Senator David Pearce Announces Findings of Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Survey

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JEFFERSON CITY — State Sen. David Pearce, R-Warrensburg, has announced the findings of a survey assessing the importance of intercity passenger rail service among students, faculty and staff of colleges and universities in close proximity to Missouri Amtrak routes. The new study, which was conducted by the University Partnerships Committee of the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission (MIPRC) from Nov. 2015 to Feb. 2016, surveyed 19,194 members of 30 universities across nine states. Three Missouri universities, including the University of Central Missouri, Fontbonne University and Truman State University, were participants in the study. The survey’s purpose was to gauge the current attitudes and knowledge college students and employees have about Midwestern Amtrak, as well as to highlight areas of improvement that can be made to the intercity rail system in the future.

“Intercity rail service is a vital transportation option for many students and college workers in Missouri and the greater Midwest, and this study will help the Commission better assess their needs and desires for the future,” Sen. Pearce said. “Some of the key findings of the survey point toward a need for improved public knowledge surrounding intercity rail, increased marketing for Amtrak’s benefits to Missouri schools and a high potential for fostering a stronger relationship between rail transportation and higher education institutions.

“The MIPRC survey showed that many students in the region rely on train travel to commute to and from their schools. It also illuminated a need for growth among students who could benefit from intercity rail service but might not be informed enough to know. Moving forward, one of MIPRC’s main goals will be to work with Midwest universities to better spread information about the financial and environmental benefits Amtrak transportation can provide.”

Some of the key results of the survey showed:

  • 68 percent of respondents believe passenger rail is important to America’s transportation future.
  • 23 percent of respondents have taken the train at least once, with 62 percent of them doing so in the past year.
  • 24 percent of the respondents who have never taken the train before said it was because they didn’t know where or how to catch a ride to/from their school – which points to the need for an future educational campaign between MIPRC and universities.
  • 5 percent of respondents rely on train service as their primary travel mode to/from school.

The results from both regular train users and those who have never ridden Amtrak to or from school will help shape MIPRC’s and Midwestern universities’ plans to promote intercity rail service to students and staff. While there is already a small group of commuters who utilize this service on a daily basis, the potential for future growth across the region is high. By helping universities spread the word about train schedules, ticket pricing, environmental benefits and more, MIPRC hopes to build a better tomorrow for the region’s rail industry.

“There are many reasons students and faculty can benefit from riding Amtrak to school every day,” Sen. Pearce said. “When compared to other forms of public transportation, it’s clear that rail can be the most comfortable, efficient and affordable option for many Missourians. Looking ahead, we need to be working in partnership with colleges across the region to spread the word about intercity rail and ensure that our students, teachers and university staff know this great travel option is available to them.”

For more information, visit the Commission’s website at