Perceptions of service quality of rural rail branchlines: a case study of southeast Benton County Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_projects/jd472x25j

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  • American railroads have faced a declining share of freight traffic relative to other modes. Although a variety of reasons have been identified for this decline, most experts agree that a contributing problem is that the rail system is overdeveloped with unprofitable branchlines. Many economic models have been utilized to analyze relative branchline value, but the literature is insufficient in defining quality of service from the user viewpoint. The principal objective of this paper is to determine the rail service needs of shippers on rural branchlines, using a segment of the West Side Branchline located in Southeast Benton County, Oregon as a case study. Personal interviews were conducted with the shippers on this rural branchline to identify rail service attributes and deficiencies in meeting the transport requirements of various resource commodities, particularly agricultural products, wood products and Christmas trees. Several techniques were employed to compare and interpret the responses of the shippers. A "trade-off analysis" by monotone analysis of variance, was used experimentally in this study and proved to be a useful technique in quantifying judgemental data. It was found that shippers of like commodities expressed similar preferences regarding service needs, often in contradiction to the findings of other studies. Overall rates, total transit time and car availability were of highest concern to most shippers.
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