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American Public Transportation Association

 Transit News



Mantill Williams
Virginia Miller

 Nearly Two-Thirds of U.S. Travelers Will Use High-Speed Rail

 U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Announces $2.5 Billion Grants for High-Speed Rail

Today U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the distribution of $2.5 billion for high-speed rail projects nationwide, and the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) released the results of a large travel survey which shows that nearly two-thirds of adults (62 percent) said they would definitely or probably use high-speed rail service for leisure or business travel if it were an option.  The survey, among 24, 711 adults, was conducted for APTA by Synovate.  

“In most political circles, garnering nearly two-thirds support for a forward-thinking vision like high-speed rail would be considered a landslide,” said APTA President William Millar.  “We strongly support the government’s commitment to implementing high-speed rail.  It will provide more options for travelers, as well as create jobs and be a strong boost for the local economy.”

APTA proposes that Congress invest $50 billion over the next six years in high-speed rail.  The association says the investment during that time frame, along with $123 billion in public transportation investment, will help support and create 6.2 million jobs.

Convenience and saving money were key factors for whether travelers would choose high-speed rail service over other modes of transportation.  When asked how important various factors would be in choosing high-speed rail service, survey respondents ranked the top four as follows: (91%) shorter travel times compared to driving to my destination; (91%) less expensive than flying to my destination; (89%) less expensive than driving to my destination; and (85%) integration with local public transit so I can avoid use of rental cars, cabs and parking fees. 

Other factors the survey respondents ranked as important in choosing high-speed rail as a mode of travel: (80%) shorter travel times compared to flying to my destination; (79%) the experience traveling by train; (78%) opportunities during my leisure or business trip to visit another city that is linked to my destination by high-speed rail; and (75%) environmental concerns.

Synovate, a leading market research firm, conducted the travel survey for APTA among 24,711 U.S. adults in late spring.  Twenty-seven percent of the respondents said that they were not sure if they would use high-speed rail service while 11 percent said that they would definitely or probably not use the service.    


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The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of more than 1,500 public and private member organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne passenger services, and high-speed rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. More than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada are served by APTA member systems.

Synovate is a leading global market research firm. Synovate’s Travel & Leisure practice provides research expertise and client service to the travel, tourism, transportation, hospitality, and cruise industries. More information on Synovate is available at

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