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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Metrics and Minimum Standards for Intercity Passenger Rail Service

On November 16, 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) published the final rule in the Federal Register for measuring the performance and service quality of intercity passenger train operations.  The performance and service quality metrics relate to on-time performance and train delays, customer service, and financial and public benefits.  The final rule requires Amtrak and its host railroads to certify Amtrak schedules, and sets an on-time performance minimum standard of 80% for any two consecutive calendar quarters.  Other metrics that FRA defines in the final rule include ridership, train delays, station performance, and host running time. The final rule gives customers, Amtrak, its service providers, FRA, and others a common tool to help objectively gauge intercity passenger train travel.

As part of the effort to develop this rule, FRA and Amtrak consulted with many stakeholders, including each of the Class I railroads that host Amtrak trains; states; Amtrak employee labor organizations; an advocacy group representing Amtrak passengers; and the Surface Transportation Board.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) was published in the Federal Register on March 31, 2020. The 60-day comment period ended on June 1, 2020.


November 16, 2020 Press Release

Telephonic Public Hearing

FRA held a telephonic public hearing on April 30, 2020, to provide members of the public an opportunity to provide oral comments on the proposed rule

Meeting Materials:
FRA Metrics and Standards Public Hearing – Overview and Participant Instructions
FRA Metrics and Standards Public Hearing – Audio Recording
FRA Metrics and Standards Public Hearing – Written Transcript
FRA Metrics and Standards Public Hearing – Combined Written Statements
Supplementary Materials from CN – Amtrak Routes on CN
Supplementary Materials from Virgil Payne 

For further information, please contact:

Kristin Ferriter
Transportation Industry Analyst
(202) 493-0197