South by Southeast... It beats flying, doesn't it?

Proposed Projects


Market Research

A study to determine demand for passenger rail focused on weekend travel for business and tourism.
  • Is a weekend train viable for these cities?
  • Would a weekday commuter be reasonable?
  • Who would be the likely users?
  • What would be an appropriate price range for tickets?
  • Would an economy or a business class be more appropriate?
  • Would special events trains be profitable?

Track and Signaling System Upgrades

Tracks need to be updated to at least a class three to accommodate passenger trains travelling at standard and high speeds.
  • What is the cost for standard upgrades?
  • Can these costs be mitigated?
  • Is there an alternative method for repair or maintenance?
  • What funding opportunities are available?
  • How can faculty, students and community members contribute?

Safety Inspections

These tracks need to be operating within FRA regulations.
  • How can faculty, students and community members contribute?
  • What are the current safety issues between Savannah and Atlanta?
  • Is it possible to train students on track inspections using this corridor?

Establishing Right-of-Way

Working hand and hand with railroad corporations to develop time schedules and cooperative use of tracks.
  • What are other working public/private right-of-way agreements?
  • What public/private right-of-way agreements would work in Georgia?

Creative Business Models

In order to remain a low-cost operation, alternative business models need to be considered.
  • What low initial capital investment models exist?
  • What public/private cooperatives might provide needed resources?
  • How can we support low operations and maintenance costs?

Engine and Railroad Car Competition

University teams compete to develop efficient engines and passenger train cars for 21st Century transport needs.
  • What universities might be interested in participating in this competition?
  • How would such a competition be organized and judged?
  • Are there sponsors for such competitions?
  • Should the competition include design, construction, maintenance…?

Alternative Uses for Railroad Tracks

Many railroad tracks remain underutilized. What alternative uses for underutilized tracks exist?
  • Is it possible to develop a bicycle super highway?
  • Are underutilized tracks appropriate for pedestrians?
  • Can we adapt smaller motorized vehicles to run on underutilized tracks?
  • What other business opportunities do underutilized tracks present?

Community Interest and Involvement

One of the greatest obstacles in developing passenger rail is overcoming current transport habits.
  • What are the factors in determining means of transportation?
  • How do we address these factors to meet changing energy and environmental needs?
  • How do we attract local politicians, businesses, and community members to focus on this change?

The Last Mile

Another important issue is transportation to and from railway stations.
  • How do we ensure commuters have a viable means of transportation upon arrival at their new destination?
  • Specifically, what other transportation systems might best integrate with passenger rail between Savannah and Atlanta? 10. Station and Urban Development An effective passenger rail program must offer convenient train stations for passengers.
  • Where should stations be located?
  • What existing stations are there? Are they convenient to the passenger?
  • How might stations be developed inexpensively?
  • What other business opportunities might developed stations present?
  • How might station development be funded?
  • How can stations be maintained and operated inexpensively?
  • What other examples of effective station operations could work for Georgia?

Passenger Rail’s Cultural Impact on Georgia and the South

The development of passenger rail in the past has had a tremendous impact on Georgia and the South.  In the same way, changing social tides and historical events have had an profound influence on public rail transportation in Georgia.
  • How were the railways directly impacted by integration? 
  • Can passenger rail today be a positive force for racial equality in our state?
  • How has passenger rail affected the visual, media, and performance arts? 
  • How can visual, media, or performance arts and their link with the railroad be included in the design and operation of new railway cars or in the urban development around rail stations?
  • Has passenger rail had an effect on our military services?  Can it benefit our military today?
  • What are some of the historical events that have shaped, or have occurred as a result of passenger rail?
 

Funding for Passenger Rail in Georgia

The cost for developing passenger rail in Georgia is substantial.  South by Southeast hopes to be creative in its funding sources, and stresses a low-cost, high-resource approach to the creation of rail.  One of the greatest resources available is the human mind, drive, and ability.
  • Are there public/private funding opportunities for this passenger rail line?
  • Are there available state, federal, or private grants for South by Southeast as a whole or individual research projects in this feasibility study?
  • Can funding for South by Southeast be pursued under an umbrella national organization?
  • What are alternative, creative solutions to some of the money problems in developing passenger rail? 
  • How can costs be cut, without affecting safety or quality of the rail line?

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