Industrial Insight

We are a leader in rail, (not the high speed type…) | February 14, 2011

A Desire Named Streetcar

February 14, 2011 2:51 P.M.
By Steven F. Hayward

Interestingly, there is one U.S.–Europe comparison that they never make: The U.S. hugely outpaces Europe in one key area of rail transport, but it’s freight rather than people. This report from the European Commission (table 5.1, page 68) tells the story. Measured in ton-kilometers (i.e., one ton shipped one kilometer), the U.S. ships more than six times the amount of freight as the European Union. Freight rail in the U.S. accounts for 43 percent of total ton-kilometers shipped by all transportation sources, versus only 16.7 percent in the E.U., where they ship much more by truck, due in part to the shorter distances goods have to travel.

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