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The Innovative Cities Lecture Series

“Rethinking Passenger Rail Options: 19th Century Freight Lines or the Townless Highway?” presentation by Barry Gore, Transportation Planning Advocate.

AICP CM Credit #9285767

Lecture Summary:

New federal funding for intercity passenger rail brings planning to a crossroads: should investments focus on incremental ‘baby steps’ to expand service on old freight corridors or should new models be considered that utilize publicly-owned right-of-way along interstate highways? What are the safety and speed benefits of avoiding small towns on historic rail lines, and how might station locations along the ‘Townless Highway’ (Benton MacKaye 1931) be planned and accessed? Learn about innovative solutions for implementing high-speed rail around the country and ongoing discussions in Wisconsin.


Barry Gore is an urban planner and designer specializing in public transit and land use. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin Department of Landscape Architecture and has served in public sector and consulting positions. Work on transit corridors in the Twin Cities included: Hiawatha Light Rail Transit, Central Corridor LRT, Northstar commuter rail, and Riverview bus rapid transit. He also managed the Humboldt Greenway redevelopment project, worked on the Midtown Greenway rail to trails, and wrote the award winning Above The Falls riverfront plan.

His “Isthmus Ridge” concept, published in 2002, provided a new vision for the East Washington corridor in Madison. He created the Yahara Station concept in 2009 for locating Madison’s intercity passenger rail station and founded the Campaign for Yahara Station with an active group of real estate, architecture, and transit activists.

In Chicagoland, he was project manager for the Village of Niles on the region’s first suburban bus rapid transit. Metra station area plans were created for the villages of River Grove and Buffalo Grove. Mr. Gore managed plans for four stations on the Washington D.C. Metrorail system in Prince George’s County, Maryland. He created a station redesign and redevelopment concept for Rockville Station in Maryland, and led an upzoning of the Veirs Mill Road BRT corridor.

His current work is focused on BRT transit oriented development planning and regional rail planning in southeastern Wisconsin and pro bono advocacy for high speed rail in the Twin Cities to Madison to Chicago corridor.

AICP-CM credits will be awarded.

Questions, comments?

All lectures are free and open to planners, students, staff, faculty, and friends of the University. Please contact Blythe Waldbillig, Department of Urban Planning Project Assistant at