Goals & Vision

Our Goals

  1. Improve & expand conventional intercity Passenger train service
  2. Support startup one high speed rail line
  3. Increase connectivity among all forms of transportation
  4. Safety for our trains and passengers

Our Vision for Trains in America

We believe the current Amtrak system is skeletal at best. Experience has shown that when additional frequencies are added to existing routes, revenues rise faster than costs. When new routes are added, ridership on connecting routes also goes up. The Vision map below shows our Grid and Gateway proposal, which provides a firm basis for a truly national system. All routes shown are assumed to have at least two round trips daily to maximize utility and connection possibilities.

Click here for a high-resolution version of the Vision Map

A parity in route miles

  • There are currently 22,000 route miles of rail lines (one land mile = one route mile, regardless of how many tracks are on that mile of land)
  • Our proposal will bring the number of route miles to 45,000 – roughly the same size as the current interstate highway system.
  • The interstate highway system has grown from its initial 41,000 miles to 47,000 miles in 2004.

An increase in communities served

  • Today, many big metro areas have little or no Amtrak service.
  • Our proposal would have meaningful service in all major metropolitan areas and a majority of the smaller ones.

Providing a transportation choice people demand

  • In 2006, a Harris poll indicated that 79% of adults would like to see an increasing proportion of traffic going by intercity or commuter rail.
  • According to a 2005 study by the Surface Transportation Policy Project, people living in communities with few transportation options devote the greatest share of their family budget to transportation costs.

Organizations Endorsing the Grid and Gateway Vision

Endorsement of our Grid and Gateway Vision does not imply a commitment to any specific service or financing plan. Endorsements are statements of support that more passenger trains and transit are beneficial to their states and communities. The following organizations endorse our Grid and Gateway plan for the expansion of the national passenger train network:

  • All Aboard Washington
  • Association of Oregon Rail and Transit Advocates
  • City of Bonita Springs, Florida
  • Colorado Rail Passengers Association
  • Edison, NJ Chamber of Commerce
  • Kentucky Public Transportation Association
  • League of Women Voters of South Carolina
  • Louisiana Association of Railroad Passengers
  • New Mexico Environmental Law Center
  • North Carolina Alliance for Transportation Reform
  • Texas Rail Advocates
  • Train Riders Association of California
  • Troy, MI Chamber of Commerce
  • Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment
  • Virginia Association of Railway Patrons

If you would like your organization’s name to be added, please contact us.


Rail Passengers Association confers awards on those who further the development of passenger rail.