New High Speed Rail Services in the United States: Lessons from Spain

In February, 2009, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), Congress allocated 8 billion dollars to be granted to states for intercity rail projects, with priority to projects that support the development of intercity high speed service. Until now, high-speed rail in the United States has been reduced to Amtrak´s Acela Express Service, which runs the Northeast Corridor (from Boston to Washington D.C.) at speeds averaging 110 kilometers/hour (km/hr) for the entire distance but briefly reaching 240 km/hr at times. On the other side of the Atlantic, the proliferation of new high-speed rail lines in Europe during the last 20 years permits links between cities in conditions hitherto unimaginable, with very high levels of service, speeds of between 200 and 300 km/hr and convenient fare payment for the riding public. Firstly, this paper clarifies the concept of high-speed rail service in order to compare the European definition of this transport system with the recent U.S. classification of a high speed service. Secondly, the authors analyze what can be learned from the fifteen year-long Spanish experience to be applied to the American context, in terms of impacts on mobility generated by a new infrastructure. In this way, the main published research works, using the first Spanish high-speed railway line as an observatory of the impacts on mobility, are summarized. Finally, some recommendations are indicated for the future implementation of this new transport infrastructure in the United States.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: DVD
  • Features: Figures; Maps; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 17p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 89th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers DVD

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01157088
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 10-2630
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Jan 25 2010 11:16AM