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Survey Results

Midwest Rail Group Surveys College Students

At the May 5 Minnesota High-Speed Rail Commission meeting Dan Krom of the MnDOT Passenger Rail Office provided an update on the findings of a recent survey of universities and colleges. The study was conducted by the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Compact (MPIRC) which promotes, coordinates and supports regional improvements to passenger rail services.

In the nine states that are members of the MIPRC, 30 colleges and universities were surveyed. Three Minnesota universities were surveyed: Minnesota State – Moorhead, St. Cloud State and Concordia in St. Paul. A total of 19,100 students responded to the survey, which was taken between November 2015 and February 2016.

The survey found nearly a quarter of the participants had ridden Amtrak trains to or from school. More than half said they would be willing to take an Amtrak train to and from school if more frequent service were available. Of those surveyed, 68 percent said they consider passenger-rail service important to the United States’ transportation future.

Other interesting findings:

Of students who have ridden a train to or from their campus, 65 percent indicated that Amtrak service is an important resource for them to be able to attend school.

Among the students who had not taken a train to get to school, 44 percent said they would be willing to do so if there were stations close to their permanent residences.

Another 28 percent of participants said that if their school provided transportation to get to the nearest Amtrak station, they would be more motivated to use the trains in the future.

A focus on convenience and reliability was seen in the results. With millennials driving less, the study reported, passenger rail could provide a valuable alternative to getting to and from higher learning institutions with more options for the students.

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