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Studies: High Speed Trains

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road users disobedience
. the LC protection system does not detect the approaching train
. the gate keeper do not close the LC on time (manually controlled full barriers)
. train driver is not informed about the LC failure state
. missing train audible warning

. unprotected LC
. reduced visibility
. missing preventive information.
The World Bank has released a new study confirming that conventional analysis of the benefits for HS (High Speed) Train projects are obsolete.

Increased flow of ideas and people, emulation of newly linked economic zones are to become just as important benefits and tangible positive outcomes as traditional ones.

Its researchers argue that wider economic benefits should be examined just as the regular ones. For example, increased flow of ideas and people as well as emulation of newly linked regional economic areas.

Based on this research and other ones, the Bank has begun to pilot a methodology to evaluate wider economic development benefits for several high speed rail projects, and has found them to be significant – of the same order as direct transport benefits.

Crucially, these benefits of larger and better connected markets accrue to businesses and individuals even when they themselves do not travel as the flow of ideas and people accelerate.

The paper highlights this research and methodology and some of the policy implications to maximize these benefits in practice.

Gerald Olivier, World Bank’s Senior Transport Specialist working on the high speed rail program in China gave an example. “Look at the case of Zhengzhou on the 2,298 km Beijing to Guangzhou line opened on December 26,” he said. “In the past, in a three hour conventional train journey on this line, about three million people from Anyang, Xinxiang and Handancan reach Zhengzhou; today, with the opening of the new high speed line, this number will surge to 28 million people from eight cities.

These cities will start to work more closely together as a return trip within a day will be within reach.

The impact in terms of economic exchanges, accessibility, and productivity gains are expected to be significant, and extend beyond traditional transport savings.

“The scale and scope of the Chinese high speed rail program offer a unique opportunity to try to measure such impacts.”, says Olivier.

Of course, many of the benefits identified by the World Bank are not confined to high-speed rail investment. In the U.S., investment in conventional-speed rail and public transit –particularly long-distance trains and trains and transit systems serving small towns and rural areas—provides a wide array of benefits not currently accounted for in transportation planning.

For that reason, the work being done by the World Bank will be crucial in moving the needle on the way transportation is funded.