger Rail, United States High Speed Rail

2 Responses

  1. says:

    Note that the last map still shows the NewOleans-Florida route as “suspended” when it is likely abandoned, not having seen service now in almost 8 years. The Sunset route suffers from this omission (46% of gross, pre-Katrina was from the eastern 28% of the route per NARP) and even worse it suffers from less than daily frequency. Less than 1 train per day, is effectively no service.

    J. H. Sullivan

  2. Woody says:

    The map shows how ridership soars where enuff trains provide basic, waking-hours service.

    Look at that big little circle at the south end of Illinois, on the route of Amtrak’s City of New Orleans. That’s Carbondale. What? Where?

    Yeah, out in the middle of FlyOverLand, the small city of Carbondale has plenty of rail passengers. More than Memphis, or Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Louisville, Cincinnati, etc.

    That’s because Carbondale gets two trains daily from Chicago, and two a day head toward Chicago. They are subsidized by the State of Illinois, for a few million bucks a year.

    Oh, there’s also that long distance train, the City of New Orleans, running between Chicago and New Orleans. But it passes thru Carbondale well after midnight both ways, and that hardly counts as service at all.

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February 2013


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