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Rail Revenue Passenger-Miles

Rail Revenue Passenger-Miles

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration (government).

General

The data for rail revenue passenger-miles (RPM) are compiled from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Office of Safety. The data can be found on the FRA Office of Safety website at http://safetydata.fra.dot.gov/OfficeofSafety/, Table 1.02: Operational Data Tables. From here, one may choose individual railroad RPM data. For Transportation Services Index (TSI) purposes, we selected Amtrak (National Railroad Corporation) and Alaska Railroad Corporation. This option does not include commuter railroads. Amtrak commuter rail contract services are included under Public Transit Ridership in the TSI.

Methodology

The data provided on FRAs website is monthly with a three-month lag. Often, data up to three months earlier are revised. Data for Amtrak can also be retrieved from the Amtrak Monthly Report. The time lag for data from the Amtrak Monthly Report is approximately one month.

Data Quality Questions

Coverage/Completeness

The data are representative since it derived from a census of all railroads.

  • Is this data source a frame or sample?
    The data source includes all railroads, but only Amtrak and Alaska railroad data are used for the TSI.
  • Does the sample cover the entire frame? Or is there some group that is missing or underrepresented in the sample?
    Commuter rail, transit rail, and freight rail are included in the FRA data source, but are addressed using other databases in the TSI.

Timeliness

  • Are the data available monthly?
    Yes.
  • How soon are the data available after the month is over?
    There is a three-month lag.
  • Are the data easy to access and use?
    Yes.
  • Are the microdata available for use?
     No

Accuracy

  • Are there duplicate records?
    No.
  • Are there outliers in the data?
    No.
  • Are data missing for individual records?
    No.
  • How accurate are the key data fields?
    Prior to 1986, rail passenger car-miles were recorded and reported, rather than passenger-miles.
  • Are variances available for this data source? If so, what method was used to calculate variances?
    No.

Comparability

  • Are the data comparable over time within the data source? If not, can data be made to be comparable (i.e., combining two data series)?
    Yes, the data are comparable over time within the data source for rail passenger-miles. However, please note that prior to 1986, passenger car-miles were recorded and reported, rather than passenger-miles. Since 1986, passenger-miles have been reported.

Other Questions and Important Information

  • Is sufficient documentation available for the data source?
  • Sufficient documentation would include:
    • Data dictionary:
      Information is not available to BTS.
    • Detailed description of the methodology:
      Information is not available to BTS.
    • Operational details:
      Information is not available to BTS.
    • Estimation methods:
      Information is not available to BTS.
  • Are other sources available for the same data?
    Amtrak publishes its own RPM numbers in its Amtrak Monthly Report, which is sent to BTS.
  • Who is the contact for the data source?
    U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration, Office of Safety, http://www.fra.gov.