Shipments of Oil By Rail: Economic Implications for Safety and Safety-Related Investments

Fracking technology has allowed for a significant expansion of oil production in regions with limited past production and oil pipeline capacity, such as the Bakken formation centered in North Dakota. The result has been significant growth in shipments of oil, a flammable substance, by rail. The growth in shipments has implications for both the number and severity of rail accidents and for the economic feasibility of safety investments both at and away from at-grade rail crossings. The proposed research would conduct four tasks, using the example of the Bakken formation. Task 1 would be a forecast for the projected increase in oil by rail shipments in the impacted region through 2040, based on oil production projections from the Energy Information Administration. A baseline scenario will be developed assuming no expansion of oil pipeline capacity in the region and an alternative scenario(s) would be developed based on the development of proposed or probable regional pipeline projects. Task 2 would be an evaluation changes in the number and severity of rail accidents as a result of increased shipping of oil by rail. Based on existing data on rail capacity, usage and the number of accidents, the research team would develop an estimate of the marginal increase in the number of accidents resulting from existing and projected increases in oil by rail shipment. Task 3 would estimate the increase in accident costs due to the marginal expansion in the number and severity of accidents. Task 4 would examine the resulting increase in the benefits from potential rail safety investments projects, with implications for relative project benefits and costs.

Language

  • English

Project

  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $109,650
  • Contract Numbers:

    DTRT13-G-UTC59

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Nebraska Department of Roads

    1500 Highway 2
    Lincoln, Nebraska  United States  68509-4759

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    University of Nebraska, Lincoln

    College of Engineering and Technology
    Lincoln, NE  United States  68503
  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Nebraska, Lincoln

    College of Engineering and Technology
    Lincoln, NE  United States  68503
  • Principal Investigators:

    Thompson, Eric

    Khattak, Aemal

  • Start Date: 20161001
  • Expected Completion Date: 20180630
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01616225
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: University Transportation Center for Railway Safety
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT13-G-UTC59
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Nov 11 2016 12:09PM