The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) released its final 2018 State Rail Plan on Sept. 10, which officials said will provide a vision for state rail that aims to boost the economy, help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve safety statewide during the next two decades.
“Rail is a key part of the solution for addressing California’s transportation challenges,” said Laurie Berman, director, Caltrans. “In this Rail Plan, we lay out the goals and investment strategies necessary in both the short and long-term for improving access, mobility and efficiency for both our passenger and freight rail systems, while also making a major contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions related to the transportation sector.”
With aims to boost passenger rail travel by 92 million passenger miles per day, the new plan presents an outline for an integrated system that will allow passengers to transfer from local transit services to regional, intercity and future high-speed rail options.
The outcomes described in the plan are intended to help the state achieve its emission reduction targets, boost the state economy and possibly eliminate 250 fatalities and 19,000 transportation-related injuries per year by 2040, Caltrans said.
“The passenger vision will create a coordinated, statewide travel system to enhance multimodal access for residents across the state,” the agency said.
The plan is expected to bring about a more seamless commuting experience, improve the comfort, cleanliness and safety of trains, and enable quicker, more efficient transfers for commuted at hub stations.
Caltrans also said the freight plan includes a customer-focused system that aims to eliminate rail freight bottlenecks on transcontinental trade corridors by investing in rail freight capacity and passenger improvements that support rail freight movement.
The freight component also supports shortline enhancements, plans for grade-crossing improvements at a corridor-level and integrating as much service as possible.
Caltrans said the agency worked diligently with state, regional and local partners to establish a vision that will boost efficiencies and connectivity throughout the state.
The Rail Plan is available here.