Open Access for Freight Railroads: Worthwhile or Wasteful Disruption?

This project will examine the advantages and disadvantages of requiring freight railroads to provide open access to their track, as they do in Europe or Australia, instead of very limited and selective track sharing of the type practiced currently in the United States. Requiring open access is a radical change in traditional railroad practice, and while such changes have the power to generate substantial benefits they also can be very disruptive. Requirements that local telephone companies complete the calls of independent carriers has led to healthy competition in mobile and long distance telephony, for example, but a poorly thought-out attempt to restructure California's electricity industry to introduce competition led to bankruptcies, blackouts and higher rates. This project will contrast the United States experience with limited track sharing with that of open access in Australia. Australia was chosen as the comparison because it has had open access for a decade and because its freight railroads are similar to those in the United States. The focus is whether competition would be increased significantly and at what price in disrupted coordination between train operations and infrastructure services.


    • English


    • Status: Completed
    • Funding: $160000.00
    • Contract Numbers:



    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Research and Innovative Technology Administration

      Department of Transportation
      1200 New Jersey Avneue, SE
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Performing Organizations:

      Harvard University

      Kennedy School of Government, 79 JFK Street
      Cambridge, MA  United States  02138-0000
    • Principal Investigators:

      Gomez-Ibanez, Jose

    • Start Date: 20060901
    • Expected Completion Date: 0
    • Actual Completion Date: 20070831
    • Source Data: RiP Project 19611

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01466328
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: New England University Transportation Center
    • Contract Numbers: DTRS99-G-0001, HVDR19-9
    • Files: UTC, RiP, USDOT
    • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 3:14PM