Home Skip to main content

MPC Research Reports
Report Details

Title:Analysis of Railroad Energy Efficiency in the United States
Authors:Denver Tolliver, Pan Lu, and Douglas Benson
University:North Dakota State University
Publication Date:May 2013
Report #:MPC-13-250
Project #:MPC-337
TRID #:01481004
Keywords:alternatives analysis, commodities by type, energy consumption, freight transportation, fuel consumption, mathematical models, railroads, railroad trains, trucks, waterways



The purpose of this study is to provide information about railroad fuel efficiency that may be useful in evaluating transportation energy policies and assessing the sustainability of potential projects. The specific objectives are to (1) develop railroad energy efficiency models that describe differences in fuel economy among classes of trains and commodities; (2) apply these models to a wide range of movements to estimate fuel efficiency ratings for coal, grain, iron ore, food products, and other key commodities; (3) develop comparable procedures for estimating truck and waterway fuel consumption; and (4) compare rail, truck, and waterway energy efficiencies. The focus on railroads in this study is appropriate, since many of the alternatives to highway investment involve railroad transportation or multimodal options.

How to Cite

Tolliver, Denver, Pan Lu, and Douglas Benson. Analysis of Railroad Energy Efficiency in the United States, MPC-13-250. North Dakota State University - Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, Fargo: Mountain-Plains Consortium, 2013.

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