High-speed rail has been adopted throughout the world, and is now being planned and developed in the United States. Over the past 50 years, U.S. transportation spending has heavily favored the development of interstate highway and aviation systems. In the meantime, countries such as China, Japan, Spain, France, and Germany have been investing in modern, high-speed rail systems to satisfy the travel demands of their current and future generations. As the United States embarks on the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program launched in 2009, it can learn from the experiences of other countries in planning, constructing, and operating high-speed rail.
This long-term perspective, discussion of benefits, and recommendations for making high-speed rail work in the United States is presented in a new report released today by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, called "High-Speed Rail: International Lessons for U.S. Policy Makers" (PDF). Written by RPA authors Petra Todorovich, Dan Schned, and Robert Lane, the report documents lessons from over four decades of international experience in high-speed rail in Europe and Asia, applies them to the U.S. context, and recommends a fresh approach that creates new, accountable, rail management structures, brings in the private sector, and concentrates for now on California and the Northeast.