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土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

Taiwan High Speed Rail 1、 Introduction

H

igh speed rail is also known as HSR. The first HSR in the world was built by Japan in 1964 which was the newly developed 0 series Shinkansen. The purpose of HSR was to promote regional prosperity, transportation convenience, and increase indstrial and commercial development. Japanese government at the time expected HSR to move the industrial economy, social culture and life style towards a whole new direction. Since HSR, the convenience of life was greatly improved in Japan; it also became the reference model for Taiwan to develop its own high speed rail. Convenient and fast transportation can move the national economy and promote regional resources communication, as well as shorten the distance between people. So, “how fast should a railroad operates to be justified as high speed rail?” According to the UIC (International Union of Railways) definition, high speed rail refers to traffic operational system with maximum speed over 200km per hour. Current countries in the world that own HSR are Japan (Shinkansen), France (TGV), Germany (ICE), Spain (AVE), Italy (ETR), Korea (KTX), etc. Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) began operation on January 5th 2007 and the maximum operational speed reached 300km/hr. THSR relieves the traffic jam problem in the western corridor of Taiwan; and similar as Shinkansen in Japan, the high speed transportation shortens the distance between north and │臺灣高鐵│Taiwan high speed rail│

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土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

south. Whether holiday travels, business trips or returning home for visit, THSR takes away the painstaking transportation and replaces with easy and comfortable way of travel. HSR is the modern inland transportation with speed next to airplane. The construction of THSR makes Taiwan transportation development catching up with the world technology, and entering the list of countries with HSR.

Photo 1. 0 series Shinkansen of Japan that went into operation in 1964 was the first HSR.

Photo 2. Taiwan High Speed Rail that went into operation in 2007 has shortened the distance between north and south in Taiwan.

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土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

Taipei to Kaohsiung Provincial Highway Highway Taiwan Railroad Airplane Taiwan High Taiwan HighSpeed SpeedRail Rail

*under normal traffic condition

Photo 3. It takes only 90 minutes to travel from Taipei to Kaohsiung with THSR.

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土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

Photo 4. THSR creates a new living style for the Taiwanese.

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The total length of THSR is 345km with 8 stations: Taipei, Banciao, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Taichung, Chiayi, Tainan, and Zuoying. In the future, four more stations Nangang, Miaoli, Chunhua and Yunlin will join for service. A maintenance station is set on Yanchao District in Kaohsiung City, and maintenance bases are distributed in Lioujia, Wurih, Taibao, and Zuoying. Each HSR train consists of 12 cars (one business car and 11 standard cars) as it uses the

Photo 5. Stations comparison between Taiwan High Speed Rail and Taiwan Rail.

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土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

700T model train (full length at 304m) of Japan Shinkansen. Each car is formed by integral duel layer aluminum alloy. The early models of Shinkansen used steel body; and now the aluminum alloy body is the technical trend of the high speed rail. Safety equipment wise, there are automatic passenger train control system; passenger emergency communication system; emergency ventilation and lighting system; crashworthiness design, etc. In addition to speed, passenger safety is also very important to the design of high speed rail. • • •

12 coaches 1 business ,11 standard class 989 passenger seats

Photo 6. Taiwan High Speed Rail adopts 700T model of Japan Shinkansen.

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It took 6 years to build the THSR, and it was the world largest BOT project in which government and private industries invested over 600 billion NT dollars. While in preparation, the Preparation Office of High Speed Rail of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications anticipated the minimum operation of THSR during concession period could reach 180 thousand passengers, and the maximum would be 360 thousand. However after actual operation, the daily ridership was only 80 thousand, which was less than 1/3 of the estimated average. THSR BOT project claimed zero government investment, and Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation beat China Development Financial Holding in acquiring the preferred bidding. After actual operation, THSR did bring convenience to Taiwanese people; however, the operational revenue was far below expectation and that the financial problem has been a consistent issue. In order to save this major transportation that deeply associated with people’s life, the government has been funding the financial deficit of THSR since it went into operation. Why would THSR suffer from serious financial problems? What should the government do from now on? Do Taiwanese people really need THSR? Why THSR could not reach the expected operation ridership? These are the questions that need our further considerations in the future.

2、Taiwan Traffic Development 2.1 Traffic Constructions in Taiwan Taiwan is an island surrounded by seas on four sides. The land is packed with population, in which 94% is concentrated on the western corridor. Geologically speaking, the traffic between east │臺灣高鐵│Taiwan high speed rail│

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土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

and west is blocked by the Central Mountains and cut by rivers between north and south. The early transportation in Taiwan relied mostly on water transport. Tainan, Lugang in Chanhua and Wanhua in Taipei were the old major traffic junctures. Towards the end of Chin Dynasty, Taiwan began its major modification on the island traffic between north and south. In 1887 (13th year of Emperor Guangxu of Chin Dynasty), Governor Liu Mingchuan planed to build railway from Keelung to Tainan, he proposed a comprehensive railroad construction plan in his report to the Emperor. Although the measuring survey progressed up till Dajia River, there were only Keelung to Taipei, and Taipei to Hsinchu two routes that were completed. Despite so, the inland traffic in Taiwan had become more convenient for the sake of railroads. After Shimonoseki Treaty, Japan acquired the sovereignty over Taiwan and began constructing transportation facilities. The air and inland traffic of Taiwan were founded during this period of time. Western railways extended from Hsinchu to Fanliao in Pindong, and the eastern railways travelled between Hualien and Taidong. In addition, light rails for sugar and salt industries were widely distributed on the western plain, and the air traffic then was mostly for military purposes. During Japanese occupation era, the highway and railroad system followed the Japanese system by travelling on the left side of the roads. In 1945 when the Republic of China took back the sovereignty over Taiwan, besides the railway system which followed the original system, roads and highways were returned back to the right side. Government of the Republic of China moved to Taiwan after the civil war against the Chinese Communist. The traffic construction in the early period was mainly for military defense purposes. In recent decades, electrified railways, round the island 8

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土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

railroad projects, the highway networking et al transportation projects finished one by one that shaped the current Taiwan traffic system, along with the construction of the domestic air traffic networking, urban rail system, and north-south high speed rail. Right now the means of transportation in Taiwan include ports and water freights, freeways, highways, railroads, air and high speed rails; sufficient to encounter the different transportation needs of the public in the change of times. 2.2 Advantages of High Speed Rails Comparing to the specific advantages of other means of transportation, HSR has a much higher payload capacity and the maximum speed exceeds 300km/hr; it responses to the social needs for reducing traffic congestion and the pursuit of high speed. Analysis on Japan’s experience shows that the CO2 emission and the energy consumption of railroads are far lower than vehicles but the payload capacity is much higher. HSR is capable of moving massive amount of passengers expeditiously without causing air pollution; it can also relief the congestion of the highways. If comparing HSR with the fastest transportation, the airplanes, we can find that the payload capacity of the HSR is higher than that of the airplanes but the energy consumption and the CO2 emission are similar. HSR is much more convenient to the passengers and the fare is lower than the airplanes. All in all, HSR is a transportation option that serves environmental protection, need of speed and economic efficiency purposes.

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土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

Railroads

Buses

Vehicles

Air Others

Traffic Volume Energy Consumption CO2 Emission Photo 7. Railways have higher transportation volume, low energy consumption and low in CO2 emission. Transportation Volume

High Railroads Highway Bus

High Speed Rail

Private Vehicle Air Transportation

Low

speed km/hr

Photo 8. Fast speed, higher ridership; high speed rail is the fastest surface transportation in the world today.

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土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

3、 History of Taiwan High Speed Rail 3.1 The Beginning Looking at the current world traffic development, many highly developed countries or countries with fast developing economy are gradually equipped with high speed rails. For example: SKS in Japan, TGV in France, ICE in Germany, KTX in Korea and THSR in Taiwan. As we looked back to the time before THSR was finished, there were highway systems and adequate air transportation system; the means of transportation were already much more advanced than the time when there was only water transportation. What gave Taiwan government the idea of constructing a high speed rail system? Why does Taiwan need a high speed rail? What are the problems exist in the construction and the operation of the high speed rail? In the future, how does it face the new and diversified social needs under the changing society? Let us first begin with “why does Taiwan need a HSR”, and find out if the construction of high speed rail does fulfill the need of the Taiwanese people. France TGV

Germany ICE

Korea KTX

USA Acela

Japan SKS

Spain AVE

Taiwan THSR

Italy ETR

China Shanghai Maglev

Photo 9. Countries with high speed rail. │臺灣高鐵│Taiwan high speed rail│

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土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

94% of the Taiwan population lives on the west side of the island. The development of west Taiwan is the key to the blooming economy. Although airplane is the fastest mean of transportation, the air fare is rather expensive

and

the

airports

are

normally in remote locations that passengers often need to consider both the pricing and the convenience. Before THSR, the inland traffic of west Taiwan mainly relied on highways to connect the north and south.

At the time, Taiwan

economy was blooming and the population between north and south were moving quite frequently which resulted in the congestion of the highways.

Both railways and the highways were unable to satisfy

the need for moving rapidly between destinations.

After all, time is

money, and passengers are always looking for faster transportation for business trips, leisure travelling or other forms of transportation needs. In addition, THSR stations are located in suburbs, hoping to bring about the economic development of the neighboring areas and to increase the commercial value of the nearby properties. Therefore, the goals when building a high speed rail in Taiwan were (1) promote economy growth, (2) develop more areas that were suitable for development and (3) resolve the western plain traffic congestion. 12

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Taiwan needed a high speed rail in the early days, and now Taiwan has a high speed rail. Does THSR really push forward the economy development in Taiwan? Does it drastically resolve the western plain traffic congestion? If THSR is indeed a new transportation model that highly fits into the Taiwan life style and is needed by Taiwanese people, then after operation, THSR should be able to create better economical efficacy than has been expected. However, is it really so? How will THSR continue to operate under the fast changing society in Taiwan?

Photo 10. 94% of the Taiwan population is concentrated on the western corridor.

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3.2 Constructing THSR THSR is the largest scale traffic construction with the highest investment amount in the history of Taiwan. The government adopted BOT model and involved private sectors into this major public construction project. B-O-T are the abbreviations of Build, Operate, and Transfer; the term refers to the business model in which the private sector constructs the project planed by the government and operates for a period of time before transferring back to the government. The main reason why government adopted BOT model to proceed with the HSR project was to lighten the financial burden of the government.

Photo 11. Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) adopted BOT model.

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On July 16 , 1993, the Legislative Yuan approved the THSR project, cutting the full amount of the budget and granted private sectors the construction project. In 1997, Taiwan High Speed Rail Consortium(THSRC) beat Chunghwa High Speed Rail Consortium(CHSRC) and won the preferred bidding. In 1998, THSRC established Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation formed by Continental Engineering Corp., Evergreen Group, Fubon Financial, Pacific Electric Wire and Cable Co., Ltd., and Teco Groups. These five groups became the sponsoring share holders of the high speed rail. THSRC originally was leaning towards adopting the European high speed rail system; however, it changed to using Japanese system in 1998. THSR was scheduled to complete on October 31st, 2005 but the operation was postponed for one year due to signal system integration and the testing process falling behind schedule. It was further delayed as the individual certification report was unable to finish in time. THSR was finally in operation on January 5th, 2007. The route of THSR according to its project is from Taipei station in the north to Zuoying in Kaohsiung in the south, and the total length is 345km. The main frame construction was conducted by the THSRC, and so far there were 8 stations that were up and running. Four other stations (Nangang, Miaoli, Changhua, and Yunlin) will be added in the second stage construction. Since THSR is a BOT project conducted by private sectors, there is a so called concession period; when the concession period expires, THSR will be transferred back to the government for operation. The concession period of THSR is 35 years (including construction and operation) and the main funding sources are the joint loans from the government and the banks. THSRC beat CHSRC and acquired the preferred bidding because it claimed “0 funding from government” and that the construction of HSR could take back the initial funding for the beginning stage construction. CHSRC on the other hand │臺灣高鐵│Taiwan high speed rail│

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requested 100 billion NT dollars for the construction. After assessment, government decided to turn the construction of HSR to THSRC. This major transportation construction that was given high expectation for efficacy since the beginning of the construction has been in financial crisis when it started to operate in 2007. Though HSR brought Taiwan people a faster and more convenient living style, making Taiwan transportation construction in the same pace as that of the international transportation technology; many experts wrote articles using HSR as the theme to discuss if building high speed rail in Taiwan was a right decision. What are the reasons that prevent HSR to achieve the estimated effect? This is a question that worth exploring, and the key reason shall affect the operation development of THSR; it will also be the reference for modifying the operation direction. Though the latest news report in 2011 indicated that THSR operation has turned from loosing to profiting in the first half of the year, how to create even higher revenue and maintain sustainable operation would be a great challenge the government must face.

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土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

Chart 1

Chronicle of Taiwan High Speed Rail Construction

Year

Description

April 1987

Conducting study to assess the feasibility of building a north south high speed rail on the western corridor of Taiwan.

July 2nd, 1990

Ministry of Transportation and Communications established “Preparation Office of High Speed Rail” (the former of Bureau of High Speed Rail) in charge of planning and executing the construction of the high speed rail.

July 16th, 1993

Legislative Yuan approved the high speed rail project, cutting all construction budget planned by the government and handed the project to private sectors.

September

25th,

1997

THSRC that leaning towards adopting European system defeated CHSRC (leading by the China Development

Financial

Holding)

that

preferred

Japanese system, and acquired preferred bidding. May 11th, 1998

Established “Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation”, formed by five outstanding industrial groups as co-initiators, including Continental Engineering Corp., Evergreen Groups, Fubon Financial, Pacific Electric Wire and Cable Co., Ltd., and Teco Group.

December

28th,

1998 February 2000

High Speed Rail project changed to adopting Japanese system.

2nd,

THSRC signed credit contract with joint loan bank group that was consisted of Bank of Taiwan et al 25

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土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

banks, the credit limit was 323.3 billion NT dollars. March 16th, 2004

The

international

Court

of

Arbitration

of

the

International Chamber of Commerce ruled that THSRC must compensate Eurotrain 730.4 million US dollars for breaking contract. September

8th,

2004

Due to core system construction, signal system integration and the car test progress fall behind schedule, THSRC decided to postpone operation for one year.

December

10th,

Civil and tunnel works for HSR completed.

2004 July 2006

THSRC signed a second joint credit loan contract with 7 domestic private owned banks; the credit limit was 20.7 billion NT dollars.

January 5th, 2007

THSR Banqiao to Zuoying opened for service, test operation began and the first trains set out from Banqiao, Taichung and Zuoying stations.

Source: Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation

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Photo 12. Changes around Taoyuan HSR station neighboring area (2000 VS 2007)

Photo 13. Changes around Zuoying HSR station neighboring area (2000 VS 2007)

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土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

Photo 14. Taiwan High Speed Rail tunnel construction.

Photo 15. Taiwan High Speed Rail high rise bridge construction.

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Photo 16. Station construction of the Taiwan High Speed Rail.

Photo 17. Taiwan High Speed Rail stations are mainly located in the suburbs.

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土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

4、Obstacles of Taiwan High Speed Rail Large scale public construction often associates with the need of people and society. All constructions have their problems that await resolving. Even when there are plenty previous experiences to learn and refer to, there are inevitably difficulties beyond imagination that test the reaction and wisdom of the builders. Taiwan High Speed Rail refers to the experiences in Japan and Europe during construction; however, when the same construction is performed in different locations, there bound to be regional specific difficulties and obstacles. In the following, we will address these problems faced by THSR during construction and operation. 4.1 Noise High decibel noise is generated by the fast speed HSR, and the neighboring residents suffer a very long time from the noise of the frequent passing trains. When Shinkansen in Japan was first built, residents along the rail lines claimed that the noise affected their daily lives, causing headaches and other physical discomforts. There were also law suits brought by the situation. THSR currently is still working on the noise problems for the residents. HSR is willing to provide some compensational feedbacks for the residents that suffer from the noise of the high speed rail, such as installing sound-proof walls, sound-proof windows, or air conditioners – but the electricity bills will be bored by the residents. People think that this measure increases their electricity spending, and feel confined to their own houses by the sound-proofing walls. They still look forward to the Bureau of High Speed Rail to propose better advantageous solutions to eradicate the noise problem once and for all. Noise is a problem that receives much attention, and the 22

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government shall keep monitoring the noise generated by Taiwan High Speed Rail to see if it exceeds the regulated decibels.

Facts about noise 1. The simplest way to determine whether it is noise is to see if the sound makes people feel uncomfortable. 2. Everybody feels differently about noise. Judging by figures, the normal volume is below 50 decibels and this volume does not irritate people. Volume between 50~70 decibels may induce slight discomfort. Volume above 70 will cause irritation, anxiety and inducing different physical symptoms. 3. The volume of sound is measured by ‘decibel’. Decibel refers to the intensity and the volume of sounds. It is represented by Deci-Bel (dB(A)). A normal human hearing range is between 0 to 130 dB(A).

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土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

Interior Construction

Jet Engine

70~80 dB(A)

140 dB(A)

Group Singing

Air Planes Taking

60~70 dB(A)

Off and Landing 110~130 dB(A)

Air Condition (low Construction Site

frequency)

80~110 dB(A)

30~60 dB(A)

Winds

blowing

Folk Facilities

through woods

70~110 dB(A)

20~40 dB(A)

Clock Ticking

Amplifying Devices

10~20 dB(A)

70~90 dB(A)

Source: Environmental Protection Bureau, Executive Yuan

Photo

18.

Environmental

decibel

volume

in

different

circumstances

4.2 Vibration The vibration problem exists in the high speed travelling of the high speed rail, and the residents nearby are constantly bothered by it. The vibration problem is so sever that walls of some houses crack, and the ground of some houses even tilt to sides. Residents protest against it to the Taiwan High Speed Rail and received some 24

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土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

compensations; however, it would still not prevent the vibration damage whenever the trains drive by. The vibration problem of High Speed Rail in the Southern Taiwan Science Park is also a big issue. Southern Taiwan Science Park is on soft ground and soft ground vibrates much bigger than the rocky ground of the Hsinchu Science Park. Some developers thought of abandoning the development projects in Southern Taiwan Science Park because of the vibration problem. This vibration caused by THSR also has been bothering the government. National Science Council, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, and the Bureau of High Speed Rail all proposed their solutions to reduce the vibration; the government and the Bureau of High Speed Rail also proactively working with private engineering companies in finding out the main causes of the vibration, hoping to come up with some reduction constructions to improve the problem. Taiwan High Speed Rail

Vibration cause by passing trains, shock waves travel downwards through stake.

High technology semiconductor chip wafer factory

Shock waves travel through soft ground

Shock waves through rock payload

Soft grounds. travel layer

Shock waves travel through factory foundation stakes.

Photo 19. Diagram of Southern Taiwan Science Park vibration caused by high speed rail.

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土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

4.3 Land Subsidence “Land subsidence” is by far the biggest problem Taiwan High Speed Rail faces since completion. According to Hong-Yuan Lee, the Chief Commissioner of the Public Construction Commission of the Executive Yuan, the life of Taiwan High Speed Rail may only have 10 years left. Current President of the Taiwan High Speed Rail Chin-Der Ou also said frankly that the land subsidence has been the biggest crisis for Taiwan High Speed Rail. As reported by the World News Journal, “along the Taiwan High Speed Rail line, areas with the most server land subsidence problem are Changhua, north to south Yunlin at the Hsichou section, HSR Yulin Station, and County Route 158 intersections. These areas are all subsiding over 5mm per year. Experts say that land subsidence will cause the high rise piers to sink, this would endanger the traffic safety of HSR.” The piers reinforcement construction originally scheduled to begin in 2020 has already been pushed forward. In March 2011, High Speed Rail Corporation replaced the pier cushions of the Yunlin section, and adjusted the angle that was caused by the land subsidence. In August, the company reinforced the beams with carbon fibers. These prove that the land subsidence is indeed the most eminent obstacle of Taiwan High Speed Rail. Why would the land subside? Experts indicate that over extracting the underground water is the fundamental cause. Before the construction of Taiwan High Speed Rail, the residents along the rail line would extract the underground water for industrial, agricultural, fishery or domestic needs. Extracting underground water has been the habit of the neighboring residents. However, since THSR was built, the government asked the residents not to extract underground water or to seal the wells; this appeared to force the residents to change their existing life styles. Residents also demanded the government to provide compensations for the inconvenience THSR brought them. However, from the 26

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prospective of salvaging THSR, if the land subsidence problem is not solved immediately, the future of THSR is indeed in jeopardy. Government and the experts are trying very hard to save THSR because this is not something to take light heart in. If the condition cannot be resolved in recent years, THSR shall be forced to stop running in the future for the sake of safety concerns.

Photo 20. Land subsidence is a critical condition that endangers Taiwan High Speed Rail; over extracting underground water is the major cause of the problem.

4.4 Financial Problem When the government decided to adopt BOT to have private sectors conduct the construction of the high speed rail, the purpose was to reduce the financial burden on the government. THSRC was granted the preferred bidding of the construction as it claimed zero │臺灣高鐵│Taiwan high speed rail│

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土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

funding from the government and that high speed rail operation would enable government to take back the 105.7 billion NT dollars, and it would generate positive revenue. However, since the beginning of operation till this day, Taiwan High Speed Rail has been facing financial problems. The source of construction capitals of Taiwan High Speed Rail mainly came from bank loans; when the operation began, the revenue was generated from the ridership. However, the over estimation on the primary ridership, the over high bank loan interest, and the short depreciation allocation made it difficult for the Taiwan High Speed Rail financial condition to turn from loosing to profiting. Current President of Taiwan High Speed Rail, Chin-Der Ou, keeps pleading to the government to prolong the Taiwan High Speed Rail concession period for otherwise the short depreciation allocation shall impose heavy financial pressure on Taiwan High Speed Rail. THSR pointed out that the government estimated the high speed rail would have 230 thousand passengers per day; however, since operation, there were only 80 thousand passengers per day. Why was there a wrongly estimated ridership? Former president of THSR Nita Ing said that the industries moving out of Taiwan was one of the main reasons why THSR was unable to reach the estimated volume. In recent years, the economy in mainland China started to bloom and many industries moved to China for production. Nearly 2 million passengers were lost because of that. However, professor Dung-Chi Chen of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications Management at Tamkang University pointed out that “THSR made a wrong decision in choosing the lines and stations. High speed rail is a high density, high ridership public transportation in terms of functionality. When choosing routes and stations to meet such function, ‘demand oriented’ strategy should be adopted. However, government at the time only followed the ‘supply oriented’ strategy, hoping high speed rail would 28

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push the development of new towns and cities, and locating high speed rail routes and stations in the remote regions where the lands were easier to acquire (low land cost). The experience with Shinkanasen in Japan indicated that it would take 20 to 30 years for new cities and towns to form. Can the huge deficit of HSR wait so long for the demand to grow and increase its revenue in the future? This decision making logic has already doomed THSR with long term deficit and debts.” Financial problem till this day remains the Achill’s heel of the high speed rail. By opening for operation every day will cost THSR over 100 millions of NT dollars. Since 95% of the revenue comes from passengers, how to increase the number of passengers is the current vital turning key. In recent years, THSR promoted several premium packages for passengers, hoping to increase the off-peak passenger number. In addition, it also pleads for prolonging the concession period, changing the depreciation allocation, and trying to bring in more new shareholders to increase the funding sponsorship. These are the directions THSR has been trying very hard to adjust. After over four years of operation, HSR finally was able to gain profit in the first half of year 2011. The main reason was the increase of passengers that brought in the large growth on the revenue. How to keep generating positive revenue and making steady growth from now on would be the challenge that THSR faces in the future. 4.5 Connecting Traffic Most THSR stations are in the remote suburbs and this makes it very inconvenient for the passengers. Since passengers need to spend time travel between cities and stations by public buses or other means of transportation, taking THSR becomes unnecessary as it │臺灣高鐵│Taiwan high speed rail│

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土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

does not serve the purpose of ‘saving time’. Planning a good connecting transportation network can effectively increase the THSR ridership. In order to make it easy for the passengers, THSR launched “HSR Speedy Bus” free shuttle service in 5 stations with 10 routes in total in Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Taichung, Chiayi, and Tainan stations. There are fixed schedule buses daily connecting stations and cities for the passengers that travel with THSR. However, the actual execution shows that the number of people taking shuttle buses between stations and cities is still not high. The number of the passenger on the connecting shuttle is low and thus does not conform with the cost and effect. In order to increase the THSR ridership, the connecting transportation from the stations will need a better planning in order to make it more convenient so as to elevate willingness of passengers to choose THSR as their transportation option.

Photo 21. Taiwan High Speed Rail launched free shuttle service, hoping to increase the passenger number of the High Speed Rail.

4.6

New Stations

Currently there are 8 THSR stations in service, and 4 stations (Nangang, Miaoli, Changhua, and Yunlin) will be added in the second stage construction. Although adding new stations makes the traveling to more regions easier, allowing more passengers to take 30

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THSR; a new issue arises that requires attention. The issue concerns whether the meaning of high speed rail would be deprived from installing more new stops. When THSR was planning stations, they already considered the strategy to face such an issue, and designed non-stop trains from Taipei to Kaohsiung for those with high speed transportation requests. In order for more passengers to ride on THSR, THSR use train schedule arrangements and skipping stations to maintain the travelling speed. In the future when the news stations are in service, trains with different stops will be scheduled. To this day, THSR still maintains high speed travel which satisfies passengers need for speed.

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土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

5、 General Discussion – Future of High Speed Rail When the economy in Taiwan took fly, business population had the need for moving in high speed, which made the THSR a well expected major transportation construction at the time. The majority of the Taiwanese population focused on the western corridor. In public holidays and Chinese New Year holidays, highways were often packed with vehicles. The construction of high speed rail helped to relieve the highway rush. In addition to moving in high speed, high speed rail also combines high ridership and low pollution double advantageous. Comparing to other means of transportation, high speed rail definitely is the new option that meets the need of modern people. Taiwan High Speed Rail combined track engineering technology of multiple countries and overcame different construction difficulties. It was finally opened for operation in 2007, providing high speed moving service and creating new life styles for the Taiwanese people. Despite the satisfying moving speed, there came inevitably construction problems. While still in construction, High Speed Rail already generated noise problems; after completion, there came noise and vibration problems when trains passed by which deeply affected the residents along the line. Management and operation wise, there was financial problem as the ridership was less than expected in the planning stage, making it difficult to turn from negative to positive revenue since the revenue of high speed rail mainly relied on the number of passengers. Though in 2011 Taiwan High Speed Rail for the first time gains positive profit, it needs continuous profit in order for steady operation. Also the land subsidence problem is very serious that directly endangers the future of Taiwan High Speed Rail. 32

│臺灣高鐵│Taiwan high speed rail│


土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

How can so many problems lurking behind the transportation construction case that appears to be so successful? Is it because the Taiwanese do not need a high speed rail? Or are the line wrongly planned and the assessment not thorough enough that causes the ridership to run below expectation? Is Taiwan High Speed Rail a successful transportation case? Did the government make the wrong decision by adopting the BOT scheme in constructing the high speed rail? When begin to plan a construction, what the users need at that time and to assess what problems would arise during construction are the fundamental considerations. The development of technology and the changing of society are closely associated. High speed rail is in high speed but would it catch up with the change of time? The structure of the society is changing, the composition of the population is changing, technology is changing, and the needs of people are also changing. Would a construction that was needed 10 years ago still be needed 10 years later? Any construction or technology that comes into being from the need of time should be able to continue to grow with the change of time; otherwise even the most advanced technology will be history. Taiwan High Speed Rail must find out how to get closer to the people’s need in the future, expanding the commercial need of specific groups of passengers to general people with travelling needs, and launching different packages for the changing needs of the society to attract passengers with different needs to increase the ridership. Only when HSR truly understands the need of people, can it really be needed by the people, and create steady and positive revenue. In addition to people’s need, crisis management is also a key to the sustainable operation of a construction. Crisis tests the wisdom of an engineering team, and it is very important to be able to solve the crisis expeditiously. In the future, we also need the ability of foreseeing the crisis, and include the crisis that might occur in the │臺灣高鐵│Taiwan high speed rail│

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土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

future into the consideration of construction plans. This will allow the team higher maneuver ability to crisis and prevent the impact and influence of the sudden crisis. “Envision the needs to satisfy the needs; foresee the crisis to prevent the crisis”. Envisioning the latest needs of the society under the change of times, foreseeing the possible problems the construction may face in the future, creating solutions that fit the need of people and is comprehensive in dealing with crisis; these are the abilities the future engineers must have.

Photo 22. It is a great challenge for Taiwan High Speed Rail to operate sustainably in the future.

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│臺灣高鐵│Taiwan high speed rail│


土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

Practice Part I : Use Your Brain 1. List the positive and negative influence Taiwan High Speed Rail brings to your life.

2. Do you think Taiwan needs high speed rail?

Why?

│臺灣高鐵│Taiwan high speed rail│

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土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

3. Do you think BOT scheme for building Taiwan High Speed Rail is a right decision? Elaborate what you think.

4. For a long time, residents along the high speed rail line have been suffering from the strong vibration and noise. Propose your version of solutions.

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│臺灣高鐵│Taiwan high speed rail│


土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

5. What was the main reason why Taiwan High Speed Rail was unable to reach the estimated preliminary ridership after officially went into operation?

6. Same as the above, what are the methods you think could effectively increase the ridership of Taiwan High Speed Rail?

│臺灣高鐵│Taiwan high speed rail│

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土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

7. Taiwan High Speed Rail stations normally locates in the remote suburbs, and many people think that the time spend on connecting from cities to stations is no less than using other transportations in the cities. Propose a strategy to improve the time for people to connect from THSR.

8. Where do you think Taiwan High Speed Rail should add stations? Why? Some passengers indicate that too many stops shall affect the arrival time and thus loosing the meaning of a high speed rail. Do you agree? Is there a good way to add more stops without affecting the speed?

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│臺灣高鐵│Taiwan high speed rail│


土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

9. If you were one of the people who participated the planning of High Speed Rail, would you have chosen the suburbs where the land was cheap and easy to acquire to construct the high speed rail stations? The initial consideration was to promote the economy development of the neighboring regions; do you think it is effective? Explain why and describe your planning concept.

│臺灣高鐵│Taiwan high speed rail│

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土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

10 News report indicated that Taiwan High Speed Rail suffered from sever land subsidence problem, “Yulin, Chunghwa counties are sinking 7 to 8cm each year, the life of THSR has only 10 years left.” What are the measures that can salvage the situation? If you were the government, what would you have done?

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│臺灣高鐵│Taiwan high speed rail│


土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

Part II : Use Your Hands 1. From internet, newspapers or magazines find photos of high speed rail from six countries in the world that have high speed rail and paste the photos in the boxes blow. 國家:________________

國家:________________

國家:________________

國家:________________

國家:________________

國家:________________

│臺灣高鐵│Taiwan high speed rail│

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土木工程概念設計 Taiwan high speed rail

2. Design a public transportation that will be widely used by people in the coming 20 years, draw the conceptual sketch in the box below.

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│臺灣高鐵│Taiwan high speed rail│


Case Study4 - Taiwan High Speed Rail  

Civil Engineering, National Taiwan University, Case Study.

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