Survey on rail and freight issues open until Nov. 11

UP train backgroundThe Iowa Department of Transportation is in the process of developing rail and freight plans designed to improve the safety and efficiency of Iowa’s transportation system and make the state a better place to live, work, and travel. All citizens are owners of Iowa’s transportation system. As an owner, we need your input to identify and evaluate Iowa’s existing systems, as well as plan for rail and freight needs over the next 25 years.

The rail and freight plans are closely related and have several intertwining activities In developing the plans, there is a natural overlap of information, data, and analysis and developing the two plans in tandem saves taxpayer dollars.

If you are interested in the future of freight and rail transportation, please participate in a brief survey. Your anonymous answers will help us as we continue developing both the state rail and freight plans. Please share the survey link with others who are interested in the future of rail and freight movement in Iowa.

Background of Iowa’s rail and freight plans

The development of a comprehensive Iowa State Rail Plan in collaboration with the implementation of the Iowa State Freight Plan offers an opportunity for the Iowa DOT to accurately define what the rail and freight system in the state looks like today and what it needs to look like in the future.

In 2009, the Iowa DOT developed a Rail Transportation Plan. The current plan is being developed using Federal Railroad Administration guidelines released in 2013. While the new plan may use some elements of the 2009 plan, the goal is to come up with a more robust document that provides comprehensive information on rail service in Iowa and will ultimately be the strategic plan for the next 25 years. The rail plan will guide the Iowa DOT in its activities on the rail system and where the rail system interacts with people and other transportation modes by:

  • Promoting access to rail transportation.
  • Helping to improve the freight railroad transportation system.
  • Supporting passenger rail service.
  • Promoting improved safety.

The Iowa State Freight Plan is the first of its kind at the department, focusing on all modes of freight movement in the state. The effort underway now will outline ways to provide a safe, efficient, and convenient freight transportation system to serve Iowa and those moving freight through the state.  The freight plan is a way to connect several different initiatives and allow all of them to move forward toward a common goal of optimal freight transportation in the state. In addition, the freight plan will guide Iowa DOT's investment decisions to maintain and improve the freight transportation system, and ultimately strengthen the state’s economy and raise the quality of life for its citizens.

Public input helped get the effort off the ground

IMG_0596On Thursday, Sept. 24, the Iowa DOT welcomed participants to a rail and freight issues-based workshop in Des Moines. Those who attended the workshop learned about topics ranging from passenger rail to safety and security of rail operations to economic and workforce development and multimodal development.

The purpose of the workshop was to introduce the details of both the state rail and freight plans and define roles in the plans’ development process. Participants engaged in activities that included identifying systems strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and giving input to validate the current state freight plan goals. The group also worked to identify additional goals for the new state freight plan.



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