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Journal of Advanced Transportation
Volume 2019, Article ID 4364162, 12 pages
Research Article

Cost-Effective, Time-Efficient Passenger Rail System for the Eastern United States

Mechanical Engineering and Energy Processes Department at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to James Mathias; ude.uis@saihtam

Received 16 April 2019; Accepted 13 June 2019; Published 8 July 2019

Academic Editor: Rakesh Mishra

Copyright © 2019 James Mathias and Dal Hyung Kim. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A program was developed using a genetic algorithm and automated lookup features to design an efficient passenger rail system for the eastern-half of the United States connecting large cities, metropolitan populations greater than two million, with overnight rail service. The results of the program predicted a passenger starting at the farthest point of the system boards the train at 16:02 on average and arrives at a different point of the system at 07:57 on average the following day, assuming the train travels an average speed of 70 mph. The design used actual distances by train track where possible. The system was modeled with six trains that meet at a hub and exchange passengers and continue on to their destination. The optimal solution had a total one-way minimum distance of 4334 km (2693 miles). Assuming the same ridership that currently exists on a popular train route, ticket prices would average $62 (USD) for a one-way ticket. For this system to be feasible, the government would need to own or lease one set of tracks for all the routes determined, build a hub for passengers to transfer trains near Charleston, WV, and ensure the trains are unimpeded by other trains. Installing tracks that go around cities that the trains do not stop at would be a great benefit also. With advances in communication, GPS, and train control technology, this article points out the benefits of publically available tracks to form a transportation network similar to that found in road, air, and water traffic.