High-Speed Rail Projects in the U.S.: Identifying the Elements for Success, Interim Report” Preliminary Review of Cases and Recommendations for Phase 2

de Cerreño, A.L.C.
Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management, NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, March

The goal of this study, funded by the Mineta Transportation Institute is to identify lessons learned for successfully developing and implementing HSR in the United States. There are very few broad statements that can be made of HSGT in the United States. However, two points are clear: (1) with the exception of the Northeast Corridor there has been relatively little forward movement if one looks at the number of years spent on many of these projects; and, (2) the Federal government has played and continues to play a minimal role in HSGT, generally restricting its efforts to funding pilot studies and technological research. Thus, given the early stages of these projects, “success” cannot be based on implementation. Instead, it is defined in terms of whether a given HSR project is still actively pursuing development and/or funding. Proceeding in two phases, Phase 1 constitutes a literature review following two parallel tracks: (1) an assessment of federal (and where warranted, state) legislation to determine what was intended in terms of objectives and criteria identified in the legislation; and, (2) a broader literature review that briefly assesses all HSR efforts in the United States since 1980 to determine their history and current status. This interim report is intended to outline the information collected from the second track of Phase I and to provide recommendations on which cases should be more closely examined.