Blog

Your daily source of fresh takes on news affecting America's passengers. See also the weekly NARP Hotline.

The rail solution to Chinese airport congestion

Written By Sean Jeans Gail Next time you feel frustrated while stranded in an airport—an all too common experience these days—pull up this Los Angeles Times story to help yourself feel a little better: China's skies are in a state of almost permanent gridlock. During the month of July, only 17.8% of flights departing from Beijing's airport were on time, according to FlightStats. In August, on-time departures improved, but only to a miserable 28.8%. The U.S. website ranked Beijing worst o

Bottlenecked: Amtrak Cannot Become a Victim of Its Own Success

Written By Cliff Dunn Rumblings of a coming capacity constraint on the Northeast Corridor connote unpleasant implications for the rest of the system. Amtrak has a habit of basing what long-term planning it does on very conservative estimates of ridership growth. This is done to prevent Amtrak’s critics from accusing the railroad of overestimating the number of people who will turn to trains for their travel needs. But it risks becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. For medium-term budgeting pu

Station to Station: Coined by Bowie, Seized by a Generation

Written By Malcolm Kenton The Summer of 2013 may mark a meaningful rediscovery of the cultural significance of Long Distance Train Travel The late summer of 2013 may mark the beginning of a new era that could see American transcontinental journeys used as vehicles for encouraging expression, generating ideas, and making statements. And this can only be a good thing for our cause as it raises broader awareness about passenger trains, long-distance ones in particular, both as a smart way to trav

Balanced transportation = healthier people

Written By Malcolm Kenton Michael Huber, a cardiovascular health consultant with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, made an important, often overlooked point at the 24th Annual CTS Transportation Research Conference in St. Paul, which focused on the role of transportation policy in improving human health: I would like to see a more conscious balancing of the transportation modes. It’s not about forcing people to walk or bike. It’s about giving them a choice so they can make a decisio

Hoosier State Train On the Brink

Written By Ross Capon Bad things happen when a train dies. Communities depending on the service loose their connection to the world around them. Men and women who support themselves and their families working on the train lose their livelihood. And it can happen quickly. A blink of an eye compared to the decades it took to build up the service, maintain and improve the stations and the equipment, build up a loyal ridership. But if Indiana Governor Mike Pence fails to provide needed financia

Americans *do* ride trains

Written By Colin Leach A recent feature on The Economist’s blog attempted to answer the age-old question of why Americans do not travel by train as much as Europeans. But in doing so, the paper did not take into account certain realities concerning Americans’ changing travel preferences as well as current use of rail travel. Ultimately, The Economist’s analysis presents an incomplete picture that is based on an imperfect understanding of passenger rail demand. Large group boards a Wolver

Hoosier State must be saved before service can be improved

Written By Malcolm Kenton Dave Bangert’s column in this morning’s Lafayette (Indiana) Journal-Courier, while sympathetic to the cause of improving service on the Chicago-Indianapolis corridor, misses the point about why passenger advocates are fighting to preserve the existing Hoosier State service. It’s not sepia-toned nostalgia that motivates the Save the Hoosier State movement; it’s the simple fact that if the Hoosier State disappears, it becomes ten times more difficult to get bette

Local backing for Hoosier State on display at Lafayette summit

Written By Phillip Streby NARP Council Representative Phil Streby filed the following report from the Passenger Rail Summit that took place in downtown Lafayette, Indiana, on Wednesday (Aug. 21). We present it to you as part of our ongoing campaign to convince the Indiana Department of Transportation to commit to paying its share of the Chicago-Indianapolis Hoosier State's operating costs in fiscal 2014 and beyond, as the first step towards bringing faster and more convenient train service, and

Experience-seeking millennials question car dependence, turn to trains

Written By Colin Leach Detroit’s automakers have long counted on new generations purchasing their wares as readily as their parents. And with good reason: car culture has been an integral part of Americans’ lives for so long. For so many, coming of age included getting a driver’s license and the first in a succession of many personal cars. Owning a car was understood to be as American as apple pie. Photo by Colin Brace on Flickr.com.But for the millennial generation, car ownership is not

Meet the Summer Interns: Colin

Written By Colin Leach NARP has been pleased to host University of Maryland, Baltimore County graduate student Colin Leach as our summer intern. If you come to this site regularly, then you’ve probably already read some of his excellent work. But we wanted to take a moment to introduce him to you directly so you can understand the ideas and passions that motivate his work. Colin Leach presents to Amtrak Government Affairs. Photo by Ross Capon.Working with NARP this summer has been a natural