High-Speed Rail: Coming to a Corridor Near You?

This article provides a thorough overview of the state of high-speed rail in the United States. The author describes the differences between “true” high-speed rail as implemented in Europe and Asia, where trains reach speeds in excess of 200 mph, compared to regional high-speed rail with somewhat slower speeds ranging between 110 and 150 mph, and incremental or emerging high-speed rail which includes passenger train speeds up to 110 mph. He lists the available technology, ranging from magnetic levitation and monorail to the traditional “steel-wheel-on-steel-rail,” and describes the important role of tilt technology in reducing travel times. Challenges to high-speed rail are considerable: they include “civil speed restrictions,” such as existing bridges, grade crossings, sharp curves or available rights of way, that will reduce speeds considerably when entering dense urban areas; placement of stations, a greater number of which will add more riders, but slow down the trains’ ability to get them places faster; and the importance of reliability—even more than speed—to business commuters. He concludes with a rundown on the status of the federal government’s role and funding in high-speed rail.


  • English

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01149121
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: UC Berkeley Transportation Library
  • Files: BTRIS, TRIS
  • Created Date: Jan 21 2010 7:36PM