The 104-page report highlights that annual freight volume is expected to grow 60 percent by 2045, while at the same time, U.S. highways are becoming increasingly congested with limited space to add lanes. Rail transportation will play an important role in handling the increased freight, as the average freight train is capable of carrying 170 truckloads of freight in one trip.
The report documents several public benefits of rail transportation: railroad transportation is safer, produces fewer emissions, results in less highway damage as well as lower congestion, and costs less than its closest competitor, trucking.
“The benefits make a compelling case for continued investment in the rail system,” King said. “Shifting freight from truck to rail can provide transportation savings and benefit society. Even just a one-percent shift from truck to rail would eliminate 65 billion truck miles off U.S. roads and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 64.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide between now and 2045.”