Journal of Transportation Management


Despite the fact that railroads are an important part of the U.S. economy, the number of rail carriers and miles of rail lines have been declining. The resulting lack of transportation alternatives could have a negative impact on local manufacturing. This study examined the effects of rail abandonment in Arkansas between 1980 and 2000 by comparing measures related to manufacturing in counties that did not have or had lost some rail service with those in counties that had rail service and had not lost any. The analysis revealed no meaningful differences, suggesting the lack of any adverse economic impacts due to rail abandonment. The findings provide important insights for federal, state, and local policymakers and economic development officials; and for railroad economic development, government affairs, and strategic planning management.