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Title:A Method for Assessing the Impact of Railroad Abandonment on Rural Communities
Authors:Joel Honeyman
University:North Dakota State University
Publication Date:Nov 1995
Report #:MPC-95-48
Project #:MPC-078
TRID #:00715418
Keywords:abandonment, case studies, deregulation, economic impacts, methodology, quantitative analysis, railroad equipment industry, railroad tracks, rural areas


Through deregulation, the railroad industry has rationalized its services across the nation. Since 1980, this has lead to the abandonment of over 33,000 miles of rail line in the United States. While this has improved the efficiency and financial viability of rail carriers, it has adversely affected some rural communities. These effects include an increased cost of transportation to shippers, increased highway damage, reduced business volume, and diminished economic development opportunities.

This study attempted to formulate a consistent method of measuring and quantifying these impacts. Previous impact assessment techniques have been inconsistent in their theory and have tended to rely on biased and unsubstantiated evidence and testimony. This is particularly important to the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) who decides the fate of an abandonment application. By law, if the abandonment is investigated, protestants have only 30 days in which to prepare a case.

NDSU Dept 2880P.O. Box 6050Fargo, ND 58108-6050