High-Speed Rail Projects in the United States: Identifying the Elements for Success

de Cerreño, A.L.C. & Evans, D.M.
Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management, NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and the Mineta Transportation Institute College of Business, San Jose, State University, October 2005

For almost half a century, high-speed ground transportation (HSGT) has held the promise of fast, convenient, and environmentally sound travel for distances between 40 and 600 miles. While a number of HSGT systems have been developed and deployed in Asia and Europe, none has come close to being implemented in the United States. Yet this is not for lack of trying. There have been several efforts around the country, most of which have failed, some of which are still in the early stages, and a few of which might come to pass. The goal of this study was to identify lessons learned for successfully developing and implementing high-speed rail (HSR) in the United States. Through a broad literature review, interviews, and three specific case studies "Florida, California, and the Pacific Northwest" this study articulates those lessons and presents themes for future consideration.