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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Did Free Wi-Fi Make a Difference to Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor Service? An Evaluation of the Impact on Riders and Ridership


In November 2011, Amtrak launched free Wi-Fi service on all trains traveling the California Capitol Corridor route. Surveys of passengers found that wi-fi access has a positive impact on the expected travel frequency, especially for new riders. A discrete choice model was used to predict the choice to use the free wi-fi service; results identified demographic characteristics and other factors that indicate which passengers are more likely to use the service. Prior to installation, the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority indicated that a 1-2% increase in ridership would justify the free wi-fi. That result appears to have been met and most likely exceeded.

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