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Using intercity commuter rail and metropolitan transit, the Ohio Higher Education Rail Network (OHERN) connects all public and private colleges and universities into a single, statewide transportation system.

Founding Principle

The OHERN concept grew from the belief that a close, interdependent relationship between higher education and transportation would create new and currently undetected opportunities for the mobilization of social and economic capital.

Through the payment of a small fee by students, faculty and staff, colleges and universities could largely pay for and create their own statewide network of commuter trains. 

A higher education funded transportation network would free state taxpayers of the obligation to subsidize this new system, yet provide taxpayers with the benefits of lower student costs, mobility choices for seniors and the disabled, an improved state economy due to more jobs, commercial redevelopment and market expansion, revitalization of rural communities as a result of new rail service to small towns and cities, reduction in fuel consumption, a cleaner environment, improved sustainability, more sharing of resources and collaboration among schools, and an Ohio university system unique among its peers.


The OHERN Institute’s mission is the enhancement of the state’s university system through research, education and advocation for the development of a passenger rail and transit system for higher education.

The OHERN Plan intends for its system to be part of a larger multimodal push to coordinate local and regional transportation systems by linking up with bikeways, taxi service, commercial bus systems, air travel and AMTRAK services.

By its very nature, the OHERN Plan links small towns and cities to the large metropolitan areas in the state, helping preserve Ohio’s rural and farm communities by providing citizens in those towns with more access to essential services, new economic opportunities and a low cost transportation service.

The system’s funding comes largely from a modest fee paid each semester by all students, faculty and staff at participating schools.  For the period of the fee, individuals at participating colleges and universities obtain unlimited travel, seven days a week, throughout the system.



             OHERN Institute  •  Bowling Green, Ohio 43402  •  A Research Division of All Aboard Ohio