All aboard! The online Passenger Rail Study survey is closed and the results are in and indicate travelers would ride the train if service was available in the New River Valley. The region’s Metropolitan Planning Organization Technical Advisory Committee utilized Amtrak’s Station Program and Planning Guidelines to estimate a conservative 40,000 boardings/alightings annually. In order to achieve that total, the survey respondents alone would only need to choose Amtrak 1 out of every 5 trips outside of the region.
A total of 6,189 responses were recorded. Survey input reflected a potential 1 million annual trips outside of the region. Based on VDOT traffic count data, the region generates that number of trips by car alone. Meaning that only 4% of existing trips outside of the region would need to utilize Amtrak to meet the 40,000 estimate. Understanding the potential ridership is important for determining specific characteristics of a new service in the New River Valley.
The survey not only provided information about potential ridership, but also desired amenities and traveler preferences for a station. The top desired station amenity is a restroom, while charging stations for phones scored low. 75% of respondents are willing to pay more than $50 per ticket. 95% of survey respondents indicated that they would be likely to use a new NRV service. The survey consisted of 36% residents, 31% university faculty/staff (most likely residents as well), 26% students, and 7% visitors.
Next steps of the study involve conducting in-person surveys at the existing Amtrak Station in Lynchburg and Charlottesville. In addition, the Commission will continue to work with local stakeholders to evaluate potential sites for service. For further information visit: www.nrvpassengerrail.org or contact Elijah Sharp (firstname.lastname@example.org), 540-639-9313, ext. 210.