Ridership studies for the proposed Florida high speed rail system

Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Civil Engineering

First Advisor's Name

L. David Shen

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Ton-Lo Wang

Third Advisor's Name

John C. Goodknight


High speed trains, Florida, Choice of transportation, Forecasting, Mathematical models

Date of Defense



Florida, the fourth largest and sunshine state, is growing at the rate of 800 new residents daily.!! By the year 2000 the population is estimated to be 16 Million, and the annual tourists at 80 Million, generating 40 Million trips.

The proposed High Speed Rail will connect Miami and West Palm Beach to Orlando and Tampa. This 325-mile corridor represents 70 % of all the "Socio-Economic Resources" of the whole of Florida and the trend will continue well into the next century. The Miami-Orlando ride will reduce to 2 hours speeding at up to 150 mph. It will be operational by 1995 and the system is estimated to cost 4.6 Billion Dollars.

One of the major problems encountered by the new High Speed Rail (HSR) is the "RIDERSHIP FORECASTING," In the United States there is a lack of current information about the Total Volume of Intercity Trips and the Specific Characteristics of the Trips that determines a willingness to use HSR. The Quality, Comprehensiveness, and Acceptability, by the forecasts must be sufficient to generate Public Support, Confidence, and Response for the Implementation of HSR.

The THESIS discusses the various Ridership Forecasting Techniques and chooses the “Most Suitable Model” applicable to conditions in South and Central Florida.

A “Model Choice Based Model” is selected called, “THE LOGIT FUNCTION”, which takes into account, the Floridian Choice of available Travel Modes, and the Factors Affecting the Manner of the “Decision making Process”, in Favour of a Particular Mode. Evaluating Business and Non-Business Travel for the Internal Trips, (including the Induced Demand and the Short Trips) and the External Trips. The External and Short Trips were Not considered by Previous Studies. The standard guidelines for “Revenue and Ridership Forecasting,” by High Speed Rail Association are closely followed in this Study. Due consideration is also given to Socio-Economic data involving population, wealth, average per capita income, number of families, size of labor force, number of hotel / motel rooms and college enrollment. A Survey was carried out, to collect the data and to test the Sensitivity, under given set of conditions and scenarios.

The studies conclude that HSR is a Feasible Project and by the year 2000, the Ridership will be 3.8 Million Annual Trips. The future studies will continue to improve the results, as an individual’s attitude and response towards HSR Travel becomes better known and recorded in Florida



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