The Economic and Environmental Benefits of Passenger Rail

All Aboard Minnesota in conjunction with the Rail Passengers Association recently conducted a study containing some of the key benefits, economic, mobility, and environmental, that the Second Train frequency between the Twin Cities and Chicago would offer. The Summary of Findings are compelling!


Assuming current ridership trends hold for the introduction of new service, only 11% of the train’s new ridership will have otherwise used a bus. About as many passengers as the would-be bus riders will not have taken the trip at all, as 9% of Amtrak passengers in the region include induced ridership, taking trips that won’t be made without the train. Such ridership on the new train will result in new visitor spending in Minnesota making an estimated total impact of $2.8 Million.

The majority (~60%) of passengers for the new service would come at the expense of automotive trips, a desirable behavior. It is estimated that 90,000 people who would otherwise use personal automobiles be taken off the roads, saving $32 Million dollars across the region in highway maintenance costs. Trains are 17 times safer than personal automobiles, meaning that the region will save $1.8 Million dollars due to traffic accidents avoided. Trains are among the greenest modes of ground transportation, which translates to saving in excess of $120,000 dollars due to pollution savings that will no longer be emitted when the train starts to run.

Amtrak’s current operations expenditures include $62 Million dollars and 38 employees based in Minnesota, which generate total benefits of nearly $150 Million for the state. Ongoing operation of the new train, estimated at $13.4 Million annually including a direct contribution from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois of $6.6 Million, more than offset by the direct benefits outlined above, would still bring $47 Million in annual impacts for the three states served.

Click here to read the full paper