Oregon.gov

Welcome

The Oregon Department of Transportation is studying ways to improve inter-city passenger rail service between the Portland-Vancouver, Wash. urban area and the Eugene-Springfield urban area.

This past spring, ODOT used public input as we developed preliminary rail route alternatives, and has completed an evaluation of these alternatives. This is an important time for you to weigh in on the project. Your input will be used to help the Leadership Council make a recommendation on which rail route alternatives should receive more detailed study in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

Although we are no longer accepting comments through this online open house, you are welcome to submit comments through our regular comment form.

Video: 47 sec

This interactive tool includes ten pages where you can learn more about the project and provide your comments. We invite you to explore this information and give us your feedback.

Open House Stations

Find out more about the project, the schedule, and how it will follow a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.
Read the project goals and objectives, which provide the foundation for evaluating the preliminary alternatives.
Learn about how the corridor concepts were evaluated and refined into the preliminary alternatives.
Review the screening results of two additional corridor concepts.
Learn about the preliminary alternatives evaluation results. The alternatives were evaluated in three sections (A, B, and C).
Learn more about what is considered when selecting a station location.
Learn how potential rail route alternatives will be further narrowed, and how decisions will be made.

Introduction

The project is studying options to improve passenger rail service between Eugene-Springfield and Portland-Vancouver, WA.

Open gallery full-screen Use the mouse wheel to pan and zoom, or pinch and swipe on touch-enabled devices.
Close
  • Anticipated Study Schedule

    Anticipated Study Schedule

  • Oregon Passenger Rail and NEPA

    Oregon Passenger Rail and NEPA

Study Area Map

The project will study options to improve passenger rail service between Eugene-Springfield and Portland-Vancouver, Wash. This area is part of the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor, which extends from Eugene, OR to Vancouver, BC. It is designated as a regional high speed rail corridor, which means planning for top speeds of 90-125 mph.

The project team is conducting a National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) environmental review process, which will make decisions on:

  • How frequent and fast rail service should be.
  • What rail route should be used.
  • What kinds of technology should be used.
  • Where stations should be located.
  • Whether it should be different than what exists today.

Goals and Objectives

The goals and objectives were used to create criteria to evaluate the preliminary alternatives. They were developed based on input from the public, stakeholders and the Leadership Council.

Open gallery full-screen Use the mouse wheel to pan and zoom, or pinch and swipe on touch-enabled devices.
Close
  • Project Purpose

    Project Purpose

  • Project Need

    Project Need

Project Purpose and Need

The Purpose and Need statement is the foundation of this study. A rail route alternative must meet the Purpose and Need statement to be further evaluated. Earlier this year, the project team “screened” a broad range of rail route alignment options called corridor concepts against the Purpose and Need. We presented those results to the public and to the project committees. Corridor concepts that did not pass did not move forward for further evaluation. The corridor concepts that did pass screening were refined into a set of preliminary alternatives which were then evaluated using the project goals and objectives.

Goals and Objectives

The goals and objectives provide the basis for evaluation of the preliminary rail route alternatives. As you’ll see later in this online open house, preliminary alternatives were scored on how well they meet the goals and objectives.

Goal 1: Improve passenger rail mobility and accessibility to communities in the Willamette Valley.

Objectives:

  • 1A - Provide a viable alternative to auto, air, and bus travel between Eugene and Vancouver, WA.
  • 1B - Provide reliable and frequent passenger rail service.
  • 1C - Support multimodal integration at each passenger rail station.
  • 1D - Allow for future passenger rail improvements, including higher speeds.

Goal 2: Protect freight-rail capacity and investments in the corridor, and maintain safety.

Objectives:

  • 2A - Does not increase conflicts between passenger rail or freight rail and vehicles.
  • 2B - Protect freight-rail carrying capability.

Goal 3: Plan, design, implement, maintain, and operate a cost-effective project.

Objectives:

  • 3A - Develop a strategy that can be reasonably funded and leveraged with range of investment tools for construction and operation.
  • 3B - Serve the maximum number of people with every dollar invested.

Goal 4: Provide an affordable and equitable travel alternative.

Objectives:

  • 4A - Provide a viable and affordable alternative for travelers.
  • 4B - Provide equitable investments and service, with consideration to race/ethnicity and income.

Goal 5: Be compatible with passenger rail investments planned in Washington State.

Objective:

  • 5A - Provide passenger rail service to meet the existing and future passenger rail demand for an interconnected system in the Pacific Northwest High Speed Rail corridor.

Goal 6: Promote community health and quality of life for communities along the corridor.

Objectives:

  • 6A - Benefit communities within the corridor.
  • 6B - Minimize negative impacts to communities along the corridor.

Goal 7: Protect and preserve the existing natural and built environment.

Objectives:

  • 7A - Support Oregon’s commitment to the preservation of resource lands and local land use and transportation planning.
  • 7B - Reduce greenhouse gas emissions in support of national and state policies to slow climate change.
  • 7C - Avoid and minimize impacts to the natural environment and cultural resources.

Evaluation Process

This page explains how initial ideas for rail route alternatives were developed into preliminary alternatives.

In the summer and fall of 2012, ODOT asked the public to weigh in on what passenger rail should look like in the Willamette Valley. We received over 800 comments with ideas for station locations, alignment options, and ways to improve service.

The project team created a broad range of "corridor concepts" - ideas for rail routes based on public input. Corridor concepts were screened against the project Purpose and Need. Those that passed screening were refined into a set of preliminary alternatives.

This summer, the project team evaluated the preliminary alternatives using criteria based on the project goals and objectives. We are sharing those results with you now.

50% Complete

Screening

The Leadership Council recommended screening out several corridor concepts in January 2013. Additional work was needed to screen two additional concepts – learn about these concepts and the screening results below.

(Video: 8 min)
Open gallery full-screen Use the mouse wheel to pan and zoom, or pinch and swipe on touch-enabled devices.
Close
  • Tunnel in Southwest Portland

    Tunnel in Southwest Portland

  • Cascadia High Speed Rail Concept

    Cascadia High Speed Rail Concept

Screening

Tunnel in Southwest Portland

  • Why was this screened? More information has been developed on costs that affect the screening discussion.
  • Recommendation: The project team recommends screening out this concept because it is not cost-effective. It would also cause negative effects from the portal and access shafts, spoil excavation and disposal; and potential park and recreational impacts.
  • Read the Tunnel in Southwest Portland Screening Memo

Cascadia High Speed Rail

  • Why was this screened?Stakeholders alerted the project team that the Red (Interstate 5) preliminary alternative does not capture specifics of the Cascadia High Speed Rail concept.
  • Recommendation: The project team recommends screening out this concept because it uses incompatible vehicle technology (full electric). It also would cause substantial community and environmental impacts in the Portland urban area.
  • Read the Cascadia High Speed Rail Screening Memo

Preliminary Alternatives

The following preliminary alternatives and options were evaluated using the project goals and objectives. Estimated costs and travel times are included for each of the preliminary alternatives.

Due to the size of the overall corridor and varying options throughout the corridor, the project team divided the corridor into three sections for the alternatives evaluation process. To read a detailed memo about the evaluation results, read the Alternatives Evaluation Results Memorandum.

About cost estimates and estimated travel times

  • Cost estimates are planning-level construction and engineering estimates and do not include ongoing operations or maintenance costs. Costs are in 2013 dollars.
  • Estimated travel times assume stops at five stations (same as existing service). Each additional stop would add time. The current scheduled travel time from Portland to Eugene is 2 hr, 35 min.

Section C

(N. of Wilsonville to Vancouver, Wash.)

  • Range of Cost Estimates - $1 billion to $3.5 billion
  • Range of Travel Time Estimates - 35 to 55 minutes, plus stop in Portland
    (Travel time from N. of Wilsonville to Portland is 25 to 35 minutes, and from Portland to Vancouver, Wash. is 10 to 20 minutes. The current dwell time in Portland is approx. 40 minutes.)

Section B

(N. of Albany to N. of Wilsonville)

  • Range of Cost Estimates - $1 billion to $2 billion
  • Range of Travel Time Estimates - 40 to 60 minutes

Section A

(Eugene-Springfield to N. of Albany)

  • Range of Cost Estimates - $1 billion to $1.5 billion
  • Range of Travel Time Estimates - 35 to 55 minutes
Map of Preliminary Alternatives in Three Sections
Map of Preliminary Alternatives in Three Sections

Evaluation Results


Section A - Eugene-Springfield to N. of Albany

Each of the preliminary alternatives in Section A were evaluated using the goals and objectives. The Evaluation Results chart below shows how well each alternative did in terms of meeting the goals and objectives. The Performance/Cost Comparison chart compares the score of each alternative to cost.

(Video: 12 min 28 sec)

Scores

Higher score means that the alternative performs better in meeting the goals and objectives

Preliminary Alternatives - Section A

Performance/Cost Comparison

Larger circles indicate a better score to cost ratio.

Section A - Performance to Cost Comparison

Key Findings

Blue

Performs well in Goal 3:

  • Can be phased over time
  • Has the lowest cost

Red

Performs well in Goals 1 and 2:

  • Shortest travel time
  • Low number of at-grade crossings
  • Fewer freight conflicts

Purple

Does not perform as well as blue or red

Yellow

Does not perform well in part due to:

  • Has highest number of at-grade rail crossings
  • Higher cost estimates compared to the other alternatives
  • Limited ability to phase construction

Section B - N. of Albany to N. of Wilsonville

Each of the preliminary alternatives in Section B were evaluated using the goals and objectives. The Evaluation Results chart below shows how well each alternative did in terms of meeting the goals and objectives. The Performance/Cost Comparison chart compares the score of each alternative to cost.

For a staff-lead explanation of Section B evaluation results, watch the optional video:

(Video: 5 min 38 sec)

Score

Higher score means that the alternative performs better in meeting the goals and objectives

Preliminary Alternatives - Section B

Performance/Cost Comparison

(Larger circles indicate a better score to cost ratio.)

Section B - Performance to Cost Comparison

Key Findings

Blue

Performs well in Goal 3:

  • Can be phased over time
  • Has the lowest cost
  • Parish Gap alternative operates the same as main blue option but costs more

Red

Performs well in Goals 1 and 2:

  • Shortest travel time
  • Low number of at-grade crossings
  • Fewer freight conflicts

Performs poorly in Goal 3 (cost effectiveness)

Purple

Wilsonville option performs the best for purple - performs better under Goals 3 (mobility) and 7 (environment)

Section C - N. of Wilsonville to Vancouver, Wash.

Each of the preliminary alternatives in Section C were evaluated using the goals and objectives. The Evaluation Results chart below shows how well each alternative did in terms of meeting the goals and objectives. The Performance/Cost Comparison chart compares the score of each alternative to cost.

For a staff-lead explanation of Section C evaluation results, watch the optional video to the right.

(Video: 4 min 48 sec)

Score

Higher score means that the alternative performs better in meeting the goals and objectives

Preliminary Alternatives - Section C

Performance/Cost Comparison

(Larger circles indicate a better score to cost ratio.)

Section C - Performance to Cost Comparison

Key Findings

Blue

  • Performs better than red alternatives primarily due to cost and ability to phase improvements (Goal 3)

Blue (Eastside Options 1 and 2)

  • Performs better than red alternatives primarily due to cost and ability to phase improvements (Goal 3)

Red

  • Does not perform well in Goals 1 and 2 (mobility and freight) like in other sections
  • Red eastside options are more expensive and do not improve performance as compared to the primary red alternative
75% Complete

Station Areas

Learn more about what is considered when selecting a station location.

Use the mouse wheel to pan and zoom, or pinch and swipe on touch-enabled devices.

Population Density

Close
  • Population Density

    Population Density

Evaluation Framework

Potential stations were proposed by members of the public during public outreach in the fall of 2012. The project team evaluated existing and potential station locations to help determine which communities have the most advantageous factors to support a rail station and to help fulfill the project goals and objectives. Unlike light rail or commuter rail service, intercity passenger rail has fewer stops, so that it can provide faster intercity connectivity. Therefore, careful consideration of each station location is essential to making sure that each station located along the rail line provides intercity mobility, meets service targets for travel time, and is well integrated into the local urban transportation network.

Two main questions were asked for each existing and potential station location:

  • Does the station location have the existing or potential travel market to support a station? If so, does it provide an operational benefit or impact on the rail corridor connecting other cities and regions?
  • Is the station community a suitable location for a station because it has high employment and/or residential densities and key attractors, and offers interconnectivity with nearby local transit and a consistent, connected pedestrian and bicycle network?

Ridership Information

Potential market demand is a key factor in determining station locations and investment decisions. The charts below show how many people board and disembark at current stations, as well as ridership numbers in the major segments of the Cascades corridor.

88% Complete

Next Steps

The next project milestone is in December 2013 – learn more about how the study is progressing.

Use the mouse wheel to pan and zoom, or pinch and swipe on touch-enabled devices.

Narrowing Alternatives

Close
  • Narrowing Alternatives

    Narrowing Alternatives

On December 17, 2013 the Leadership Council will be asked to make a recommendation on which preliminary alternatives should be forwarded for further study in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. It is important that we receive all public feedback by November 18 so that it can be compiled and presented to the Leadership Council before their deliberations.

Ultimately, the Federal Railroad Administration will decide which of the preliminary alternatives should be further studied.

100% Complete