Evaluating Opportunities to Enhance Hoosier State Train Ridership through a Survey of Riders' Opinions and an Assessment of Access to the Line
Sponsored by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) through the Joint Transportation Research Program (JTRP)
Passenger rail is an integral part of intercity transportation networks, especially in areas where residents do not have access to a car or there are not any other options for intercity travel. The Hoosier State Train (HST) line connects five stations in Indiana with Illinois. Since 2013, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) reached an agreement with Iowa Pacific Holdings forming a very unique public-private partnership, with a shared vision to improve on-time performance, improve speed and maintain a reliable schedule, increase ridership, and provide better on-board amenities. This study conducted an on-board survey of HST riders' opinions in October and November 2016. A total of 908 responses were collected (response rate of 85%). The results showed that HST impacts not only counties in Indiana with a station but also counties without station; approximately one out of five respondents reported that they traveled more than 30 miles to reach a station. A stronger intention to ride the train in the short and long run since 2015 was also reported. Additionally, safety, amenities, and cost were ranked as the most important attributes when choosing to travel on an intercity rail, while reliability, flexibility, and convenience were ranked lower for intercity rail. Recommendations and best practices on addressing a possible gap into the first and last mile travel options for intercity rail riders as well as making parking enhancements around the stations were shared with INDOT to enhance ridership.
Losada Rojas, L.L, C. Gkartzonikas, V.D. Pyrialakou, and K. Gkritza, “Exploring Intercity Passengers’ Attitudes and Loyalty to Intercity Passenger Rail: Evidence From An On-Board Survey,” Transport Policy 73: 71–83 (2019)