Rail (1 - 10 of 258 items)
Freight Rail Pricing: Contracts Provide Shippers and Railroads Flexibility, but High Rates Concern Some Shippers
GAO-17-166: Published: Dec 7, 2016. Publicly Released: Dec 7, 2016.
While rail contracts and tariffs are similar, contracts offer the flexibility to customize rates and terms to a specific shipper, according to selected stakeholders GAO interviewed. Both contract and tariff rates are based on market factors, such as competition, according to representatives from the four largest U.S. freight railroads. However, they noted that in developing contract rates, a railr...
Hazardous Materials Rail Shipments: A Review of Emergency Response Information in Selected Train Documents
GAO-17-130: Published: Dec 2, 2016. Publicly Released: Dec 2, 2016.
To help emergency responders safely handle rail accidents involving hazardous materials, selected railroads transporting hazardous materials typically carry two sources of information: the Department of Transportation's (DOT) Emergency Response Guidebook ( ERG ) and information in the trains' documents. Federal Hazardous Material Regulations require railroads and other hazardous material transpo...
Hazardous Materials Rail Shipments: Emergency Responders Receive Support, but DOT Could Improve Oversight of Information Sharing
GAO-17-91: Published: Nov 17, 2016. Publicly Released: Nov 17, 2016.
Emergency planners from most of the 25 selected counties in 17 states that GAO surveyed reported that training for responders and information about rail shipments of hazardous materials affect preparedness. Emergency planners from almost all of the selected counties reported that a majority of the emergency response personnel, such as fire fighters, who arrive first at an accident receive basic tr...
West Coast Ports: Better Supply Chain Information Could Improve DOT's Freight Efforts
GAO-17-23: Published: Oct 31, 2016. Publicly Released: Oct 31, 2016.
Some infrastructure and operations at major West Coast ports are strained in the face of recent changes in global shipping, but port stakeholders are attempting to address these constraints. For example, as the shipping industry deploys larger vessels capable of delivering more cargo, some port terminals lack big enough cranes, or other infrastructure, needed to handle these vessels. All major Wes...
Train Braking: DOT's Rulemaking on Electronically Controlled Pneumatic Brakes Could Benefit from Additional Data and Transparency
GAO-17-122: Published: Oct 12, 2016. Publicly Released: Oct 12, 2016.
DOT based estimates of the business benefits of electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes on limited data, in part, because railroads that have used ECP brakes to date have shared limited data on their use. ECP brakes provide an electronic brake signal instantaneously throughout the train, allowing train cars to brake faster than with conventional air brakes. In supporting the May 2015 rule...
Railroad Financing: Stakeholders' Views on Recent Changes to the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing Program
GAO-16-714R: Published: Jul 13, 2016. Publicly Released: Jul 13, 2016.
The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which was enacted in December 2015, made a number of significant changes to the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) program, but the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the modal administration that is responsible for the program, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), are still in the early stages of implementin...
Rail Grant Oversight: Greater Adherence to Leading Practices Needed to Improve Grants Management
GAO-16-544: Published: May 26, 2016. Publicly Released: May 26, 2016.
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) initially used a regional oversight and monitoring approach outlined in its Grants Management Manual (Grants Manual) to manage the grants funding the section 305 equipment procurement projects, but in the face of challenges that approach evolved to include additional project-level oversight. When FRA began awarding the grants for the section 305 equipmen...
U.S. Border Communities: Ongoing DOT Efforts Could Help Address Impacts of International Freight Rail
GAO-16-274: Published: Jan 28, 2016. Publicly Released: Jan 28, 2016.
Factors such as inspections and crew changes affect freight rail movements in the four U.S. border port of entry (POE) communities GAO visited, which can result in blocked highway-rail grade crossings. Federal agencies and others have taken actions to expedite rail in these communities. As part of its mission to safeguard the border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) scans inbound rail cars...
Highway Trust Fund: DOT Has Opportunities to Improve Tracking and Reporting of Highway Spending
GAO-15-33: Published: Oct 9, 2014. Publicly Released: Oct 9, 2014.
In fiscal year 2013, operating administrations within the Department of Transportation (DOT) collected and reported some information on the types of activities and administrative expenses funded from the Highway Trust Fund, but did so with varying levels of detail. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) obligated about $41 billion in fiscal year 2013, most of which ($39 billion) was apportioned...
Freight Transportation: Developing National Strategy Would Benefit from Added Focus on Community Congestion Impacts
GAO-14-740: Published: Sep 19, 2014. Publicly Released: Sep 26, 2014.
Recent trends in freight flows, if they continue as expected, may exacerbate congestion issues in communities, particularly along certain corridors. As of 2012, the latest year for which data were available, national freight rail and truck traffic had approached levels of 2007 prior to the economic recession. Certain trends related to specific commodities have affected rail flows, including increa...