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A Systematic and Analytical Review of the Socioeconomic and Environmental Impact of the Deployed High-Speed Rail (HSR) Systems on the World

Mohsen Momenitabar, Zhila Dehdari Ebrahimi and Mohammad Arani

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Abstract: The installation of high-speed rail in the world during the last two decades resulted in significant socioeconomic and environmental changes. The U.S. has the longest rail network in the world, but the focus is on carrying a wide variety of loads including coal, farm crops, industrial products, commercial goods, and miscellaneous mixed shipments. Freight and passenger services in the U.S. dates to 1970, with both carried out by private railway companies. Railways were the main means of transport between cities from the late 19th century through the middle of the 20th century. However, rapid growth in production and improvements in technologies changed those dynamics. The fierce competition for comfortability and pleasantness in passenger travel and the proliferation of aviation services in the U.S. channeled federal and state budgets towards motor vehicle infrastructure, which brought demand for railroads to a halt in the 1950s. Presently, the U.S. has no high-speed trains, aside from sections of Amtrak s Acela line in the Northeast Corridor that can reach 150 mph for only 34 miles of its 457-mile span. The average speed between New York and Boston is about 65 mph. On the other hand, China has the world s fastest and largest high-speed rail network, with more than 19,000 miles, of which the vast majority was built in the past decade. Japan s bullet trains can reach nearly 200 miles per hour and dates to the 1960s. That system moved more than 9 billion people without a single passenger casualty. In this systematic review, we studied the effect of High-Speed Rail (HSR) on the U.S. and other countries including France, Japan, Germany, Italy, and China in terms of energy consumption, land use, economic development, travel behavior, time use, human health, and quality of life.

Date: 2020-03, Revised 2020-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-tre and nep-ure
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Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:2003.04452