June 28, 2016

The Texas Department of Transportation in their March 21, 2013 Statewide Ridership Analysis for passenger rail brought out some interesting facts and figures. Many of which you may not have heard before.

The analysis identified numerous passenger rail corridors and showed different levels of service for each of them.  ALPS (Advanced LandTransportation Performance Simulation), a recognized planning tool was used in conjunction to model different patterns.

Here are some of the results and it shows why high speed rail can move people faster and smarter between our two mega-regions than by air, bus or car:

  • If you are flying out of Bush Interconnental Airport (IAH) the average travel time for a passenger is 40 minutes.
  • Airport arriving passengers will spend an average of 13 minutes parking and accessing the terminal. Ticketing averages 10.4 minutes. Security average time is 32.4 minutes. Gate area and boarding takes up 64.8 minutes (we hope your TSA line is shorter, your flight is on time from another city and you are not sitting in the back of the plane). That’s a total of 120.6 minutes.
  • Airport terminating passengers will spend an average of 17.6 minutes exiting the plane and the secure area of the airport. Baggage claim is pegged at 26.3 minutes. Parking and egress adds 14.5 minutes for a total of 58.4 minutes. TOTAL AIRPORT TRANSIT TIME (NOT TIME SPENT IN THE AIR): 219 minutes – that’s under 4 hours.


  • If you are a passenger at a High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail station the average travel time to the station is 26 minutes.
  • High Speed Rail passengers will spend 10 minutes parking and access to the station. Add five minutes for ticketing and security. The waiting area and boarding time is 15 minutes. That’s a total of 30 minutes.
  • Arriving High Speed Rail passengers will take 5 minutes alighting from the train. Add 5 minutes passengers through the station and another 10 minutes for parking and egress. That’s a total of 20 minutes. (Passengers carry their own bags on board and that eliminates the check in and retreival process) TOTAL HIGH SPEED RAIL TRANSIT TIME (NOT TIME ON THE TRAIN): 76 minutes


  • So to put it in perspective – without adding in the actual travel time between point A and point B – the airline passenger will spend an average of just under 4 hours in transit while the high speed rail passenger will spend a little more than 1 hour in transit.  

Those are facts and figures pulled from the TxDOT Statewide Ridership Analysis.

To add in the additional time it takes a plane to taxi, wait to take off, fly, land and taxi to the next city terminal you must build in about one hour.

  • That gives the high speed rail rider a huge transit advantage. The plane makes the hop in one hour which gives it a 30 minute advantage in actual travel time over high speed rail but adding in the transit time the TRAIN makes better use of your time on a short 240 mile hop.

If you are planning the 240 mile sojourn between Dallas and Houston by car or bus at an average speed of 65 miles per hour (doable in the country but wait till you hit north of The Woodlands and south of Dallas County – good luck!) you will spend about 4 hours behind the wheel.