On a busy afternoon at New York's Pennsylvania Station, passengers rush down the long corridor leading to the Amtrak waiting room, trailing bags and suitcases, and stopping to check the train schedules.

A middle-aged man wearing a beige windbreaker and black utility glasses parks a mountain of green bags in front of a kiosk that looks like an automated teller machine. He is oblivious to the baffling messages it flashes:

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.