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Results of the 2016 Hiawatha Service Passenger Survey

[+] Author Affiliations
Benjamin R. Sperry, Tyler Collins

Ohio University, Athens, OH

Paper No. JRC2017-2273, pp. V001T05A001; 10 pages
  • 2017 Joint Rail Conference
  • 2017 Joint Rail Conference
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, April 4–7, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: Rail Transportation Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5071-8
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


The Hiawatha Service is an Amtrak intercity passenger rail service that operates the 90-mile route between Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Chicago, Illinois. As part of its management and oversight role for the route, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) routinely conducts surveys of passengers traveling on the Hiawatha Service. The most recent survey was conducted in May 2016. This paper reports a summary of the key findings from the 2016 Hiawatha Service passenger survey. Analysis of more than 2,400 surveys reveals significant details of the travel behavior and demographic profile characteristics of Hiawatha Service passengers. A majority of passengers on weekday trains are traveling for work commute or business-related purposes while a majority of weekend passenger trips are leisure or personal trips. Approximately 70 percent of passengers would drive if the Hiawatha Service were not available, indicating that the train has a meaningful impact on highway congestion. Additional details on passenger motivations for using rail and the importance of on-board Wi-Fi service are also provided. Comparison of the results from 2016 with previous surveys conducted in 2002/2003, 2005, and 2011 demonstrates the role of the Hiawatha Service in the Milwaukee-Chicago travel corridor.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME



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