- Prioritizing Safety Means Prioritizing Workforce for Rail Industry
Freight rail is delivering on its commitment to safety and its workforce through cutting-edge technology to protect and empower employees.
- Why Freight Rail’s Future Tracks with America’s Future
AAR President & CEO, Ian Jefferies discusses how 21st-century thinking and technology are transforming the industry that helped build this nation. “Freight railroads are working to meet the demands of a world that is changing not by the year, but by the minute.”
- Experts Weigh in on Governing Technology in Transportation
In a Mobility Podcast episode, leading transportation experts from the Mercatus Center, Oliver Wyman, the USDOT and the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation discuss the challenges facing freight railroads — including changes to distribution patterns and increased use of intermodal transportation — and outline how policy can and should promote innovation across the transportation industry.
- Prioritizing Safety Means Prioritizing Workforce for Rail Industry
Freight rail is delivering on its commitment to safety and its workforce through cutting-edge technology to protect and empower employees — from drones to ultrasound, smart sensors and Positive Train Control.
- AskRail App: Arming First Responders with Critical Rail Information
In the event of a rail incident, timely and accurate information is critical. No one knows this better than former Charlottesville Fire Chief Charles Werner who worked with the rail industry to develop the AskRail emergency response mobile app. “AskRail enables us to shrink the process of getting information from hours to minutes or even seconds,” says Werner.
- TECH Q&A: Big Data, Machine Learning & a Team of Jedi Masters
Technology is opening a new frontier for rail, says Norfolk Southern’s John Scheib. Full-realization of the benefits requires FRA to “reimagine possible” and “unleash a new age of innovation for railroads that will benefit our customers, the public and our national economy.”
- TECH Q&A: Embracing the Future: How Do Technologists Integrate Into Railroads?
From Big Data to automation, CSX’s Chief Information Officer, Kathleen Brandt explains how techies work alongside railroaders to enhance business operations and strengthen the entire network.
- Meeting the Demands of the Digital Age
By spending billions of dollars in private capital on infrastructure, equipment and technology, freight railroads are helping to solve a national transportation capacity crisis while keeping the economy moving.
- TTCI & Railinc: Delivering Tomorrow’s Railroads
Lisa Stabler, President of TTCI, and Allen West, President and CEO of Railinc, highlight how railroads develop and deploy high-tech tools that help make North America’s freight rail network safer than ever before.
- Today’s Railroads Can Predict the Future. Here’s How.
Using machine learning and Big Data, railroads identify patterns and predict what elements of their private, 140,000-mile network may soon need to be repaired or replaced.
- 6 Ways Freight Rail Gets Techie
The nation’s freight railroads put technology to work every day to make the network safer and more efficient.
- How Technology Drives the Future of Rail
Railroads use advanced algorithms and data analysis software to improve safety, reliability and service. Next generation automation technology will continue to reduce the impact of human error and human limitations on railroad operations, further improving safety and efficiency.
- Tech Makes Freight Rail Even Safer
Thanks to steady, substantial spending on infrastructure, equipment and technology, we are living in the safest era ever for U.S. railroads.
- Railinc & Big Data Ensure Network Efficiency
Railroads use big data to identify repairs, time deliveries and coordinate millions of railcars across a 140,000-mile network.
- Sounding the Alarm: Big Data Finds Problems Before They Happen
Data scientists analyze massive amounts of freight rail data to help prevent railroad accidents.
- The Eyes & Ears of Freight Rail
See how technologies once found only in the pages of science fiction novels help make this possible.
- Resilient Rail: How Freight Railroads Prepare For & Respond to Extreme Water
Learn how the freight rail industry prepares for flooding, hurricanes and extreme storms year-round — from water-detecting technology to real-time “Storm Information Dashboards.”
- 360 Degrees: Freight Rail’s Holistic Approach to Safety
Thanks in part to ongoing rail investments in infrastructure, operations, technology and community preparedness, recent years have been among the safest in the history of the rail industry.
- Every Week is Rail Safety Week for Freight Railroads
Freight railroads educate communities on how to stay safe near rail tracks and crossings. From virtual reality videos to national safety campaigns see how railroads are helping stop these preventable tragedies.
- Why Freight Rail is the Safest Mode for Hazmat
Through rigorous inspections and advanced technologies, more than 99.999% of all hazmat moved by rail reach its destination without a release caused by an accident.
- How I Used Freight Rail’s AskRail App
Two first responders speak to the power of the AskRail app. “Even though [I was] working with railroad representatives on the scene, the app gave us a unique level of detail with the push of a button.”
- First Responder Training at the Security & Emergency Response Center
Each year, thousands of first responders train with freight rail safety experts at the world-class Security and Emergency Response Training Center (SERTC) located at the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI).
- EXPERT INPUT: Railroad Bridges are Safe
Dr. Duane Otter, a railroad bridge engineer, explains how freight railroads keep the nation’s 61,000+ bridges safe and efficient.
- Expert Q&A: Rail is Ready for Fiercer Competition
We spoke with Patrick Lortie, transportation expert with Oliver Wyman, about how railroads can keep pace through technology and policy: “Although freight rail companies are incredibly successful today, the railroad of tomorrow is going to be vastly different. They’re absolutely on the cusp of big transformational change.”
- Freight Railroad Industry FAST Act Reauthorization Priorities
Fueled by billions of dollars in private spending on infrastructure and equipment — averaging $25 billion annually — the freight railroad industry’s top priority in FAST Act reauthorization legislation is to preserve its ability to serve its customers and compete successfully in a safe, efficient and cost-effective manner. Discover how freight rail’s six priorities will help the nation #BuildForTomorrow.
Technology & Automation
- Experts Weight in on Governing Technology in Transportation
In a recent Mobility Podcast episode, leading transportation experts from the Mercatus Center, Oliver Wyman, the USDOT and the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation discuss the challenges facing freight railroads — including changes to distribution patterns and increased use of intermodal transportation — and outline how policy can and should promote innovation across the transportation industry.
- Automation Guidance Wise to Include Railroads, But More Work Remains
AAR applauds the DOT’s recently issued guidance for automation in the transportation sector, but calls for expanding freight rail’s place in the automation discussion.
- The Wall Street Journal: American Railways Chug Toward Automation
The Wall Street Journal highlights how American freight rail companies are increasingly automating functions — which will help improve network fluidity and customer service — and that current regulations aren’t keeping pace with these technological advancements.
- Congress Should Reject Bigger Trucks
A recent poll found that 4 in 5 Americans oppose boosting truck sizes. Bigger trucks would drive more freight traffic to roads, creating gridlock and more damage to public infrastructure.
- The Real Cost of Heavier Trucks
Increasing trucks from 80,000 pounds to 91,000 pounds would further damage America’s roadways and harm the transportation partners who help keep America’s economy moving.
- The Surface Transportation Board Can Help Write Freight Rail’s Next Chapter
See how the STB can successfully streamline how rate reasonableness disputes are handled — especially for small shippers — without implementing regulations that would rewrite freight rail’s success story.
- Cost-benefit Analysis: A Data-driven Tool that Helps the STB Regulate Wisely
The AAR recently petitioned the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to use a data-driven tool known as “cost-benefit analysis” to better understand how rulemakings could affect the entire economy. See why the current forced access proposal may be a good case study.
- Smart Freight Rail Policy Spurs Economy
Microeconomist Clifford Winston urges legislators to preserve the competitive environment that has allowed railroads to operate more efficiently and significantly benefit shippers.
- Forced Access is a Bad Idea
Freight rail expert Anthony Hatch highlights how forced access would stop the nimble, market-responsive freight rail industry in its tracks.
- Partial Deregulation Continues to Transform Freight Rail
Robert Gallamore, a nationally recognized railroad expert, explains how partial deregulation saved the rail industry.
USMCA & International Trade
- Why the USMCA is Critical for Freight Railroads & Their Customers
The free flow of goods across North America without burdensome tariffs makes American businesses more competitive. USMCA is essential to ensuring seamless commerce between the U.S. and two of its largest trading partners.
- Why Freight Rail Embraces Global Trade
More than 35% of rail revenue is directly associated with international trade and about 40,000 rail jobs depend directly on international trade.
- A Copper Business Expands with Freight Rail & Trade
Freight rail supports one of the largest producers of copper in the world, which helps deliver American copper abroad, while also driving local economic benefits.
Capacity & Investment
- Freight Rail Pays For Its Own Safe, Efficient Network
AAR’s SVP of Government Affairs, Adrian Arnakis, discusses how America’s railroads — not taxpayers — invest in rail’s technologically advanced infrastructure. “The nation’s rail network is a case study for policymakers as they consider how to ensure that goods flow freely and efficiently in a way that best serves the American public.”
- Freight Rail’s Investments Generate Huge Returns for America
America’s freight rail industry is one of the most efficient transportation networks in the world, fueled by an average of $25 billion annually in private investments to maintain and upgrade the nation’s nearly 140,000-mile rail network.
- What Rail’s Private Investment Makes Possible
Balanced economic regulation allows freight railroads to privately spend billions on their network each year, helping to create innovations such as mobile apps that track customer shipments to technology that inspects the equivalent of 563,200 football fields worth of track.
- Jobs, Output & Taxes: Freight Rail’s Economic Impact
Towson University finds that Class I railroads’ operations and capital investment supported over 1.1 million jobs, $219.5 billion in economic output and $71.3 billion in wages in 2017 alone.
- UP & Intermodal Create Global Economic Hub in New Mexico
UP’s $400 million Santa Teresa intermodal facility is one of New Mexico’s largest economic development projects and drives millions in economic growth.
- From Small Towns to Global Markets: How Freight Rail Drives Economic Growth
A global marketplace and strong domestic economy are possible, in part, because of decades of private spending by American freight rail.
- Freight Rail: Moving Miles Ahead on Sustainability
Freight railroads use innovative technologies to help limit greenhouse gas emissions, increase fuel efficiency and reduce its carbon footprint, making rail the most environmentally friendly way to move freight over land.
- Freight Rail & the Greening of America
From technology that reduces idling to improved freight car design, railroads are investing in new equipment and pioneering fresh ways of efficiently running greener operations.
- Locomotive or Supercomputer? How Tech Drives Rail Efficiency
More than just brawny engines that power trains, today’s locomotives also have brains: smart sensors and computer programs that monitor and assess dozens of variables to help make freight rail more environmentally friendly and efficient than ever before.
What We Haul
- 5 Innovations that Have Strengthened Railroads’ Muscle
Putting good old American ingenuity to work, railroads deliver more cargo than ever before at rates that are among the lowest in the industrialized world.
- How Intermodal Reinvented Freight Rail
The simple breakthrough of the standardized shipping container helped launch the global economy we know today.
- Trains & Trucks: An Intermodal Partnership
The partnership of trucks, trains and cargo ships helps make America’s intermodal network the most efficient in the world.
- Preparing for the Future with Intermodal Freight Rail
See how railroads help move the goods you rely on by investing into the modernization of their intermodal networks.
- 6 Milestones of Intermodal Growth
Explore six changes within the last century that contributed to the safe, reliable and cost-effective intermodal rail network we have today.
- How Specialized Freight Cars Deliver Construction Materials
Designed to maximize efficiency, these cars help railroads deliver the materials customers need at a price that keeps them competitive.
- Freight Rail: Designed to Drive a Nation
See the critical role freight rail plays in the auto industry, including moving nearly 75% of the new cars and light trucks purchased in the U.S.
- When You Buy a Car, Think About Trains
In 2019, automakers sold 17 million vehicles in the U.S. and railroads helped; a single train can move hundreds of vehicles at once.
Rail 101 & More
- Laying Their Own Tracks: Women in Railroading
Safely and efficiently delivering for America requires a large, diverse team of roughly 140,000 people across the rail network. See how women are helping lead the charge.
- Locomotives Wear Big Sweaters: 10 Frigid Freight Rail Facts
See how freight railroads keep trains and employees safely moving during winter weather — from blizzard buses to hot technology (literally).
- The Inevitability of Change: Reflections on Two Decades Spent as “The Railroad Guy”
From hearing train whistles every day during his Pennsylvania childhood to 20 years of advancing the industry’s interest in Washington D.C., Ed Hamberger reflects on the changing face of railroads, his most memorable moments and what the future has in store.
- Railroads & the U.S. Military: Stronger Together
Railroads have been a partner in US military operations for 200+ years, from transporting troops to hiring thousands of veterans each year.
- 10 Ways Freight Rail Provides Support During Wartime
Since the Civil War, American railroads have supported U.S. combat efforts, developing the innovative tech needed to strengthen military operations.
- 5 Railroad Jobs You Never Knew You Wanted
Do you have what it takes to be a Beer Conductor?