Integrating High Speed Rail into North America's Next Mobility Transition

Perl, Anthony
RCWP 10-008 June 2010

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has opened a window for implementing high-speed passenger rail operations in the U.S.  Because North America had never pursued high-speed rail as a national transportation priority, the planning framework for designing such services and linking them to the national transportation system was never created. An intermodal integration strategy will thus have to be developed in parallel with the designs for new high-speed train services, if these projects are to achieve their potential. Connecting these new high-speed passenger rail routes to airport, highway, and transit infrastructure and integrating train operations with aviation, transit and vehicular travel will facilitate future use of high-speed trains and enable high-speed rail supportive land uses to evolve. But designing tomorrow’s high-speed rail to fit into today’s air and surface transportation network would yield suboptimal results. A successful intermodal integration plan for high-speed rail will need to anticipate evolution in air and surface transportation modes that will adapt to the energy and climate challenges shaping future mobility.