Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee Commuter Rail Alternatives Analysis

Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission

Objective

Conduct a detailed planning study of an extension of the commuter rail service from Kenosha to Milwaukee along the Union Pacific North Line. Restoration of service in this corridor is intended to improve mobility and access, increase transit use, enhance access to employment, and contribute to desirable economic and community development in Wisconsin’s most densely populated area.

Our Approach

For the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, Cambridge Systematics, as part of a team, played a key role in the draft environmental impact statement and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) New Starts application phases of the study. Tasks included:

  • Leading the market analysis task that quantified the existing and projected patterns of population and employment and the work travel patterns in the Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee (KRM) corridor within Wisconsin and between Wisconsin and Illinois.
  • Leading the travel demand forecasting task by developing a single model for the KRM corridor between Milwaukee and Chicago and applying the model to forecast base- and future-year demand for rail and bus alternatives, in accordance with FTA requirements.
  • Conducting financial analysis of the project, evaluating alternative revenue mechanisms, and developing a financial plan for the project demonstrating capacity to undertake the rail investment.
  • Compiling all the information needed and preparing a New Starts submittal for approval by FTA to initiate preliminary engineering on the project.

Project Results

FTA approval was received of the modeling approach developed for forecasting demand in this intercity rail corridor. A new revenue source to pay for the KRM investment was identified and approved.

An application was submitted to the FTA requesting permission to initiate preliminary engineering for a KRM commuter rail line as part of the FTA’s discretionary New Starts funding program.