Contracting Commuter Rail Services

The objective of this research is to provide guidance to public agencies and other key stakeholders in the contracting of commuter rail services. This research will include an evaluation of the advantages and disadvantages of each potential approach, including the service effectiveness, service quality, and service cost effectiveness, as well as any safety impacts, of each approach. Key system attributes should be included as part of the evaluation such as passenger miles, train miles, revenues, costs, infrastructure ownership, and other appropriate criteria that could help the practitioner compare and assess the value of the various service approaches. The expected product is a guidebook that describes commuter rail services in North America, the various delivery approaches, and a broad range of issues associated with contracting of commuter rail services that will include, at a minimum, the following: (1) The general context for the provision of commuter rail services in North America (e.g., statutory framework, policy and funding environment); (2) The various current service delivery approaches; (3) The evolution of the various service delivery approaches and why they changed; (4) Quantifiable effectiveness of service delivery approaches from both the private and public perspectives; (5) Significant lessons learned from contracting out services; (6) Current best practices for contracting out commuter rail services; and (7) Innovative international and domestic approaches for contracting transportation services applicable to commuter rail. As noted, most service providers in North America procure some or all of their commuter rail services from contractors. While it will be the intent of the research team to gather data and develop information from the systems using contractors, the focus will be on those systems that have recently procured commuter rail services or undergone a significant change in contracting methodologies. Data collected should include the contracted service functions (see examples below) and the nature of the contract type employed (e.g., bundled or unbundled, fixed-price or cost-plus) and its principal terms and conditions.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $300000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project G-14

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Transit Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    Transit Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001
  • Project Managers:

    Chisholm-Smith, Gwen

  • Performing Organizations:

    Texas A&M Transportation Institute

    Texas A&M University System
    3135 TAMU
    College Station, TX  United States  77843-3135
  • Principal Investigators:

    Cherrington, Linda

  • Start Date: 20150218
  • Expected Completion Date: 20180630
  • Actual Completion Date: 20180630
  • Source Data: RiP Project 37640

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01543518
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project G-14
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Nov 17 2014 1:01AM