Acela

Arriving in America—a brand for the country’s first high-speed rail service.

Acela stands for speed as well as comfort and superior service. O+CO created the name and visual identity for America’s first high-speed rail service. Working with our partner IDEO, we also mapped the entire service experience and integrated the Acela brand proposition into each point of contact with travelers, from communications to onboard amenities, and from station signage and amenities to the equipment design.

Program Deliverables

Impact

“The Amtrak brand revitalization approach represents one of the most ambitious, comprehensive and systematic experiential marketing approaches I have ever seen.”

“Acela signals Amtrak’s goal of making train travel relevant to the 21st century. Acela’s sleek teal fin logo, inspired by the serenity of a sea turtle gliding through pristine water, has become a symbol of change.”

“Acela remains Amtrak's most successful service. Until last week, it was generating about $300 million a year, enough to cover its operating costs. Ridership had been increasing, and surveys showed passengers liked its quiet coaches and plush amenities.”

“Acela ridership rose 20 percent to 3.19 million passengers in the 2007 fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, Amtrak spokesman Cliff Black said. Revenue from Acela fares was $403.5 million, or 27 percent of Amtrak's ticket sales. Acela tickets can be more than twice as expensive as those for slower, so-called regional trains between Washington and New York.”

“Amtrak has come to dominate commercial travel in the corridor connecting Washington, New York and Boston, and this summer its trains are packed. A decade ago, Delta and US Airways shuttles were the preferred mode of travel between the cities. But high fares, slow airport security and frequent flight delays — along with Amtrak’s high-speed Acela trains, online ticketing and workstation amenities — have eaten away at the airlines’ share of passengers… The Acela has played a big role in attracting passengers in the Northeast. The trains averaged about 80 percent full and earned an operating profit of more than $200 million last year on nearly $500 million in revenue.”

Acela ridership graph

Amtrak’s share of the passenger air and rail market on the Northeast Corridor has grown significantly since 2000

Source: Amtrak