New Standards for Infrastructure Delivery: California High-Speed Rail

California is taking the lead in delivering on sustainable development and climate-ready infrastructure to serve the 21st century and beyond. The high-speed rail system is currently in construction and is setting a new standard for infrastructure delivery in California. For example, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) requires the cleanest tier of construction off-road equipment, clean on-road fleets, renewable fuels, recycling, and offsetting of site air quality and greenhouse gas emissions. These requirements have set a high bar for achievement in terms of costs savings, economic benefit to the local community, jobs, and environmental resource benefits. Additionally, the cross discipline adoption of sustainability for system delivery and has focused on several areas which are leading public policy. This paper describes innovations applied to the delivery of the high-speed rail system including: 100% renewable energy for operations, materials life cycle assessment (LCA) and environmental product declarations (EPDs) to optimize the selection of major materials used in construction, climate exposure analyses plus the incorporation of high-performance metrics into facility and infrastructure delivery. It examines the context of California policy and illustrates how that foundation informs: investigation into district scale infrastructure at station locations, the use of third-party surveys, and standards such as GRESB infrastructure, Envision, living buildings, EcoDistrict protocol, and LEED. It concludes with a discussion of progress following the sustainable infrastructure principles adopted by Authority leadership and presented in the initial sustainability report which followed the GRI G4 framework. The system is intended as a public investment to transform travel in the state and provide new mobility, access and economic development. At the same time, it will attract private investment and will be run by a commercial operator. Therefore, this unique delivery structure sets an important precedent for future public–private partnerships.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: pp 247-257
  • Monograph Title: International Conference on Sustainable Infrastructure 2017: Technology

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01687932
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780784481219
  • Files: TRIS, ASCE
  • Created Date: Oct 4 2018 4:42PM