Review of Amtrak's Study of Rail Service Through Oklahoma

RCED-86-140BR: Published: Apr 14, 1986. Publicly Released: Apr 14, 1986.

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In response to congressional requests, GAO evaluated the methodologies Amtrak used to analyze the market potential for reinstating passenger rail service through Oklahoma.

GAO found that service initiated for any of the seven proposed Oklahoma route options would generate substantial financial losses and would require an increased revenue contribution of between 74 and 174 percent in order for any of the proposed routes to meet the Amtrak financial criteria for initiating new rail service. GAO believes that the level of losses on long-distance western routes currently operating adjacent to the service areas of the proposed Oklahoma route options reinforces the Amtrak conclusions of potential losses for any of those options. GAO found that the Amtrak revenue projection model had some structural design, data, documentation, and statistical reliability limitations, since it was not designed to estimate the effects of airline, auto, and bus competition on projected rail travel demand. GAO believes that the Amtrak use of a rail revenue projection model that cannot represent the effects of price and service competition from other transportation modes may reduce the reliability of Amtrak projections of passenger revenues in markets where competition from other modes of transportation is significant.

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