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New OneRail Coalition poll confirms Americans’ support for rail travel

Posted: 17 November 2021 | | No comments yet

A new poll conducted on behalf of the OneRail Coalition has revealed that Americans’ support for both freight and passenger rail remain strong.

New OneRail Coalition poll confirms Americans’ support for rail travel

Americans’ support for rail remains strong, showing increases from 2020 for commuting short distances, travelling long distances, improving the environment and meeting growing freight transportation demands, according to a new poll conducted by ENGINE Insights on behalf of the OneRail Coalition.  

Findings of the OneRail poll include:

  • 83 per cent of Americans polled in 2021 agree that there should be more shift of trips to passenger rail and public transit, as well as more freight to trains to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • For passenger rail, post-pandemic favourability ratings showed strong gains, increasing from 65 per cent in 2020 to 75 per cent in 2021
  • Post-COVID-19 pandemic favourability ratings for public transit also showed a significant increase, moving from 64 per cent in 2020 to 71 per cent in 2021
  • 86 per cent of Americans consider freight railroads important to the U.S. economy
  • 63 per cent of Americans favour moving freight over land by rail as opposed to truck to meet projected growth in freight shipments over the next 20 years
  • 49 per cent of Americans agree the U.S. should be investing more in public transit and passenger rail, rising from 47 per cent and 46 per cent, respectively, in 2020.
  • Support remained strong for increasing federal funding for safety at railroad crossings, with 82 per cent of Americans supporting more Congressional spending to address railroad crossing safety after learning government statistics showing that approximately 95 per cent of all rail-related deaths involve drivers going through a crossing or a person on the tracks. The 2020 poll results were similar at 81 per cent.

OneRail Coalition Director, Devon Barnhart, said: “These survey results affirm that Americans continue to strongly support freight railroads, passenger rail, and public transit. Favourability ratings rose across the board compared to the 2020 poll findings, underscoring the vital importance of these transportation systems, particularly as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and respond to unprecedented supply chain disruptions. OneRail has advocated for increased funding for passenger and transit projects in this country and smart policy to support freight railroads. We are thrilled that Congress responded to America’s overwhelmingly strong support for moving people and goods by rail through the recent passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and we look forward to President Biden signing this bill into law.”

Association of American Railroads (AAR) President and CEO, Ian Jefferies, said: “No country can be a first-rate economic powerhouse without first-rate transportation solutions – and the U.S. freight rail network is second to none thanks to substantial and sustained infrastructure investment. As our economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain disruptions, this survey affirms the invaluable work of railroaders as they continue to safely and reliably deliver critical goods for customers and communities.”

Paul P. Skoutelas, American Public Transportation Association (APTA) President and CEO, said: “The results of this survey are consistent with what we are seeing in communities across the country. The public very clearly wants more public transit, and realises public transit’s importance to society. Public transportation and its numerous benefits are vital to the social and economic recovery of our nation, and robust federal funding is essential to make the necessary investments both in the short and long term.”

Amtrak’s Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing and Revenue Officer, Roger Harris, said: “The findings of the OneRail poll reflect what we know to be true: people are calling for more passenger rail service. As riders return and we look beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re investing in our network to better serve people and communities across the country.”

The poll was conducted in early-October 2021 among a national sample of 1,014 adults 18 years of age and older, comprised of 507 men and 507 women. A similar study was conducted among a sample of 1,004 respondents from in August 2020. The online omnibus study is conducted three times a week among a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,000 adults ages 18 and older.

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