Why Trains Are Important

Why Trains Are Important


Economic / Business Impact


NIPRA is committed to Indiana working with surrounding states to support a comprehensive Midwest passenger rail initiative. That initiative will eventually link nine states with a passenger rail network providing substantial economic benefits for Fort Wayne and Northern Indiana. It is estimated that some 4,500 full-time permanent jobs could be generated in Indiana with the completion of this nine state passenger rail network.


A 2013 Business Case Study for this corridor also sited these additional benefits:

    • Reduced travel times between Chicago, IL and Columbus, OH, as well as all included stops along the way.
    • Reduced congestion on highways for truck, auto and bus traffic.
    • Reduced travel costs due to competitive passenger rail fares when compared to plane and auto costs. 



Another major opportunity for economic development in urban areas is around the newly operating train stations.  Station traffic naturally encourages the development of nearby properties as well as new development at the station itself. For other areas who have already successfully revitalized travel by train, property values in and around the stations have increased significantly.In other intercity projects already moving ahead, station development is attracting private sector partners. Cities like Champaign, Normal, and Milwaukee are already showcasing how passenger rail stations are becoming the centerpiece for redevelopment, and this 2013 Business Case Study is estimating a joint development potential of $2.6 Billion amongst the communities along this route.



(PLEASE NOTE that the above information was calculated using anticipated passenger rail speeds of 110 and 130 mph. Our proposed route will start at 79 mph, with an anticipated future increase to the aforementioned higher speeds.)


Analysis projects that our route could:

    • Generate 2.1 million riders in 2020
    • Generate 3.3 million riders by 2040
    • Generate fare revenues of $116 million per year by 2020
    • Generate fare revenues of $190 million by 2040
    • Generate over $6 billion in user benefits over the thirty year life of the project
    • Produce a cost-benefit return of 1.7
    • This shows that each $1 invested in our passenger rail initiative produces $1.70 of economic return, a very acceptable result for such a major infrastructure project.
    • 26,800 full-time jobs for 30 years or 806,000 person years of work
    • $700 million per year in extra household income along the route
    • $2.6 billion in increased joint development opportunities for the communities along the route


Community Impact


Local business benefits: Folks who travel by train may travel to or from a community where they’re likely to use a taxi, rent a car, stay at a hotel, eat at a restaurant, go to a concert, attend a sporting event, and do some shopping. And while this may vary from city to city, these streams of revenue are of great benefit to many. See our section on Economic/Business impact for more detail.


New station development: Anywhere a train stops the community will need (and want) to improve their stations. And station development leads to more employment, new construction jobs, increased property values, new development of land adjacent to the station, and an increased local tax base. All of the above are often grouped together and referred to as Transit Oriented Development, or TOD.


Passenger Rail Impact: Research indicates that local communities currently providing passenger rail are realizing a revenue benefit of $62 million annually. This economic boost is in addition to benefits such as highway congestion relief, improved air quality, better energy conversation, and increased safety.


Safety Impact


Fewer vehicles on the roads, means safer roads. The reduction in automobile traffic is estimated to decrease by roughly 3 million vehicles over the next 30 years. Communities have seen a statistical drop in traffic accidents with the implementation of passenger rail.


The implementation of the Positive Train Control (PTC) system will ensure the safety and effective operation of all trains. The installation of quad gates also provides a fully separated and sealed corridor environment for train operation. These safety measures will greatly improve railroad crossing safety and provide automatic train stop capability should any vehicle become trapped by the gates.


Environmental Impact


Population growth in our area is expected to increase traffic by over 30 million trips; equivalent to a 40% increase in traffic by 2050. Such an increase will bring significant congestion and delays to our current highway and air systems. By comparison, passenger rail will bring substantial environmental benefits, providing a cost effective alternative to auto and air travel, tempering the strain on our highway infrastructure and making population growth more manageable from a travel perspective.


The environmental benefits include:

  • Decreased energy consumption
  • Reduced accidents
  • Reduced air pollution and emissions
  • Reduced land for auto and air facilities
  • Intensified and reuse of urban area lands around stations
  • Reduced wetland and water resource impact by reuse of existing rail routes.


The level of environmental support for passenger rail reflects its ability to minimize energy, reduce accidents, minimize highway congestion, and limit greenfield impacts by making optimal use of existing right-of-way. This development strategy will produce a much smaller carbon and physical footprint than either highway or airport development, in which forests, farmland, or wetlands are often impacted.


Recreational Impact


Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, passenger rail is both cost-effective and unique. Going to the Columbus Zoo? Hop on a train with your companions to enjoy a meal or play games while you are en route. Spending a weekend in Chicago? Begin and end your stay with a relaxing, safe and satisfying ride. Or, conduct business on your phone and laptop. Passenger rail does all the driving for you.


Less Congestion: Congested roads and airports can increase anyone’s stress level. By providing another means for travel, like passenger rail, stress levels are reduced and replaced with the leisure that traveling should provide.


Less Time Wasted: Most modes of transportation include waiting; waiting in the security line at the airport terminal; waiting in traffic on the highway; waiting for the weather to clear. All of these things eat away at our precious time. Passenger rail travel links urban areas together faster than a car, bus, or plane. Loading and unloading times are also much faster than you will find at any airport.


More Convenience: Train stations are typically centrally located within towns and cities and are increasingly becoming part of larger transit systems. These locations provide passengers with either an easy walk to many destinations or an easy connection to buses, shuttles and cabs. Lockers at major train stations make it easy to store an extra bag or two, allowing more freedom to explore.


More Travel Quality: Traveling by car limits our movement, increases our personal liability, and demands our mental attention. It’s no secret that multi-tasking while driving is quite dangerous. Airplanes and buses present similar problems, requiring passengers to remain in cramped seats and limiting the use of electronic devices. Passenger trains minimize a traveler’s discomfort by providing more spacious seating, freedom of movement, and opportunity to engage in a variety of productive activities or just simply relax. The extra time and freedom of rail travel allows passengers to catch up on work, read a book, play games, or simply enjoy the scenery as it rolls past.