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UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA SCHOOL OF DESIGN The University of Pennsylvania carries on the principles and spirit of its founder, Benjamin Franklin: entrepreneurship, innovation, invention, outreach and a pragmatic love of knowledge. Franklin’s outlook of melding theory and practice has remained a driving force in the university’s academic and social mission. The University of Pennsylvania School of Design embodies those principles as well, linking a diverse range of disciplines through a design perspective. The school houses Architecture, City and Regional Planning, Landscape Architecture, Fine Arts, Historic Preservation, Digital Media Design and Visual Studies. The City Planning Program within the School of Design integrates academic planning theories with practical, clientbased applications of planning. During the program’s final semester, students participate in a capstone studio that serves as the culmination of their planning work at Penn. Incorporating the skills gained during two years of study, the studio project requires a team of students, under the guidance of professional practioners and faculty, to collaborate on a project addressing a realworld planning challenge. In this studio, held during the spring semester of 2010, a team of 18 students with various planning backgrounds tackled the challenge of envisioning a new mobility future for the Northeast, centered around the concept of developing a high-speed rail system for the Northeast Megaregion. Students researched the system alignment and design, capital costs, regional mobility, station-area development, environmental benefits and implementation strategies. Findings from the semester are available in this report and electronically at The studio would like to extend its gratitude to the instructors Marilyn Jordan Taylor and Bob Yaro for their guidance in producing this report.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The studio offers its sincere thanks to the Daniel and Joanna S. Rose Fund, Inc., and AECOM for their generous contributions to the studio’s work and its planning workshop, which was held in London, England, from March 8 - 12, 2010. It also extends its thanks to the Regional Plan Association, whose America 2050 project proved instrumental to this report, as well as the Business Alliance for Northeast Mobility, a valuable sponsoring organization. The studio also extends particular thanks to Vincent Goodstadt, Former President, Royal Town Planning Institute and Honorary Professor at the University of Manchester, who gave generously of his time to organize the London Workshop. We would also like to thank Skidmore Owings & Merrill’s London Office and office manager Mari McKavanagh for hosting and assisting the studio during the week-long workshop. Further, the studio recognizes all of the following individuals whose support, time and ideas have helped make this project a success:

PENN FACULTY AND ASSOCIATES Paul Amos, Managing Director, Wharton GIS Lab Jonathan Barnett, Professor of Practice, PennDesign Eric Bruun, Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering, Penn Engineering Mark Kocent, Principal Planner, Office of the University Architect John Landis, Crossways Professor of City and Regional Planning; Dept. Chair, PennDesign Anne Papageorge, Vice President, Facilities and Real Estate Services Paul Sehnert, Director of Real Estate Development, Facilities and Real Estate Services Vukan Vuchic, UPS Foundation Professor of Transportation Engineering, Penn Engineering Rachel Weinberger, Assistant Professor, PennDesign

PENN STAFF Kate Daniel, Department Coordinator, PennPlanning Roslynne Carter, Administrative Assistant, PennPlanning Julianne Siracusa, Administrative Assistant, Dean’s Office, PennDesign

LONDON WORKSHOP FACULTY Vincent Goodstadt, Honorary Professor, University of Manchester Yoav Hagler, Associate Planner, America 2050, Regional Plan Association Diana Mendes , Senior VP and National Director of Transit Planning, AECOM Arlington Foster Nichols, Assistant VP, Manager Operations Planning, Parsons Brinckerhoff Karen Rae, Deputy Administrator, Federal Railroad Administration Petra Todorovich, Director, America 2050, Regional Plan Association Polly Trottenberg, Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy, U.S. DOT

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATES Kip Bergstrom, Executive Director, Urban Redevelopment Commission, Stamford, Conn. Steve Buckley, Deputy Commissioner for Transportation, Streets Dept., City of Philadelphia Vishaan Chakrabarti, Director, Real Estate Development Program, Columbia University Matthew Coogan, Director, The New England Transportation Institute Rina Cutler, Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities, City of Philadelphia Calvin Davenger, Deputy Director of Aviation, Planning and Environmental Stewardship, Philadelphia International Airport Al Engel, Vice President and High-Speed Rail Director, AECOM Transportation Kyle Gradinger, Planner, Wallace Roberts & Todd Hanan Kivett, AECOM David Kooris, VP and Director, Connecticut Office, Regional Plan Association Scott Maits, Vice President, The Delaware Valley Association of Rail Passengers Derek Moore, Associate, Skidmore Owings & Merrill Tony Rimikis, Senior Vice President, Brandywine Realty Trust Jerry Sweeney, President and CEO, Brandywine Realty Trust Graham Wiseman, Director, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill London

LONDON WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS Terence Bendixson, Deputy Secretary, Ind. Transport Commission, University of Southampton Malcolm Buchanan, CBP, Buchanan Consultancy Pat Castledine, Consents Manager, HS1 Ltd. Paul Chapman, Managing Director, HS1 Ltd. Chia-Lin Chen , Doctoral Candidate, University College London Andrew Crudgington, Head of Policy, Institute of Civil Engineers Harry Dimitriou, Bartlett Professor of Planning Studies, University College London Iain Docherty, Department of Management, University of Glasgow Martin Elton, Regional Director, Transportation, AECOM Kent Moshe Givoni, Senior Researcher, School of Geog. and the Environment, University of Oxford Stephen Glaister, Director, RAC Foundation Philip Graham, Deputy Director, High Speed Rail at Department for Transport Sir Peter Hall, Bartlett Professor of Planning and Regeneration, University College London Terry Hill, Director, Transport Policy, ARUP Peter Koning, Director, Transportation, AECOM St. Albans Bryan Matthews, Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds Chris Nash, Research Professor, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds John Preston, Director, Transportation Research Group, University of Southampton Dan Ringelstein, Director of Urban Design and Planning, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill London John Segal, Director of Rail, MVA Consultancy Jim Steer, Director, Greengauge 21 Robin Thompson, Bartlett School, University College London David Watters, International Director, AECOM London Alan Wenban-Smith, Urban & Regional Policy Ian Wray, Chief Planner, North West Regional Development Agency





7 8

The Economy


Anchored by Great Cities


Transportation 13 The Northeast Corridor: Major Challenges DESIGNING A HIGH-SPEED RAIL SERVICE

22 27

What is High-speed Rail?


The Design Challenge


Design Pinciples for High-speed Rail in the Northeast


System Upgrade Typologies


Detailed Alignment Proposals


Capital Cost Estimates


Operations and Maintenance


Service Plan


Ridership Projections




Connect To Local Subcenters


Promote Transit, Walkability and Bicycle Access


Coordinate Fares, Ticketing, and Schedules


Existing Conditions and Recommendations


Transit, High-speed Rail and Regional Growth




Station and Station-area Design Principles


Create Magnetic Destinations


Function as Gateways


Catalyze Walkable, Compact, Centered Development


Connect to Regional and Interregional Transportation Systems


Strengthen Weak- and Strong-economy Cities


Station Design Interventions


Market East Station, Philadelphia


Ronkonkoma Station, MacArthur Airport


SUSTAINABILITY 91 Importance of High-speed Rail


Environmental Sustainability


Economic Sustainability


Social Sustainability




Hot and Cold Cities


Vignettes 116 COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS Purpose of Cost-Benefit Analysis

119 120

Methodology 120 Analysis 122 Implications of the Cost-Benefit Analysis IMPLEMENTATION: GOVERNANCE AND FINANCING

123 125

Governance 126 The Northeast Corridor Commission


Financing High-speed Rail


NECC High-speed Rail Trust Fund


CONCLUSION 137 APPENDIC ES 139 Capital Costs


Ridership Projections


Benefit-Cost Analysis





High-Speed Train: A French TGV train leaves the station.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY If the United States Northeast Megaregion is to grow and prosper, its cities and states must work together to become a single, globally competitive economic powerhouse. This report outlines a bold new proposal for world-class highspeed rail in the Northeast Corridor, which will transform the economic geography of the whole Northeast. By creating two dedicated high-speed rail (HSR) tracks from Boston to Washington, the Northeast Corridor will achieve significant improvements in capacity, reliability and travel times. Simultaneously addressing system-wide congestion and intercity connectivity, this new HSR network will sustain the Northeast’s role as the country’s premier economic and cultural driver. Megaregions are networks of linked metropolitan areas, with shared economies and infrastructure and natural resource systems, stretching from 200 to 600 miles across. They are too large to be easily traversed by automobiles and too small to be readily accessible by air. Megaregions in Asia and Europe have discovered that the scale of these places is uniquely suited to HSR and are moving aggressively to build these systems.


inland to Hartford, then along the I-84 corridor toward Worcester, and finally east to Boston along the Massachusetts Turnpike. As an alternative northern alignment, full Amtrak service will be retained or expanded along the existing coastal route, with New Haven becoming the new linchpin of the northern end. The southern half of the dedicated highspeed rail line relies mostly on existing right-of-way from Washington’s Union Station to New York’s Penn-Moynihan Station. Here, the physical challenge is primarily an urban one—the tricky alignments through Philadelphia and Baltimore limit speeds for the whole line. Solving two problems with one strategy, the proposed alignments utilize tunnels to dramatically improve speeds through these cities while also creating new downtown stations in areas ripe for economic development. Further linkages include direct service to Philadelphia and Baltimore’s international airports and improved regional connections. Proposed service would reduce travel times between Washington and New York to one and a half hours, between Philadelphia and New York to 37 minutes, and between New York and Boston to one hour 45 minutes, at an estimated cost of $98.1 billion. The line will be built in phases, starting with the New York-Philadelphia connection in the south and New Haven-Boston in the north, followed by completion of the southern end to Washington, D.C., and eventually the connection of the northern end through Long Island. DESIGN: INTERMODAL LINKS AND REGIONAL CONNECTIVITY Rail, at any speed, performs better when it’s connected to other modes. In order for any high-speed rail network to succeed, it must be fully integrated with the connecting regional transportation networks: not just commuter trains, but subways, light-rail systems, cars, buses and planes (for long-distance travel) as well. This not only increases ridership; it also supports concentrated, dense development. Links between modes must be seamless, both physically and temporally. They require an integrated fare system—riders should be able to swipe one card to get from origin to destination, no matter the number of different modes they take—and closely coordinated schedules with an absolute minimum of waiting. The more times passengers have to consult a schedule, the more likely they are to find a different way to get there. Since high-speed rail will need to stop in central locations in the Northeast’s cities, the regional transportation networks need to ensure that underserved areas have suitable connections to the HSR network. Fare structures need to reflect the Northeast’s economic and social diversity. If the megaregion is to realize all of HSR’s potential benefits, residents from all walks of life must be able to access the train, drawing on as broad a passenger base as possible.


Executive Summary

DESIGN: STATIONS AND STATION AREAS To achieve the land use benefits of HSR investment, cities and regions must define and implement development and management plans to direct and coordinate public and private investment. Stations and station areas must be planned and constructed to value viable public spaces and an active public realm, encourage private investment and public/private partnerships in and around the stations and promote social equity. For areas in and around train stations along the Northeast Corridor, transportation can direct the movement of people in a way that catalyzes development. In many cities, high-speed rail will be a catalyst to develop stations as nodes that direct growth. When done successfully, this can create new city centers, and extend and strengthen existing central business districts. In Philadelphia, a new Market East Station becomes the centrally located stop for high-speed rail. This station works in tandem with 30th Street Station to restore the Market Street corridor from Center City to University City. By creating a cohesive visual element along Market Street, connecting the Schuylkill River waterfront to the University of Pennsylvania and drawing on Old City’s tourism, these two complementary stations can create an energy that elevates the entire corridor. A new alignment through Baltimore creates a station at the Charles Center, in the heart of the city’s central business district. Besides taking advantage of a straighter path that will allow for faster speeds in and out

The Market Street District: By bringing high-speed rail through Philadelphia at a new Center City station, the entire corridor becomes an economic anchor for the city, stretching from east of Market East Station to west of 30th Street Station.



High-speed rail’s central locations support and encourage greater concentration of development around stations. When a train station becomes a center-city hub, activity is concentrated there, discouraging sprawl and allowing for businesses to feed off of one another. High-speed rail can promote social sustainability. By widening the market of jobs available to workers, HSR levels the playing field, provided it is affordable enough to be accessed by populations. TRANSFORMATIONS The proposed high-speed rail system, complemented by the improved connectivity of regional and inter/intracity transit, has the potential to transform the spatial relationships of the Northeast Megaregion. Highspeed rail improves connectivity between businesses, facilitating the movement of labor and goods resulting in a new economic geography— one that may be particularly valuable for the knowledge industries that will benefit from agglomeration economies. This new geography will result in economic growth in the corridor’s major cities, making the Northeast Corridor more competitive in the global market. Improved connectivity will be particularly valuable for new household formation and extended work-home distances in newly urbanized areas. Large cities with major economies require a different development strategy than cities those with growing economies. Places like New York, Boston and Washington—cities that are growing, and have higher educational attainment and area median incomes—will benefit differently from highspeed rail than Philadelphia, Baltimore and the smaller cities along the corridor. These places need a strategy that ensures they won’t lose economic activity as a result of their increased accessibility to strongmarket cities. Furthermore, none of these cities can be considered all strong or all weak: While New York, for example, has higher educational attainment, it also has higher unemployment. Economic development strategies, therefore, must vary carefully from city to city and region to region. Importantly, all of the weak-market cities served by this new HSR system will be brought within a one-hour travel time of Boston, New York or Washington, the megaregion’s three big strong-market metros. This will create the opportunity for underperforming places to strengthen their links to the larger regional labor and housing markets, innovation networks and agglomeration economies of Northeast’s strongest regional economies.


Executive Summary

IMPLEMENTATION In order to successfully build a new interstate high-speed rail network, creative methods of governance, financing and environmental review will need to come together. Nearly all of the countries that have initiated HSR systems have done so with funding from national governments, and this should be done here as well. A matching contribution from Northeast states and regions will help meet capital costs, and a portion of the up-front investment could be recouped through a long-term lease of the corridor, as the U.K. is now proposing to do with its HS1 line, where an expected 40 percent of the public investment is expected to be returned to the government. Since funding will need to be largely from the federal government, a new agency, known as the Northeast Corridor Commission (NECC), will bring the states, metropolitan areas, Amtrak and other regional, commuter and freight rail operators to the same table to figure out how to cooperate in order to get federal dollars to the region. This new entity will manage the implementation process and will ensure that discrete agencies are talking with each other and working together toward the ultimate goal of a rail network that benefits the entire region. There needs to be a system for dedicated and sustainable financing that can handle the large costs, multiyear planning and construction period and complicated jurisdictional structure of building in the Northeast Megaregion. The responsibility of financing the construction of HSR and ensuring continued funding should be taken on by the federal government, or a regional agency, because it has the capacity to manage the risk of the project and realize the long-term benefits. By approaching HSR as a long-term investment, the government provides an opportunity Federal Railroad Administration

Amtrak + Other Rail Operating Companies

Planning and Design






Northeast Corridor Commission Construction



A new governance model: The Northeast Corridor Commission can achieve the fundamental goals of building high-speed rail in the NEC, preserving unified corridor operations, increasing states’ involvement, balancing operators’ needs, obtaining dedicated revenue streams, and successfully competing for federal HSR grants.


Executive Summary

for the private sector to invest in the HSR system through publicprivate partnerships, where the government can recoup a portion of its investment in HSR, and where funding can be dedicated, sustainable and guaranteed. Public financing mechanisms include the creation of a Northeast Corridor Commission Trust Fund, government grants and a range of tools to cover operating costs including gas taxes, interstate tolls, user fees, value added tax and station area sales tax. After the public sector has taken on the financing and building HSR, opportunities develop for subsequent private sector investment. CONCLUSION The implementation of high-speed rail in the Northeast Corridor is the key to unlocking the economic growth and competitive advantage of the Northeast Megaregion. Investment in high-speed rail in the Northeast Corridor is essential, and, over time, each of the other 10 U.S. megaregions should see some for of HSR service as key elements of the National Rail Plan, which can transform the connectivity, economic geography and performance of the entire country. With the federal government committed to high-speed rail, the country is poised to take up the challenge of such a substantial, transformative new infrastructure project—one that can and will fundamentally change the way our cities work. The 21st-century narrative will be one not of global cities, but of global megaregions. When megaregions work as unified markets, strongly linked internally and externally, as many of our European and Asian counterparts already do, they can achieve the investment and innovation necessary to compete on an international stage. For the past two centuries, each generation of Americans has embraced the latest transportation mode to shape the country’s mobility systems and with them, the nation’s destiny. Now is the time for American highspeed rail that will sustain the country’s economic potential through the 21st century. By building the nation’s premier world-class high-speed rail network, the Northeast can lead the way.



Eurostar trains at Waterloo Station, London.

01 01 INTRODUCTION This report proposes a new, world-class high-speed rail (HSR) system for the U.S. Northeast Megaregion. It also examines the benefits that such a system would offer in terms of mobility, economic growth, environmental sustainability and social equity. It investigates the increased travel capacity the megaregion will need to enable its projected growth in jobs, population and economic activity to be achieved by 2050. To meet these needs, the megaregion must build two new dedicated HSR tracks from Boston to Washington, D.C., that will provide frequent, reliable and well-priced HSR service throughout the megaregion. The Northeast Megaregion, stretching from Maine to Virginia, was first identified nearly half a century ago by French geographer Jean Gottman in his book Megalopolis. It encompasses 13 states, the District of Columbia and five major metropolitan regions: Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington. Megaregions are interconnected networks of metropolitan areas, with shared economies, infrastructure and natural resource systems. The Northeast is one of 11 emerging megaregions in the United States. These places range from 200 to 600 miles across and are too large to be easily traversed by automobile and too small to be readily accessible by air.


“Our unity as a nation is sustained by free communication of thought and by easy transportation of people and goods.” — President Dwight Eisenhower, 1955

High-speed rail is uniquely suited to megaregions and can enable them to achieve their full economic potential. In this sense, President Obama’s vision for a national HSR network builds upon President Eisenhower’s 1956 vision for the national interstate highway system, which underpinned the nation’s rapid growth in the second half of the 20th century. In much the same way that limited-access highways enabled the emergence of metropolitan regions over the past half century, HSR links will enable the growth and development of 21st-century megaregions. BUILDING BLOCKS In the spring of 2010, this planning studio at the University of Pennsylvania took on the challenge of outlining a world-class HSR system for the Northeast Megaregion. The studio worked closely with America 2050, a national infrastructure planning program led by the Regional Plan Association, an organization responsible for long-range planning and policy development aimed at managing population growth. Drawing on their vast data resources and industry experience provided much of the foundation upon which our research was formed.

“What we need, then, is a smart transportation system equal to the needs of the 21st century. A system that reduces travel times and increases mobility. A system that reduces congestion and boosts productivity. A system that reduces destructive emissions and creates jobs.”

The Business Alliance for Northeast Mobility, a coalition of business and civic leaders for Northeast cities, served as the outside client for the studio. The studio was comprised of 18 city and regional planning graduate students with concentrations ranging from transportation planning to urban development. The studio’s instructors were Robert D.

— President Barack Obama, 2009 Birth of the interstates: A 1947 plan for cross-country highways.


01 - Introduction





Comparing the systems: The Northeast Corridor and the U.K.’s proposed HS2 line connect almost the same populations over similar distances, providing an excellent case study for high-speed rail in the NEC.

to finance, build and operate HSR services. Finally, when in England the studio met with British scholars in London, Oxford and Leeds, including Sir Peter Hall, who reported on their research, which confirmed the potential to achieve significant economic transformations on the cities and regions served by HSR systems.

SUMMARY This report outlines the role that a world-class HSR system will play in enabling the future economic development, accessibility and sustainability for the whole Northeast Megaregion and its component cities. It proposes the construction of a high-speed rail system that will fundamentally change the economic geography of the Northeast by enabling greater agglomeration of industries, shrinking travel times between cities like New York and Philadelphia, and creating expanded employment and housing opportunities for the Northeast’s growing population. This system will also relieve congestion, reduce carbon emissions, increase productivity, promote more compact development patterns and improve urban connectivity. In summary, the HSR system proposed in this report will enable the Northeast to unleash its economic potential, while accommodating a projected 20 million additional residents by 2050. Moving forward with this proposal will, however, require a new level of public support and political leadership for the estimated $100 billion required to achieve this vision.



The Northeast: An aerial overview.

02 02 ANALYSIS OF EXISTING CONDITIONS The Northeast Megaregion presents a complex set of opportunities and challenges. This section articulates in some detail the importance of the megaregion, both nationally and internationally, as well as the benefits of connectivity, population concentration and job growth. It provides readers with the context necessary to understand design solutions that follow in subsequent sections. Transportation is a critical factor in the continued success of the megaregion, which has a robust network of roads, rail and air infrastructure. In particular, the Northeast has the advantage of a direct rail connection between Washington, D.C., and Boston: the Northeast Corridor. But much of that infrastructure is at or above capacity, or is beyond its useful life. Some proposed upgrades to the corridor will therefore be discussed in detail. As an inventory of current conditions in the megaregion shows, the Northeast represents this country’s most strategic investment in passenger rail travel, particularly high-speed rail. Its population size, economic strength, transit connections and important geographic nodes make it a region unique to the United States and ultimately to the world.


Washington, D.C.


ANCHORED BY GREAT CITIES But this story is about more than just numbers. The economy of the Northeast Megaregion is anchored by a string of cities that are among the country’s oldest, largest and most influential. They serve as job centers and engines of entrepreneurship, bringing people together for business or simply to exchange ideas. Of equal importance, however, is that they are also hubs of American culture, media, history, tourism and retailing. Together, they represent the megaregion’s largest investment in the built environment. WASHINGTON, D.C.: The political capital of the United States and southern boundary of the Northeast Corridor, this global knowledge city encapsulates government, history and culture, and serves as a home to several prestigious universities, numerous federal agencies and national centers for the arts.


BALTIMORE: This “city of neighborhoods” is home to major education and medical institutions. A former industrial town, the renowned port city now hosts a growing share of the megaregion’s financial, research and health services industries. PHILADELPHIA: A commercial and education center, Philadelphia is home to some of the world’s top universities and research facilities. The city’s rich history also makes it a hub for landmark architecture, worldclass restaurants, renowned cultural institutions and growing tourism.

New York City

NEW YORK CITY: The economic engine of the megaregion and the nation, New York anchors the middle of the Northeast Corridor. The nation’s most populous city is also the financial and commercial capital of the country, the home of more than 25 Fortune 500 companies, and a world center of arts, media and culture. BOSTON: The unofficial “capital of New England,” Boston is a global center for education and research, complemented by a strong biotechnology industry. The city’s rich history predates the founding of the country.



The megaregion also contains a constellation of other cities and towns. Interwoven among the region’s five large metropolises is a tapestry of medium-sized cities, small towns and historic communities. They represent national historic treasures like Plymouth, Mass., and Mystic, Conn.; places of incredible natural beauty such as Cape Cod and the Berkshires, Mass.; world-renowned centers of education and research like New Haven, Conn., and New Brunswick and Princeton, N.J.; and former industrial boomtowns and state capitals which, with the right combination of investments, are poised to grow again, such as Trenton, N.J., and Providence, R.I.

02 - Analysis of Existing Conditions

TRANSPORTATION The Northeast benefits from an intricate web of transportation networks, including the nation’s densest concentration of urban, regional intercity rail networks, which weave together major cities and small towns, connecting people, places, goods and ideas. As the country’s first major industrialized area, the Northeast has seen enormous investment in transportation infrastructure over time, starting with freight and passenger rail systems and continuing to the present with highways and airports. The Northeast was also home to what was arguably the nation’s first infrastructure mega-project: the Erie Canal, which served as a conduit for raw materials and finished goods between the East Coast and Midwest, and became the first high-volume supply line for the development of the interior of the country. These projects have continued throughout the region’s history, from the nation’s first subway system in Boston to its recent Central Artery/Tunnel project (also know as “The Big Dig”). The Northeast is also well-served by extensive road and rail (local, regional and long-haul) networks that facilitate large flows of people and freight across and within the megaregion. Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor services, for example, carried approximately 18.9 million passengers in 2009, 19 while intracorridor air traffic totaled approximately 11.2 million trips. 20 The region has 90 percent of the nation’s heavy-rail ridership on its extensive public transportation networks, with people in the largest cities making particular use of transit for commuting or leisure travel. Ten port authorities operate within the corridor, with a combined total of annual freight handled in excess of 290 million tons. 21 The need for overland movement of incoming and outgoing freight from these facilities puts demands on the rail and roadway networks in addition to freight flows to and from the rest of the country.

work from home walk, bicycle, etc public transportation carpool drive alone

80% 60% 40% 20%

Commuter mode choice: Percentages vary throughout the Northeast’s cities, but public transportation shares are all above the national average. 22



The costs of congestion: Delays and their effects by metropolitan area. 26

Urban Area Washington DC-VA-MD New York-Newark NY-NJ-CT Baltimore MD Boston MA-NH-RI Philadelphia PA-NJ-DE-MD Bridgeport-Stamford CT-NY Providence RI-MA Hartford CT New Haven CT National Average Northeast Totals

Annual Delay per Traveler (hrs) 62 44 44 43 38 33 29 21 19 41

Wasted Fuel per Traveler (gals) 42 28 32 29 24 27 18 15 14 28

Annual Delay Total (hrs) 133,862 379,328 56,964 91,052 112,074 16,077 19,937 10,147 5,728 3,592,338 825,169

is, driving in the nation’s capital may soon cost drivers 115 hours every year, or nearly three full work weeks! 24 As in the United States as a whole, this state of affairs is the result of the megaregion’s postwar development in low-density, automobile-based suburbs organized around the interstate highways. Consequently, the highways have become the primary means of access to employment, goods and services for an increasingly dispersed population. This pattern of dispersion—coupled with jurisdictional fragmentation, which produces competition to maximize tax bases while minimizing demand for services—led to a vicious cycle of urban decline and increasing demand for further development at the periphery. This has required everincreasing amounts of roadway capacity. The Northeast also suffers from a unique roadway problem associated with the overlapping of metropolitan regions. Interstate highways, originally built to foster long-distance trips between states, are now used primarily for metropolitan commuting. Movement between cities at most points during the day is, therefore, severely constrained by growing congestion. 25 While these dynamics have been recognized and some efforts made to alleviate them, large portions of the roadway network in the Northeast continue to operate at or above capacity for substantial periods of the day, especially within and around major urban centers. But additional highway capacity will not solve the problem of congestion, as congestion itself represents the equilibrium point of what commuters are willing to pay in time costs. The duration of their daily commutes and additional capacity will be consumed by additional demand as the cost of travel falls. Put simply, a city or region cannot build itself out of congestion, but it can plan for increased demand for roadway capacity by focusing efforts on other modes and attempting to shift that demand to them. In the Northeast, investments in rail infrastructure instead of highways may prove much more elastic, with marginally increased speeds and cost differentials drawing considerably higher ridership.


Wasted Fuel Total (gals) 90,801 238,934 41,777 60,985 71,262 12,759 12,114 7,201 4,225 2,473,532 540,058

Congestion Cost ($ million) 2,762 8,180 1,276 1,996 2,316 350 386 203 117 75,761 17,586

The Costs of Congestion


Wasted Hours (20,625 weeks of vacation time)


Wasted Gallons of Gasoline

$17.6 billion Total Costs of Congestion

5,240 tons

CO2 Emissions 27


METROPOLITAN AREA RAIL SYSTEMS WASHINGTON, D.C., AND BALTIMORE: This metropolitan region is served by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA). WMATA operates commuter rail subway service in Washington, Maryland and Virginia. The MTA administers MARC, a commuter train connecting Baltimore and Washington, and subway and light rail services in Baltimore. Combined, the Washington-Baltimore system transports nearly one million riders per day on 338 miles of track. Amtrak trains serve Washington’s Union Station and Baltimore’s Penn Station. 34 PHILADELPHIA: Philadelphia and surrounding counties are served by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s (SEPTA) bus, subway and elevated rail, commuter rail, light rail and trolleybus. SEPTA has 280 active stations, 2,295 revenue vehicles and 196 routes. More than 450 miles of track serve 500,000 daily riders. SEPTA’s stations are also served by NJ Transit. SEPTA’s R7 Trenton service connects with NJ Transit, and Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station is served by NJ Transit’s Atlantic City Line. Amtrak stops at Philadelphia’s historic 30th Street Station. 35

Washington, D.C., and Baltimore


NEW YORK: With more than eight million daily riders and more than 2,000 miles of track, New York boasts one of the most well-known transit systems in the world. Several different transit operators carry passengers in and around New York, including the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), which operates 385 bus and 23 subway lines; PATH, the Port Authority Trans-Hudson, which links several cities in New Jersey to New York; Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), a commuter service that connects through the length of Long Island; and Metro-North Commuter Railroad, which is the second busiest commuter railroad in the United States. Metro-North runs from New York City to New York and Connecticut suburbs. 36 BOSTON: The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) operates bus, subway, commuter rail and ferry systems in the Greater Boston region. The MBTA has 432 miles of track and carries nearly one million riders daily. There system boasts 123 commuter rail stations, almost 100 light rail stops and 50 subway stations. Amtrak trains terminate at either South Station (most trains) or North Station, which serves the Downeaster route to Portland, Maine. 37

New York

Boston Metropolitan area rail systems: Backbone of the regional transit system.



THE NORTHEAST CORRIDOR The Northeast Corridor (NEC) is the backbone of the megaregion’s rail transportation network. It is the actual infrastructure that runs 457 miles from Washington, D.C., to Boston, with significant feeder lines to Richmond, Va., Harrisburg, Pa., Albany, N.Y., and Springfield, Mass. The fully electrified route supports more than 2,600 total daily passenger trains as well as freight services. 38 By far America’s busiest rail corridor, it sees more than 250 million passengers as well as several thousand freight trains travel along its tracks annually. 39 Amtrak operates a number of services along the Northeast Corridor, including the Acela Express and Northeast Regional that serve the corridor directly, and Amtrak’s long-distance services, many of which originate or terminate in the corridor and service points outside of the Northeast. The NEC is the busiest intercity passenger rail line (in terms of ridership and frequency of service) in the United States with approximately 13 million passengers in 2008. The southern end of the line (from D.C. to New York) is two- to four-times busier than the northern half (New York to Boston). Half of Amtrak’s 10 busiest stations are in the Northeast. 40 The Acela Express—the company’s signature express train service— attains speeds of up to 150 mph (but averages speeds of 70 mph) and carries three million passengers annually. It stops in 15 cities with an average distance of 43 miles between stations. 41 The Northeast Regional operates at speeds up to 125 mph and makes more frequent stops (25 stops; average of 23 miles between stations). This is Amtrak’s busiest route, with 6.9 million passengers per year. 42 Together, the Acela Express and the Northeast Regional generate more than half of Amtrak’s total revenue. Feeder route and long-distance trains also operate over some portion of the NEC, including the Keystone, Crescent, Pennsylvanian, Adirondack, Carolinian and Ethan Allen Express. Acela Express currently offers 300 seats per train, or about 15,000 seats per day. Other systems around the world offer at least double the capacity of Acela, including systems that serve city pairs that are less populous than the Northeast Corridor cities. 43


02 - Analysis of Existing Conditions

THE NORTHEAST CORRIDOR: MAJOR CHALLENGES The Northeast Corridor is currently experiencing myriad problems, from a complex ownership and operations structure to a looming backlog of deferred maintenance. Understanding each of these problems will be instrumental in designing a feasible plan for high-speed rail service and increased connectivity along the corridor. OWNERSHIP Ownership and operation of this transportation resource is fragmented. Amtrak, the intercity operator, owns 363 miles of the main line plus the Springfield and Harrisburg branch lines and a portion of the branch line to Albany. Other portions of the main line are owned by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (46 miles), Metro-North Railroad (10 miles) and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (38 miles). CSX Transportation owns the other major branch lines, including the bulk of the Albany line and the entire line from Washington, D.C., to Richmond. 47 COMPLEXITY OF OPERATION In total, 9 different passenger train operators are active on the NEC main line. Eight are commuter railroad operations, each with its own set of structures, protocols and demands. They are as follows: • Amtrak • Massachusets Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) • ConnDOT/Shore Line East (SLE) • Metro-North Commuter Railroad (MNR) • Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) • New Jersey Transit (NJT) • Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) • Maryland Area Rail Commuter (MARC) • Virginia Railway Express (VRE) These commuter services carry the majority of passenger traffic on the NEC. According to Amtrak, the state-sponsored commuter railroads account for 245 million of the 258 million annual trips taken on the corridor. 48 However, since commuters travel much shorter distances per


02 - Analysis of Existing Conditions

trip than the average Amtrak passenger, Amtrak carries more than 45 percent of the corridor’s total annual passenger miles. 49 Additionally, seven different freight railroads currently operate on portions of the NEC, resulting in more than 50 freight trains per day on the Amtrak-owned parts of the corridor. 50 In fact, only two portions of the entire Amtrak-owned network see no daily freight service: between Sunnyside Yard in New York and Harrison, N.J., and between Landover, Md., and Washington, D.C. In total, however, these two areas account for only 20 miles of Amtrak’s 363-mile network. 51 RELIABILITY Of all operators on the NEC, Amtrak has the poorest on-time performance. In recent years, 85 to 90 percent of Acela trains have reached their destinations on time. Amtrak’s Northeast Regional service accomplishes this only 75 to 80 percent of the time. Per 150 miles of journey, Amtrak trains experience an average of seven minutes of train delay (above and beyond a built-in “pad” of 10 to 20 minutes of recovery time). Delay minutes increased 13 percent in 2008 alone—and the situation will not improve without major investment in the corridor. 52 SPEED AND CAPACITY CONSTRAINTS The NEC has many physical constraints that limit speed on the line, including: • Tight curves • Tunnels more than 100 years old • Junction and signaling challenges • Shared track with commuter rail and freight operators • Grade crossings When the NEC is analyzed in terms of the Federal Railroad Administration’s accepted designations of types of “high-speed” rail, the current corridor speeds are mixed. Sixty percent of track is capable of speeds of only 110 mph or less. 53 For the Northeast Corridor to achieve true high-speed rail, or HSR Express service of more than 150 mph, significant upgrades to the infrastructure and train sets are necessary. As listed above, several different types of issues currently impede high-speed operation along the NEC. Some particularly notable speed constraints include the section of track owned by Metro-North Railroad, where Amtrak is contractually limited to 90 mph service and where Metro-North trains receive signal priority over Amtrak at the



Speed Constraints on the Existing Northeast Corridor

Percent of Track Capable of Particular Speeds

100.0% 90.0% 80.0% 70.0% 60.0% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 10.0%

95 10 0 10 5 11 0 11 5 12 0 12 5 13 0 13 5 14 0 14 5 15 0


















Maximum Speed (mph) NYC Ñ BOS


Entire NEC

Speed profile: Northeast Corridor.

New Rochelle junction north of New York City. Several lift and swing bridges also limit speeds and volumes in the corridor, including three over navigable waterways in southeastern Connecticut and three in the Chesapeake Bay region in northern Maryland. CAPACITY According to Amtrak’s Infrastructure Master Plan, one-third of the track segments from Washington to Boston are operating at or above 75 percent capacity. 54 The urban areas, particularly the New York City region stretching from Trenton, N.J., to Stamford, Conn., and areas in the vicinity of Baltimore, Wilmington and Boston, are noted as especially capacity-constrained. In some instances, these represent choke points where an otherwise three- or four-track railroad briefly has only two tracks; in other cases, such as in Boston, additional track or station capacity is limited by an area’s dense urban form. MAINTENANCE The NEC has not been in a true state of good repair since the day it was conveyed to Amtrak in 1976. Since Amtrak lacks a dedicated source of infrastructure maintenance and repair funding, congressional appropriations occur on a year-to-year basis. Only the recent passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the “Stimulus Bill”) has allowed Amtrak to begin to eliminate some of its backlog of deferred maintenance. Amtrak estimates that an annual appropriation of approximately $700 million will be necessary in coming years to remove this backlog by 2023 (a typical appropriation today is $400 million). In total, Amtrak estimates a maintenance backlog of $4.7 billion. 55


02 - Analysis of Existing Conditions

THE COST OF INCREMENTAL IMPR OVEMENTS Amtrak’s recent Master Plan, coupled with a report discussing the infrastructure requirements necessary to make moderate travel time improvements along the NEC, provides a rough estimate of the order-ofmagnitude cost of incremental improvements along the NEC. First, as noted above, approximately $4.7 billion is needed to remove the current backlog that resulted from long-term deferred investment in the Amtrak-owned portion of the corridor. An additional $3.2 billion represents the estimated backlog on the Metro-North portion of the corridor. 56 These investments should be seen as essential to future safe, reliable and efficient operation on the corridor. Costs for normal replacement—that is, to retain regular maintenance of the existing railroad so that new maintenance problems do not develop even while old ones are resolved—are estimated at $9.1 billion through 2030. 57 Finally, by far the largest section of costs is the capital cost associated with providing the improvements necessary to increase capacity and improve travel times to meet the demands expected by 2030. Amtrak estimates these costs at $32.3 billion by 2030, with $10.2 billion set aside for targeted improvements to directly reduce travel times. This does not include costs for rolling stock improvements, which are a separate budget item, at an estimated $2.3 billion. 58 These costs together represent the levels of investment needed simply to improve what is on the ground today through a series of incremental changes. It will allow for faster Acela service, but will still not provide the infrastructure necessary for true high-speed trains or provide capacity for projected increases in travel demand. To go above and beyond this master plan would involve a bold paradigm shift in national rail planning, in which the long-term costs of incrementalism are more carefully considered and alternatives afforded greater credence. That approach may be just the shift needed to reassert the primacy of rail transportation in the corridor, better connect disparate geographic and economic regions, and make the region more competitive in a global, 21st-century economy.


Amtrak Master Plan: Deferred maintenance costs. 59 Cost Project Type


Track Interlocking Reconstruction Subgrade Replacement Electric Traction System Replace Substations/Transformers Catenary System Rehabilitation Signal System Interlocking Signals Replacement Automatic Block Signal (ABS) System Replacement CETC Construction Stations/Facilities Facilities Stations ADA Replacement of Bridges/Structures NY Tunnel Structural Rehab Corn River Bridge Pelham Bay Bridge Portal Bridge B & P Tunnel Bush Bridge Susquehanna Bridge Gunpow Bridge Fixed Bridge Replacement Total



$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

800 185 350 50 300 255 100 100 55 315 85 230 2,839 214 200 100 250 1,000 150 500 200 225 4,744

Amtrak Master Plan: Capital costs. Cost Project Type Infrastructure Tunnels Moveable Bridges Fixed Bridges Track Major Terminals Propulsion Signals and Catenary Stations Facilities Total

(millions) $ 36,693 $ 11,142 $ 8,034 $ 1,818 $ 10,727 $ 2,625 $ 618 $ 1,729 $ 2,567 $ 1,003 $ 40,263


High-speed trains: The future of mobility on the Northeast Corridor.

03 03 DESIGNING A HIGH-SPEED RAIL SERVICE To remain globally competitive in the 21st century, the Northeast Megaregion needs 21st-century infrastructure. In particular, its intercity rail infrastructure—the Northeast Corridor—is aging and underdeveloped. America’s preeminent passenger rail corridor is in need of a bold paradigm shift to remain competitive on a global scale. While European and Asian megaregions are increasingly interconnected by trains reaching speeds of more than 180 mph, Amtrak’s Acela Express averages only 70 to 80 mph over its route. This chapter presents a proposal for a revitalized Northeast Corridor, anchored by two dedicated high-speed rail tracks between Washington, D.C., and Boston. This innovative proposal maximizes the potential of existing rights-of-way while suggesting several new routes and alignments that can dramatically improve service speeds and reliability throughout the corridor. By improving service with a new alignment and service plan, the Northeast Corridor has the potential to triple its current ridership by 2040, and to transform mobility and connectivity throughout the region, fulfilling its economic potential and promoting sustainable, equitable growth.



Acela Express: The Only “High-Speed” Service in the United States In 1999 Amtrak released a plan for high-speed service in the Northeast. Engineers finished electrifying the Northeast Corridor from Washington, D.C., to Boston, and also made other necessary improvements for highspeed operations, such as removing at-grade crossings with roadways. However, a major difference between U.S. “high-speed” service and that of services in Japan, France and many other countries remained: the American trains still do not have dedicated high-speed track. The new Acela Express high-speed service had to run on 19th-century rightsof-way, constrained by tightly curving track and competing train operations. Accordingly, Acela reaches its maximum speed of 150 mph on only two short sections of the corridor. Nonetheless, the Acela Express service had an immediate impact on rail’s mode share in the Northeast. Before Acela, 64 percent of passengers between New York and Washington, D.C., traveled by air. After Acela began running in 1999, the rail market share grew 53 percent of all air-rail passengers. Similarly, between New York and Boston, Amtrak’s mode share increased from 18 percent to 40 percent. 1 These mode shifts are clear evidence that the market exists and that passengers will ride fast trains in the Northeast Corridor.

WHAT IS HIGH-SPEED RAIL? Americans have had precious few encounters with true high-speed rail service. Internationally, a high-speed service is defined as regularly operates at speeds exceeding 250 kilometers per hour (160 mph). Several systems, including those in France, Japan, Spain and China, operate well above this speed, exceeding 300 kilometers per hour (186 mph), gaining ridership and providing energy-efficient mobility. But in the United States, even the Acela Express, often touted as America’s only high-speed service, reaches speeds in excess of 125 mph on limited sections of its route because of the significant limitations of the existing Northeast Corridor. In this report, high-speed rail refers exclusively to service that operates above 125 mph and the high-speed proposal detailed in this chapter is envisioned (conservatively) for trains operating in the range of 180 mph and achieving average speeds of approximately 150 mph. This allows room for growth: most future high-speed lines, such as HS2 in the United Kingdom and the proposed California High-Speed Rail system are being designed to reach top speeds of at least 220 mph.

THE DESIGN CHALLENGE The proposal detailed in this chapter is a bold, innovative and forwardlooking approach to solving the design challenge of building a dedicated high-speed rail right-of-way along the 454-mile spine of the Northeast Corridor between Washington, D.C. and Boston. The design challenge is to accomplish nothing short of threading a dedicated high-speed rail alignment into the densest region in the country, through several of the largest and densest cities in the United States, while weaving it into one of the most complex and busiest passenger and freight rail systems in the world. The design seeks to create a system that minimizes construction costs while maximizing benefits and being bold enough in vision and in substance to revolutionize mobility throughout the Northeast. The design team sought to mix an inventive vision with grounded practicality in a way that identifies feasible projects that are challenging to the status quo. The guiding principles of the design are explained in the next section. This proposal is neither the fastest possible route nor the most forward-looking, best-possible solution, but it is a superior alternative to continued incremental upgrades that invest extensive resources while achieving only marginal benefits.


03 - Designing a High-Speed Rail Service

DESIGN PRINCIPLES FOR HIGH-SPEED RAIL IN THE NORTHEAST INCREASE CAPACITY: Two new, dedicated high-speed intercity tracks are crucial to freeing up capacity for intercity services and for relieving capacity on crowded commuter rail lines across the Northeast. The eight commuter rail operators, carrying more than 240 million passengers per year, need this capacity to expand their services. Nearly one-third of the NEC already operates at 75 percent capacity or worse. MAKE TRAVEL TIME COMPETITIVE: Dedicated high-speed intercity tracks will allow rail trip times that are faster than driving and flying times throughout the Northeast, making rail the mode of choice for intercity trips. MAXIMIZE ACCESSIBILITY AND INCREASE RIDERSHIP: The new high-speed rail alignment maximizes opportunities to connect to local transportation hubs, commuter rail stations and international airports, improving customer accessibility and expanding the rail market. UTILIZE EXISTING ROW/MINIMIZE TAKINGS: The new alignment follows existing rights-of-way, or utilizes vacant land, industrial sites and utility rights-of-way, to the greatest extent possible in ways that minimize takings of residences and other private property. CATALYZE DEVELOPMENT: New station locations were deliberately selected to spur new, high-speed-rail-oriented urban development and infill development. SIMPLIFY AND AMPLIFY LOCAL TRANSIT CONNECTIONS: For too long the Northeast’s intercity services have not been well coordinated with local transportation services. The new alignment and station designs directly connect these assets, making transfers and interconnections seamless. OFFER A HIERARCHY OF SERVICE: Two new, dedicated highspeed tracks will vastly increase the operational flexibility of the railroad. This allows for a wider range of express and local services, offering customers far more choices regarding speed and destinations. LIMIT CAPITAL COSTS: High-speed rail infrastructure is expensive, but you get what you pay for. The proposed dedicated high-speed alignment balances forward-thinking capital investments with the constraints of the Northeast to create infrastructure that will serve the megaregion for decades to come.



are examples of this approach. These stations can also accommodate high-speed commuter services, following the model of the U.K.’s Javelin service. Type II stations host high-speed trains and commuter rail. These designs are similar to Type I, with high-speed rail in the center and commuter rail to the outside of station platforms. This allows for simple crossplatform transfers between commuter rail and high-speed rail. Stations in Odenton, Md., Newark, Del., Cornwells Heights, Pa., and MetroWest outside of Boston are examples of this model. Type III stations are similar to Type II stations, except Type III are located in areas with constrained rights-of-way. New Carrollton, Md., BWI Airport and Aberdeen, Md., are examples of stations have little room for outward expansion, so providing separated tracks above or below existing stations is necessary. Thus, nonstop high-speed trains utilize an aerial structure or tunnel to safely bypass the station. Type IV stations will continue to serve commuter trains, allowing high-speed trains to bypass the station through a tunnel or on an aerial structure. Examples of Type IV include the many small commuter stations along the Long Island Rail Road, such as Wyandanch, Deer Park and Brentwood.

Type I Basic High-Speed Station

Type II High-Speed + Commuter Station (w/ Station Bypass)

Type III High-Speed + Commuter Station (in Constrained ROW)

TRACK IMPROVEMENTS When designing for a high-speed track within or near the existing right-of-way, several different types of improvements are proposed, as represented by the diagrams below. These track improvements serve particular design goals: Types 1, III and V offer capacity expansion and dedicated HSR tracks; Type II offers new market access for rail; and Types I, IV and V offer speed improvements over current conditions. Type I Add Track

Type II Add Station

Type III Bypass Station

Type IV Straighten S-Curve

Type V Remove Bottleneck

Type IV High-Speed Bypass of Commuter Station (in Constrained ROW)

HSR Alignment HSR Bypass - Aerial or Tunnel Commuter Rail Alignment HSR Station Stopping Alignment Station Platform



OPERATIONS AND MAINTENANCE Globally, some high-speed rail systems are able to turn operating profits on their high-speed rail systems—examples include the Eurostar service between London, Brussels and Paris, and SNCF’s TGV operations. Indeed, contrary to a widely held belief that all American passenger rail is unprofitable, Amtrak currently makes a profit of approximately $9 per passenger on its Northeast Corridor services (Amtrak Five-Year Plan, FY 2010-2014). A future high-speed system in the Northeast should also be expected to turn operating profits. To examine the feasibility of this, the studio estimated operations and maintenance costs of a new high-speed line at several levels of potential ridership. Operating costs were based off a 2003 study of the proposed California Operations and Maintenance Unit Costs HSR system, then increased by 20 percent to adjust for increased costs Track Infrasctructure Costs in the Northeast. All amounts are given in 2010 dollars. The break-even ($ Per Train Mile) fare indicates the average fare that would be required to sustain the California HSR Northeast HSR service; some passengers would pay more while other passengers would Cost Category Plan Estimate Plan Estimate pay less. IRR stands for internal rate of return, and is a key metric for Station Services $0.64 $0.76 profitability­­—the potential for a 17 percent return on investment would Insurance $1.56 $1.87 attract private capital to system operations.

Operations and Maintenance Unit Costs

General Support



Maintenance of Way



Total Cost per Train Mile



System Operation Costs

Track Infrasctructure Costs

($ Per Train Mile)

($ Per Train Mile) California HSR

Northeast HSR

California HSR

Northeast HSR

Cost Category

Plan Estimate

Plan Estimate

Plan Estimate

Plan Estimate

Station Services



Train Operations






Equipment Maintenance



General Support



Marketing and Reservations



Maintenance of Way






Total Cost per Train Mile



Total Cost per Train Mile



System Operation Costs

Projected Fare Requirements To Recover Operations and Maintenance Costs ($ Per Train Mile) California HSR

Northeast HSR

Minimal O/M Annual Scenario High O/M Annual Cost Scenario PlanCost Estimate Plan Estimate Train Operations Annual Equipment Maintenance O/M Costs Passengers Marketing and Reservations (millions of $) (millions) Power

1,118 Total20 Cost per Train Mile

$7.78 $9.12 Break-Even $1.64 Fare ($) $5.50

$9.33 17% IRR $10.95 O/M Costs Fare ($) $1.97 (millions of $) $6.60


17% IRR

Fare ($)

Fare ($)

$55.90 $24.04

$65.40 $28.841,542


































888 track miles 87 miles of tunnel 53 miles of elevated structure 9 new stations 20 upgraded stations 42 acres new ROW 3,330 acres total ROW 180+ mph top speed 155 mph average speed

Finally, the question arises of when and in what order the new highspeed line should be built. Some projects had a logical order: The projects near New York City are a priority because without these capacity expansions, much of the value of other projects would be diminished. Additionally, the northern end segment from Boston to New Haven was prioritized since its construction will give the Northeast its first true taste of high-speed rail, which should help fuel the desire to complete the system. PHASE 1: ESTABLISHING A FOUNDATION The first phase focuses on making the critical improvements that increase capacity and set the foundation for the improvements of later stages. The focus of the phase is on creating the high-speed alignment between New York and Philadelphia, as well as beginning the tunnel into Charles Center Station in Baltimore. On the north end, the first major project undertaken will be building the high-speed alignment between New Haven and Boston, which when completed will create the country’s longest high-speed corridor. PHASE 2: FINISHING THE SOUTH; BEGINNING THE TUNNEL By the completion of the second phase, two portions of the corridor will be capable of full high-speed service: the entire southern end from New York to Washington, D.C., and the northern section from New Haven to Boston. Attention will switch in this phase to connecting these two segments through Long Island, with construction along and under the Long Island Rail Road alignment and the start of the Long Island Sound Tunnel linking New York and Connecticut. PHASE 3: A COMPLETED LINE The last phase will see the completion of the high-speed line through Long Island and the connection through the Long Island Sound Tunnel, allowing full high-speed service along the entire Northeast Corridor. With the completion of the tunnel, the “figure eight” pattern of service on the northern end will be operational, offering faster speeds and higher-quality services to passengers originating along the coastal route through connections in New Haven.


03 - Designing a High-Speed Rail Service

CHALLENGES This proposal, which recommends significant alignment adjustments and bold new construction on the current Northeast Corridor, carries with it a complex array of challenges. While any large public project will face a number of challenges, the sheer scale of the Northeast Corridor, the complexity of its current infrastructure systems, and the density of its cities will make these challenges particularly acute. PHYSICAL To construct two dedicated high-speed rail tracks, the proposal uses existing freight and passenger rail infrastructure, its associated rightof-way (ROW), and additional public ROW along interstate highway or utility corridors. Where use of these is impossible—because of speed, size or ownership constraints—more complicated solutions are necessary. Generally, the project calls for four types of construction: upgrading the existing NEC network; connecting the NEC to unused freight and passenger rail infrastructure; acquiring land and building new infrastructure; and tunneling in areas with high population density or under major geographic barriers like the Long Island Sound. FISCAL Perhaps the greatest challenge facing the project is money. At nearly $100 billion, it represents the largest investment in infrastructure in the Northeast in decades—and the first time such a project has been attempted since the postwar interstate era. But when viewed from a broader perspective, construction of the corridor would represent only about three percent of the megaregion’s annual GDP, and the cost would be spread over a decade or more. Further, the investment has the potential to be transformative, making the economy of the Northeast more competitive and dynamic in a manner that far outweighs its cost. POLITICAL The Northeast Corridor passes through eight states and the District of Columbia, and the successful implementation of high-speed rail service will depend on them working together. That is, it must somehow balance the interests of 16 U.S. senators, 99 U.S. representatives, hundreds of state senators and representatives, federal and state departments of transportation, hundreds of counties, thousands of municipalities, and dozens of multistate or special-purpose organizations, such the Environmental Protection Agency. The political challenge of making this happen is difficult, and will require a strong belief in the overall vision as well as an ability to find ways for each group to gain benefits from HSR.



Tram and cyclists in Strasbourg, France.

04 04 DESIGNING LOCAL AND REGIONAL CONNECTIONS For high-speed rail to serve as an effective substitute for air and automobile travel, it must be capable of delivering passengers not only to HSR stations, but to the destinations themselves. In the immediate station vicinity, where stations are integral elements of the central business district or other centered development, this is best accomplished by creating pedestrian-first environments, encouraging walking as the mode of choice. At the city or regional scale, this “last-mile problem� can be solved one of two ways: by providing direct, convenient links to transit services, or by providing large-scale, airport-style parking and rental car services. Bicycles and taxis also serve certain segments of rail riders. Strong connections to multiple forms of transit at HSR stations will allow local and regional networks to assume the primary role as effective feeder and dispersion systems for HSR riders. In order to realize this potential, HSR stations must be thoroughly integrated with other available modes, including commuter rail, subways, buses, light rail, and active transportation modes like cycling and walking. HSR stations should provide user-friendly experiences with multimodal access, connections to many origins and destinations, simple transfers and navigation, and complementary ticketing and scheduling between different modes and operators. 53

The Northeast Corridor is home to the nation’s densest collection of transit networks. Each of the corridor’s five largest cities has at least one rapid transit system, and thousands of miles of regional and commuter rail networks extend from the city centers. Combined with bus systems, light rail networks and a walkable urban form in most cities, high-speed rail can create a seamless, intercity door-to-door transit experience in a way that is unattainable with traditional automobile and air transportation. Transit connections are already in place at many of the stations that will be part of the high-speed rail network, but the current user experiences differ dramatically between stations. When choosing a mode of travel, comfort, convenience, time and cost are among the most important factors in an individual’s decision-making process, and all must be considered so potential users are not deterred. If accessing the HSR system is entirely or primarily dependent on a park-and-ride model, the line will lose riders who see using their cars for the entirety of their trip as preferable to driving to the station. An overemphasis on private vehicles as a mode of station access will reduce riders for the proposed HSR system and undercut its economic and mobility benefits to the whole megaregion. Even a full parking garage at an HSR station is the sign of unfilled promise, as development potential is lost to parking and roadway facilities, and pedestrian amenities are reduced by congested, traffic-filled station areas. In order for high-speed rail to emerge as a competitive mode in the Northeast, this service must be well-integrated with expanded transit systems in the cities it serves, and new development must be organized around these systems. When considering retrofits of existing stations, or the construction of dedicated HSR stations, there are four principles of good connectivity design and intermodal linkage that can contribute to increased ridership and more sustainable urban form. These principles are as follows: I. CONNECT TO LOCAL SUBCENTERS II. PROMOTE TRANSIT, WALKABILITY AND BICYCLE ACCESS III. C OORDINATE FARES, TICKETING AND SCHEDULES IV. C REATE SIMPLE AND DIRECT PATHS AND SIGNAGE The following sections will explain each of these principles in more detail, along with their applicability in the context of cities on the Northeast Corridor.


04 - Designing Local and Regional Connections

PROMOTE TRANSIT, WALKABILITY AND BICYCLE ACCESS The utility of HSR depends on the ease with which riders can access routes to and from the station to complete the first and last miles of their trip. Currently, many stations in urban centers are flanked with parking structures or surface lots. While some parking infrastructure may be necessary, public transportation and active modes such as walking and bicycling should be encouraged in place of driving to solve the “last-mile problem.� Particularly for stations in central cities, the station areas should be exceptionally pedestrian-friendly environments, including sidewalks and clearly marked crosswalks, with traffic-calming measures taming the speed and flow of automobiles on surrounding streets. Consideration should also be paid to bicycle trips to and from the station by providing bicycle parking and bike sharing at the station, creating marked and delineated paths and on-street lanes, and encouraging policies that facilitate taking bicycles on HSR trains. Car sharing, though it does not preclude the need for station-area parking, is also a growing mode in many urban areas, particularly with the growth of national brands such as ZipCar. ZipCar executives recently stated that analysis of member use patterns suggests that one shared car can replace as many as 15 private cars. 6 COMPLETE STREETS

Serving different modes: Complete Streets policies can include traffic calming, safe transit stops, and bike lanes, as shown in (from top) Amsterdam, Portland, and Philadelphia. 3,4,5


Even in urban centers, many road layouts favor vehicles over other modes. Complete Streets policies provide equity for different modes of transit, rather than this traditional pattern, which creates both actual and perceived safety increases for these users. The implementation of Complete Streets can include bus rapid transit, distinct bicycle lanes, expanded pedestrian areas, wider sidewalks and visibly differentiated crosswalks, as well as traditional vehicular traffic lanes. Coordinated planning may be required, wherein a city, transit operator or station owner may officially adopt a Complete Streets policy. In the Northeast, New Haven, Conn., has adopted a citywide Complete Streets strategy and is moving aggressively forward with its implementation.

04 - Designing Local and Regional Connections

Though it is located slightly outside the city’s central business district, the area around 30th Street Station is dense and transit-accessible, and has the potential to be an exciting hub of pedestrian activity and street life. However, the streets outside are traffic-filled near the onand off-ramps of the interchange between Interstates 76 and 676 (see photo). SEPTA subway, trolley and bus services are located on the fringes of the station, across several lanes of this traffic. Parking is also a primary use around the station, as the innermost lanes are dedicated to pick-ups, drop-offs and taxi stands. There are also distinct divides between the spaces dedicated to the different systems inside the station: namely, Amtrak, SEPTA Regional Rail and New Jersey Transit. Amtrak and NJ Transit share a scheduling board and platform space, but SEPTA platforms are located in a different wing of the station that is poorly marked, with a completely separate ticketing structure. In order to make 30th Street Station a functioning intermodal hub for HSR connectivity, wayfinding and pedestrian improvement measures should be at the forefront of station retrofits. Learning from the Legible London pilot (see sidebar) and other sophisticated urban wayfinding programs, the area around 30th Street Station could be branded with signage that would serve to orient station users upon their arrival or departure, helping both new and experienced users locate the appropriate intermodal connections, including transit, bicycle facilities or pedestrian thoroughfares. Additionally, the Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC) released a vision for the “Station Square” area on the 2900 block of Market Street, which would provide a grand public space, as well as the reconfiguration of automobile lanes, traffic buffers and extended crosswalks. 16

Station Square by daylight: Rendering of proposed pedestrian improvements from the PCPC’s Station Square Planning Study. 17



TRENTON, N.J. The Trenton Transit Center functions as an important node of rail and bus transit between Philadelphia, New York, and North and South New Jersey. In addition to being a stop on Amtrak and NJ Transit’s Northeast Corridor lines, the Transit Center is also the terminus of SEPTA’s R7 Regional Rail service, the NJ Transit River Line light rail, and several NJ Transit and SEPTA buses. However, as is the case with many NEC stations, the Trenton Transit Center is located on the periphery of the CBD and New Jersey state government headquarters, known as the Capital Complex. The route between the station and the Capital Complex is not pedestrian-friendly, as it lacks sidewalks in several points and includes intersections with U.S. Route 1; consequently, only eight percent of riders access the station on foot. NJ Transit does provide Capital Connection bus service, but several different routes and poor signage lead riders to these connections. An existing downtown circulator had its routes and schedule cut back due to low ridership. The Trenton Transit Center is also located adjacent to several residential neighborhoods, to which it also suffers from poor pedestrian connections.

A proposed Capital Complex Cirulator (C3) could replace the existing multi-line Capital Connection services in Trenton with simple scheduling, intuitive routes and innovative branding. 18


Trenton would potentially receive high-level HSR service under this proposal. Currently, the parking-focused policies and comparative lack of automobile traffic mean that rail is not the primary mode of arrival for commuters and visitors to the city. To combat this, several proposals have focused on the addition of a “jitney”-style shuttle connecting the station to the Capital Complex, to replace or work in tandem with the existing Capital Connection service. This model has been successfully used in Washington, D.C., where the DC Circulator service connects many nodes of employment and tourism throughout the district, including Union Station and dozens of Metro stops. As in Trenton, Washington was suffering from a lack of ridership on city bus lines, which the DC Circulator combated with a new, attractive fleet and an aggressive marketing campaign. The recent $46 million renovation of the station demonstrates its value to the region’s transit system, and an HSR stop at the Trenton Transit Center can be more than just a connection for SEPTA, Amtrak or NJ Transit riders; it can be a gateway into New Jersey’s capital.

04 - Designing Local and Regional Connections

NEW HAVEN, CONN. New Haven, currently a hub of education, medicine and other knowledge-sector activities, is set to become an important physical hub along the proposed HSR route, where the inland route will meet the existing Connecticut shoreline route. Union Station in New Haven is a historic rail depot that underwent a top-to-bottom rehabilitation in the 1980s. Amtrak, Metro-North and New London-bound Shoreline East trains converge at the station, in addition to Connecticut Transit local bus service and Greyhound interstate buses. Though the station layout is simple, with all train platforms closely oriented to each other and strong signage for connection to other modes, the primary mode of accessing the station is private automobiles. A transit-oriented development study commissioned by the city parking authority in 2008 recommended the construction of more than 1,500 new parking spots in several structures flanking the station, even though the station is approximately a mile from the heart of the Yale University campus and other landmarks in Downtown New Haven. 20 However, there are perceived safety issues along the route from the station to downtown, and a lack of bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure to facilitate active modes. The city is also developing plans for redevelopment of the run-down area between Union Station, Downtown and Yale-New Haven Hospital into a new medical technology district, with the goal of creating a more transit- and pedestrian-friendly district connecting all of these destinations.

Images of Union Station, New Haven, Conn.: April 2010 19


In a small city centered on a university campus, Union Station provides an excellent opportunity to promote the use of alternative forms of transit to access the station. Yale has an existing relationship with ZipCar, which could provide dedicated spaces for journeys that may be longer than walking distance. Bicycle stations or long-term locking facilities could also be implemented to encourage an active student population to access the station this way, rather than via cab. Church Street, which extends from Union Station directly to Yale’s campus, is a wide street with a median already in place; greening and Complete Streets measures could be implemented along this route in order to create a bikeway or pedway leading to the station. As bus ridership is low, a streetcar service has also been proposed in New Haven as a cost-effective economic development proposal, though one of the two proposed routes does not connect to Union Station. If this were selected, it would be a serious missed opportunity for a strong transit connection, particularly in the face of potential HSR service. 21

04 - Designing Local and Regional Connections

TRANSIT, HSR AND REGIONAL GROWTH For transit networks to work as effective feeder and dispersion systems for HSR riders, these roles will need to be acknowledged in the land use and growth management plans of local jurisdictions and regional agencies. Connecting HSR to transit networks will also provide access to long-distance travel for individuals opting to locate along those transit lines. By providing high-capacity, reliable systems for circulation within metropolitan regions, municipal and regional authorities will also be creating a physical framework around which land use and preservation policies can be constructed. The same smart growth principles that guide the development of HSR stations must guide development and redevelopment of outlying stations along the regional networks in order to produce a spatial pattern of destinations and origins that are accessible from the HSR line. Land use and growth management policies that are responsive to existing transit networks and future expansions or improvements will be necessary for directing future growth within metro regions. By selecting existing nodes along transit systems for additional development transit providers and local jurisdictions can coordinate their planning processes, in terms of zoning, permitting and service improvements to best serve both HSR passengers and those making intraregional trips. This coordinated planning also creates opportunities for the distribution of economic and transportation benefits across multiple jurisdictions within the metro region. This coordination of policy will ensure that HSR and transit can act as drivers of long-term economic growth by providing additional capacity for both inter- and intracity journeys by directing development to areas which already have high levels of accessibility and the potential for increased service. This concept will be further expanded upon in the next chapter, focusing on potentially transformative area-wide improvements that can result from thoughtfully planned HSR stations.



London’s St. Pancras Station

05 05 REDESIGNING STATIONS AND STATION AREAS Well-served by high-speed trains and local transit, thriving high-speed rail (HSR) stations can leverage their superior accessibility and place-making power to transform urban centers and catalyze transit-friendly development around stations and stops along regional systems connecting to HSR. The unique geography of the Northeast Megaregion, with cities strung like pearls along the Northeast Corridor, will enable HSR to bolster development and strengthen the sense of place around each of the proposed NEC routes’ 42 stations. Once the system is running, every station on the corridor will lie within an hour of at least one of the megaregion’s “hot-market” cities of Boston, New York and Washington, D.C. This newfound accessibility will expand market areas and generate a broad range of economic benefits; nowhere will these benefits be more apparent than in the areas around stations. Alone, improved accessibility is insufficient to transform station areas. Strong economic incentives and public/private cooperation are necessary for a comprehensive development strategy. This tandem approach will unlock the potential for stations to serve as foundations for successful economic development in the Northeast’s urban cores.


Stations are where HSR meets the city. Well-planned and well-designed stations are more than just places to process passengers. They are unique, magnetic destinations unto themselves and impressive gateways to the Northeast’s world-class cities and small towns; they are places where you want to spend time. Stations anchor livable urban centers and are integrated with surrounding neighborhoods and the entire city by local transportation connections. HSR can strengthen the economy of both strong- and weak-economy cities if it is paired with strong public/ private development incentives. Station designs that incorporate the five principles illustrated in this chapter will create the greatest benefits for the Northeast’s cities and the Northeast Megaregion. Union Station, Washington, D.C.: Retail and public space. 7

James A. Farley Post Office: Across from Penn Station, the James A. Farley building will soon become Moynihan Station, a grand gateway to New York. 11


The great train stations of the world are inspirational landmarks that express the ingenuity of their builders and the transformative potential of travel by rail. Grand Central Terminal in New York, known for its majestic main concourse, created a new central business district in Midtown Manhattan. Kyoto Station in Japan incorporates HSR and mixed-use development into a magnificent heritage city. And St. Pancras Station, home to Eurostar, is transforming the largest brownfield site in Europe into a new development nexus for Central London. Modern stations further demonstrate the transformative power of train stations. Euralille in Lille, France, catalyzed the regeneration of a historic but left-behind post-industrial city into an international commercial center. Stratford Station in London will be the international gateway to the 2012 Olympic Games and the spark for the regeneration of derelict lands in East London. The new Penn-Moynihan Station in New York will recall the now-demolished landmark Pennsylvania Station in a new gateway to America’s greatest city that will anchor new development on Manhattan’s Far West Side.

05 - Redesigning Stations and Station Areas

STATION AND STATION-AREA DESIGN PRINCIPLES The following five principles create a framework for the development of stations and station areas in a way that maximizes the transformative benefits of high-speed rail. In the absence of policies and projects that advance these principles, the full benefits of high-speed rail will not be realized. CREATE MAGNETIC DESTINATIONS: High-speed rail stations are important destinations that create the greatest value when they are not merely places for passenger processing but also become distinctive destinations, linked to public space, retail and mixed-use development. SERVE AS GATEWAYS: Train stations are gateways to cities, and serve this role best when they express a sense of welcome and leave a positive and memorable impression on those traveling through. A welldesigned and inspiring station strengthens a city’s identity. CATALYZE WALKABLE, COMPACT, CENTERED DEVELOPMENT: HSR stations that pair megaregional high-speed rail service with local transit access can become the most accessible abd high-value location within a city. Bolstered by superior accessibility, station areas support high-density development and significant mixed-use centers. LINK TRANSPORTATION INVESTME NT AND THE FORM IN WHICH CITIES GROW: HSR linked to regional transportation can provide an impetus toward centered development at nodes throughout the metropolitan area. In addition, HSR service to airports will not only increase the capacity of airports for long-haul flights; it can also spur the development of airport cities as locations for economic development. STRENGTHEN WEAK- AND STRONG-ECONOMY CITIES: High-speed rail and innovative public/private development incentives can transform the land markets around HSR stations and at other transitserved destinations. All cities require strong planning and economic incentives to fully capitalize on the economic benefits of high-speed rail.




Grand Central Terminal When the current Grand Central Terminal opened in 1913, it anchored the new Midtown Manhattan business district. When rail ridership peaked in the 1940s, more than 65 million people, or 40 percent of the U.S. population, traveled through Grand Central. 1 Unfortunately, it soon entered a long decline and was threatened with demolition. By the mid-1990s the regional Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) restored the terminal’s great public spaces and dramatically expanded retail activity. In addition to being a busy transit hub, Grand Central is now a major retail destination and grand public space, home to five sit-down restaurants and cocktail lounges, 20 casual eateries and 50 specialty shops. The 12,000-square-foot main concourse, known for the zodiac mural painted on its ceiling, is a major public gathering place, serving commuter rail passengers and hosting seasonal events and temporary exhibitions. At nearly 100 years old, Grand Central Terminal exemplifies successful station and station-area development.

CREATE MAGNETIC DESTINATIONS Train stations are more than just places to process passengers. Highquality public space and interesting retail areas create a strong sense of place that enhances the travel experience. A well-planned and diverse mix of uses within the station, including destination retail, can partially offset construction costs and subsidize station operations, providing reinvestment funds for the station operator. This revenue stream can attract private investment and support public/private partnerships. DYNAMIC PUBLIC SPACES High-quality public space, when incorporated into HSR stations, enhances the travel experience and improves a city’s livability. As public space, HSR stations are natural gathering places that represent the inclusionary and democratic values of our society. HSR stations, often housed in historic structures or modern landmarks, offer a huge opportunity to privilege the movements of passengers and pedestrians while creating new hubs in central cities. VITAL RETAIL HUBS As busy, accessible centers, HSR stations are natural sites for retail development. With current demographic trends once again favoring central cities, transit hubs can anchor the intensive retail use that supports urban life. In the Northeast, both central cities and older transit-oriented suburbs are now growing. 3 This is creating a new market opportunity for convenient, transit-oriented retail. The retail sector is also moving aggressively to enter urban markets and looking for places to build new, denser shopping destinations. Capitalizing on stations’ superior accessibility, station developers can attract destination retail to enliven the station experience and recoup operating costs.

Grand Central Terminal: The main concourse is a magnetic public space used for transportation and retail. 5


05 - Redesigning Stations and Station Areas

FUNCTION AS GATEWAYS As places of arrival and departure, high-speed rail stations are the gateways to the cities of the Northeast. Stations are where high-speed rail meets the city; well-sited and attractively-designed stations speed the daily movement of millions of people across the Northeast Megaregion. In this role, stations have the opportunity to mold the reputation and identity for the cities that they serve. A station must reflect the unique character of the city while creating a positive impression of the city for the traveling public. These places should privilege the travel experience, as the interaction of people and exchange of ideas are key to enhancing the economic, intellectual and cultural vibrancy of the Northeast Megaregion. While creating a sense of welcome that is specific to each city, HSR stations can also be a locus for demonstrating a commitment to memorable civic space and public-private partnership. At Union Station in Washington, D.C. (see box to right), where the station sits in the monumental space created by the Senate Park Commission at the beginning of the 20th century, the U.S. Congress passed legislation to establish the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation, an entity responsible for improving the station infrastructure annd attracting private investment, both in the station and on its adjoining sites. The station area development reinforces the importance of the station to its city. And at Stratford, London, UK, the new HSR station will serve the 2012 Olympics as well as the new attractions, development and open spaces that will be the legacy of the games.


Union Station, Washington, D.C. Washington’s Union Station is an appropriately monumental gateway to the national capital. The grand Beaux-Arts structure, designed by Daniel Burnham and completed in 1907, reflects the grandeur of the nation’s capital; upon exiting the station through the triumphant arch, passengers are immediately greeted by the sight of the Capitol Dome. Redeveloped in 1981 after Congress passed the Union Station Redevelopment Act, Union Station now hosts 130 shops and restaurants and houses the headquarters of Amtrak, the national passenger railroad. Visited by more than 32 million people each year, it is the most-visited tourist destination in Washington. As a landmark, Union Station now hosts presidential inaugural balls while continuing to serve as a hub for Amtrak, commuter trains and local transit. 6 After more than a century of service, Union Station remains a monumental gateway to the nation’s capital.

Union Station, Washington, D.C.: A grand, monumental gateway to the nation’s capital city. 5




St. Pancras International St. Pancras International, located in the northern area of Central London, demonstrates how HSR can create a new walkable and compact urban center. As a historic 1868 rail terminal, St. Pancras initially attracted industrial uses to the station vicinity. Now that heavy industry no longer operates in Central London, the once-industrial land sits vacant, comprising the largest brownfield site in Europe.

CATALYZE WALKABLE, COMPACT, CENTERED DEVELOPMENT By offering superior accessibility and grand spaces, HSR stations have the power to catalyze walkable, compact development in city centers. HSR strengthens land values in the immediate vicinity of a station, acting as a powerful generator of economic activity. Station builders must work to encourage station-area development. Like all transit systems, HSR is most effective when stations lead directly to transit-oriented land uses. The increased accessibility made possible by HSR has the power to privilege station-area development and recenter the Northeast Megaregion by bolstering real estate demand in central cities.

The 67-acre brownfield, now owned by the London and Continental Railways, will be transformed into Kings Cross Central, a mixeduse development containing 2,000 apartments, nearly five million square feet of office space, retail, public space and a new campus for the University of the Arts, London. HSR enhanced local land values, making such development feasible. In addition, the railway company controls the land; real estate revenues will help recoup the construction costs of HS1, and station-area development will provide a steady stream of riders for high-speed trains.

St. Pancras, London: The locus of a new, dense development in Central London. 10


05 - Redesigning Stations and Station Areas

CONNECT TO REGIONAL AND INTERREGIONAL TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS High-speed rail that is linked into regional transportation systems provides the opportunity for concentrated development at transit nodes throughout the region. An integrated transit network is necessary for HSR to serve regional centers beyond the immediate station area, which allows for the potential of growth around multiple transit stations. This type of growth can enable HSR to unleash its full transformative power across the entire region. Finally, HSR can support new airport cities of offices, hotels and logistics centers. With the right combination of land use patterns and zoning, an HSR station has great potential for transit oriented development around the station area. However, good urban form around just one station area does not constitute a fully-integrated network. By investing in smart development around regional transportation system nodes, coupled with a strong HSR anchor node, the potential for growth around transit in the entire region blossoms. Airport cities, resembling those in Amsterdam-Schiphol and Hong Kong International, can develop around HSR stations at Long Island MacArthur and Philadelphia International airports. In addition to replacing shorthaul flights and freeing up airport capacity, HSR can make airport cities the location of choice for certain international businesses, airport hotels and logistics centers for high-value, time-sensitive freight.


South Station, Boston Boston’s South Station is an intermodal transportation hub and anchor of the urban center. Located on the eastern edge of the traditional central business district, South Station is a hub for Amtrak, intercity buses, commuter rail, subways and the Silver Line BRT. That BRT link is crucial, as it connects South Station to Logan Airport and the South Boston Waterfront, formerly industrial lands that are becoming a center of office space, apartments and the arts. In addition, the Big Dig project buried the central artery, an elevated highway that ran in front of the station, reconnecting South Station to the CBD. While South Station serves development in adjacent neighborhoods, the station’s air rights remain largely unused. Redeveloped as part of the Northeast Corridor Improvement Project in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the station’s tracks and platforms were built in a way that would allow for the eventual construction of an office tower. While some of the air rights were used for an intercity bus terminal and parking garage, the tracks remain largely open, waiting for eventual office development. With a significant amount of vacant land available near South Station, building a tower over a busy railroad is not worth the extra expense. South Station demonstrates the development benefits of integrating intercity rail with other modes of transportation, but the challenges of building over an active railroad prevented a build-out of the station’s air rights.

Signage at South Station, Boston: Intermodal connections between Amtrak and intercity and commuter buses make South Station a transportation hub. 17





Euralille Euralille is a vast urban transportation complex in the center of Lille, France. Since it opened in 1994 it has transformed the postindustrial city into an international business center. While Euralille serves international high-speed trains, conventional trains continue to serve the historic district. The area around Euralille, dubbed the “instant city,”continues to transform the city’s economy. 20 The 288-acre site is home to 24 acres of urban parkland, one of France’s largest shopping centers, and a new commercial corridor that many international businesses use as an affordable alternative to London, Brussels and Paris. Lille is now a satellite city of Paris and an important hub in the European HSR network. It is on the Eurostar line to London and the French TGV network to Paris, Brussels, Marseille, Lyon and Toulouse. 21 HSR enhanced Lille’s accessibility, making it an important international business center.

In order for high-speed rail to benefit all cities along the Northeast Corridor, innovative public/private development incentives must transform the land markets around stations. Cities will respond differently to new HSR linkages depending on their existing industries, employment base, population growth and cultural amenities. Accordingly, successful HSR implementation requires city-specific development strategies. For cities with relatively strong native industries and population growth, appropriate station-area development will create quick, easy links to employment centers, if those industries are not already located in the central city. HSR can carry visitors directly to cultural districts where arts and entertainment are strong megaregional draws. Well-thought-out station areas will draw on the region’s economic strengths, highlighting those industries that make each city stand out. Weak-economy cities also need region-specific strategies. With effective station design and area development, high-speed rail can draw on the megaregion’s collective resources to bolster local industry. In these cities, public/private development incentives can ensure that investment happens locally, instead of being shipped out to other parts of the megaregion. In each case, a close examination of the local economy’s strengths and weaknesses must shape those cities’ development strategies.

Euralille, Lille, France: Euralille welcomes people to a 24-acre park, office development and an historic urban core. 22


05 - Redesigning Stations and Station Areas


High-Speed Rail and Airport Integration: Frankfurt, Germany As part of the InterCity Express (ICE) system in Germany, a line connecting the cities of Frankfurt and Cologne—and their respective airports—was opened in 2002. It successfully integrates air and highspeed rail service by providing a fast and seamless transfer from airport to rail. This allows passengers arriving from international destinations to get to Stuttgart and Cologne on a train rather than on a short-haul flight. Here, significant mode substitution has resulted, coupled with a sharp drop in the number of flights between Frankfurt and nearby cities.

Development Plan: Noise and vertical clearance contours, shown in purple, constrain development near the airport. However, other areas are available for high-intensity station development to create a new industrial and commercial hub at Ronkonkoma.

DEVELOPMENT PLANS Airport operations—both vertical clearance requirements and noise contour requirements constrain the development of sites surrounding the airport. Noise contours are shown above, in purple. The noise associated with planes landing, taking off and taxiing makes high-intensity development parallel to the runways impossible.

Part of the reason Frankfurt has been so successful in this endeavor is that Lufthansa—Germany’s largest airline—actually operates the highspeed rail service from the airport to Stuttgart and Cologne. By realizing the synergistic relationship between air and rail service, Lufthansa was able to capitalize on the investment in infrastructure, rather than being hurt by it. This necessitated a significant change in the airline’s business model, but it allowed it to continue offering domestic services while freeing up airport capacity for more long-haul (and higher profit) flights.

However, this allows for development to be concentrated on other areas of the overall site. With the newly implemented high-speed rail service, development will be directed into these areas, which surround the airport on all sides. A variety of different development types could be successful on the site, and several representative ideas are given above. The highest intensity of development will take place immediately adjacent to the station entrance and expressway on the north end of the site, which could include commerical office, residential, and travelerrelated development, such as hotels and meeting facilities.



06 06 SUSTAINABILITY The Northeast high-speed rail network, and the existing systems of urban transit in cities across the megaregion, will promote a significantly more sustainable pattern of development across the Northeast. This chapter outlines how HSR is the linchpin to the Northeast Megaregion’s future sustainable growth and development. The Northeast is already the most highly urbanized megaregion in the country. It has the most extensive intercity and urban rail networks in the United States, providing the Northeast with an enormous advantage as it seeks to promote more sustainable patterns of development. HSR is the key to unlocking the Northeast’s potential to become a global model for sustainable growth. The growing global economy, and related increases in wealth, have transformed societies all over the world, but these expansions have placed a great strain on the world’s resources. It is now increasingly important to manage growth and the inventory of natural resources in the most responsible manner possible—a charge that the United States government is not taking lightly.


The Obama administration’s new Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities between the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency demonstrates its commitment to this charge. The program has established a set of “livability principles” which not only include aspects of social equity, economic competitiveness and environmental consciousness, but also highlight the importance of transportation planning in accomplishing these goals. In the past, America’s automobile-focused transportation investments have led to exponential increases in land consumption, energy inefficiency and environmental degradation. Through the integration of HSR, transportation systems can play a role in changing this paradigm and move toward a more sustainable mobility strategy. Although the term has many wide-ranging, ever-changing definitions, sustainability is applied here as a method of managing resources in such a way that satisfies economic and social needs without destabilizing the natural resource base and environmental quality on which life depends. High-speed rail is not only a more sustainable mode of transport than highways or air travel, but it has the potential to spearhead a sustainability movement in the Northeast and in other megaregions across the country. Planning for America’s future transportation needs must incorporate sustainable practices in order to manage future growth. Continuing down the same road is no longer an option. The following section conveys the ways in which HSR is more sustainable than any other transportation alternative, as well as how it can be used to promote regional strategies and policies to direct sustainable development. HSR’s sustainability benefits are discussed within three frameworks: environmental, economic and social, although it is imperative to understand that there is considerable overlap among them.

IMPORTANCE OF HSR High-speed rail is the most sustainable strategy for addressing the transportation challenges facing the Northeast Megaregion. With a 40 percent increase in population and an even larger increase in economic activity projected by 2050, the Northeast Megaregion must find new and more sustainable ways to manage projected growth. When compared to the environmental, economic and social costs of highway and airport expansion, HSR is the most cost-effective way to meet the capacity demands for intercity travel along the corridor. It can also create a framework for transit systems and more compact, energy- and landefficient development patterns in cities throughout the megaregion.


06 - Sustainability

ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY AND HSR A sustainable transportation system requires the efficient and environmentally sensitive movement of people, information, goods and services, while minimizing the negative impacts on water and air quality, reducing the production of greenhouse gases and promoting energy conservation. Investment in HSR is the most appropriate transportation strategy to achieve each of these objectives. HSR meets the transportation capacity requirements of the growing Northeast Megaregion, while increasing mobility and energy efficiency with decreased greenhouse gas emissions and curbed land consumption. ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY AND HSR Transportation plays a vital role within a global economy; an efficient transportation system is of crucial importance for the competitiveness of the economy and the mobility of its citizens. The U.S. transportation system is a vast enterprise; transportation-related goods and services account for about one-tenth of the nation’s gross domestic product, and the economy is heavily reliant on the low-cost, highly flexible, fast movement of goods and services. However, today’s pattern of transportation infrastructure and its dependence on the private automobile is far from economically sustainable. HSR is a necessary component of any modern transportation network as it can meet future capacity demands while drastically reducing travel times, creating a new economic geography. SOCIAL SUSTAINABILITY AND HSR A community is comprised of much more than just its hard infrastructure. While the utility lines, dwelling types and transportation infrastructure may define the physical form a community takes, it is a diversity of residents, adequate public services and economic opportunities that lead to truly sustainable communities. HSR has the ability to increase a community’s regional mobility, broadening employment and housing opportunities for some of the most disadvantaged communites in the Northeast while also opening up new social networks for their residents.

The New Jersey Pine Barrens: These lands are among the region’s spectacular environmental assets that will benefit from sustainable practices. 1

Wilmington, Del.: One of many cities slated to benefit from a well-connected megaregional market. 2

Strong community: Organizers in Philadelphia and throughout the region will benefit from broader social networks and increased job access. 3



TOWARD A SUSTAINABILITY STRATEGY FOR THE NORTHEAST MEGAREGION Despite being the nation’s most urbanized megaregion, the Northeast retains an extraordinary natural setting. The megaregion’s large metropolitan areas are bounded by the Appalachian highlands, with their forests and watersheds to the west, and the Atlantic Ocean, with its estuaries and beaches to the east. This natural environment creates a stunning backdrop for its cities and towns, contributes to economic prosperity and improves quality of life. The communities of the Northeast are linked not only by the transportation system but also by shared ecosystems, culture and economic clusters. The manner in which the Northeast develops transportation infrastructure affects the natural environment, the health of the region’s economy and the character of the communities along the corridor. The modernization of the megaregion’s infrastructure and the integration of HSR will require a coordinated effort across eight states and the District of Columbia, employing a variety of growth management policies that aim to achieve three aspects of sustainability: environmental, economic and social.

ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY LAND USE HSR will provide considerable benefits to the land use in the Northeast Megaregion. The proposed HSR line will utilize existing right-of-way and infrastructure, while highway or airport alternatives would require vast land acquisition. Due to its smaller infrastructure footprint, HSR is less intrusive to natural landscapes, ecosystems and wildlife. HSR will act as a catalyst for improving resource management strategies and encouraging growth patterns that promote compact, sustainable urban development. LAND CONSUMPTION The first and most immediate benefit of constructing HSR over other alternatives is the decreased physical impact this mode will have on the land. In the next 30 years, Amtrak has projected ridership to increase from the current 13 million riders to 23 million riders. The proposed HSR line will further divert and induce another 25 to 32 million riders to rail. This is a conservative estimate based on current Amtrak markets and not accounting for the increase in service frequency and capacity. If these additional 25 million riders were to be accommodated by cars or planes, two lanes of highway or eight airport runways would need to be built. Such interventions would require the acquisition of 1,300 acres of land for highway expansion or 800 acres for runway construction. As shown in Chapter 2, two dedicated HSR tracks could be laid almost


06 - Sustainability

completely on existing right-of-way, minimizing harmful effects to the land and avoiding the addition of hundreds of acres of impervious surfaces. In many other ways, highway and airport expansion is considerably more burdensome than adding additional, or even building new, rail lines. Because those alternatives take up more land, not only will land acquisition costs be higher, but any disruption to surrounding communities will be harder felt. In some cases, housing or other infrastructure may need to be removed, and for those places just beyond the reach of new highway lanes, the noise buffer will be much smaller. Although trains are not silent, high-speed trains are becoming quieter with better technology. They are also sporadic and do not create the constant noise, carbon output and other negative effects that automobiles do. These impacts as well as opposition from community and environmental groups make it virtually impossible in much of the Northeast to build new highway capacity. Similarly, air traffic in the megaregion is already so congested that adding more runways may not even be an option for accommodating future growth. WILDLIFE AND ECOSYSTEMS HSR within the existing right-of-way, with its smaller footprint and minimal land consumption, has great benefits to wildlife and ecosystems. Compared to highway and air alternatives, rail lines contribute significantly less to the transformation of wildlife habitat. Similarly, HSR’s contribution to the recentralization of cities will limit the spread of urbanized areas into critical habitat. In addition to perpetuating land conversion, roads also bisect critical wildlife ecosystems, hunting territories, migration routes and breeding grounds. This fragmentation of natural land significantly decreases the likelihood of survival for many animals. While HSR has similar fragmentation effects, they are less intrusive than multi-lane highways and therefore their negative impacts are mitigated. Animals are attracted to roadside corridors within urbanized areas because they offer food resources habitat for some species, and are often the only spaces where native flora and fauna are able to grow. Residing in these corridors has become necessary for many animals because roads have transformed natural land cover to low-density suburban development and paved surfaces. Unfortunately, this is a deadly attraction, especially for many mammal and bird species. As animals move along these open corridors, they intermingle with traffic, resulting in more fatalities than those accrued through hunting. 4 Animals, especially those that reside along roadside corridors, will also benefit from the same air and water benefits explained later in this chapter.



SMART GROWTH Environmental impacts of HSR are not limited to immediate physical changes. Investment in a connected transportation system, which includes HSR, regional rail and urban transit, has the potential to change growth and land use patterns across the megaregion. Just as the interstate highway system altered development patterns in the second half of the 20th century, HSR has the potential to do it again, and this time with sustainability as the driving force. HSR alone will not change the patterns of growth in the Northeast. To do so it will be necessary to create and expand urban transit systems in cities served by HSR and to implement growth management practices with the support and coordination of federal, state and local governments. As Alisa W. Coffin puts it in her article on the ecological effects of roads, transportation infrastructure is the “physical manifestation of the social connections and the economic and political decisions that lead to land use change.� 5 With that in mind, the Northeast Megaregion must share a unified future development strategy. The route the Northeast, and the nation, have taken since World War II is one of sprawling, auto-dependent suburbs that deplete the region’s resources, limit accessibility and consume vast amounts of open land. For more than 50 years, the rate at which Americans have consumed land has

Mixed-use development in Boston: The Northeast Megaregion already has many examples of smart development to build upon. 6


06 - Sustainability

been unbridled and is no longer sustainable. High-speed rail can be the catalyst for change that is so desperately needed in the Northeast and other megaregions across the country. Several recommendations, when coupled with a connected transportation system, can help the Northeast achieve a more sustainable future: ADOPT SMART GROWTH PRINCIPLES: Smart growth promotes development in and near existing communities, providing a variety of transportation options, a mix of land uses, and preservation of open space, farmland and critical environmental areas. 7 ADOPT TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT (TOD) ZONING AND TRANSFERABLE DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS (TDR) PROGRAMS: TOD zoning allows for more compact mixed-use development and initiates higher density near existing transit stops. TDR programs allow landowners in designated, environmentally sensitive areas to sell their development rights to the government, which then sells the right to increase density to developers inside designated urban areas. PROMOTE LIVABLE COMMUNITIES : The quality of life in a community can be enhanced by increasing the frequency and reliability of intercity and commuter rail. Usually located at city centers, rail has the ability to put riders within walking distance of their destinations and provide them with easy transit connections. Business and retail also tend to locate near stations, making passenger commutes easier while adding density to center cities. 8 PROMOTE MULTIMODAL TRANSPORTATION: The decentralization of American life has contributed to a growing disillusionment with congested highways and a general dissatisfaction with sprawling land consumption. Yet many Americans are reluctant to give up the mobility freedom they have come to associate with the private auto. In order to capitalize on this disillusionment and create a shift toward public transportation, cities need to promote a balanced, well-integrated, multimodal transportation system. High-speed rail’s connections to regional rail and local transit are key to the successful development of a truly balanced, sustainable transportation network that can most efficiently complete an origination/destination trip without compromising an individual’s mobility.



AIR QUALITY AND HEALTH In addition to the current concerns over greenhouse gases, automotive exhaust also contributes to ground-level ozone, commonly referred to as smog when it combines with volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides. Particulate matter, yet another exhaust pollutant, is of particular concern as it has been linked to increased rates of respiratory illness in children and the elderly. 17 According to the Environmental Protection Agency, tens of thousands of elderly people die prematurely each year from exposure to ambient levels of particulate matter. 18 Children are especially prone to health problems related to air quality, as they breathe 50 percent more air per pound of body weight than adults. Not surprisingly, asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases among children, the direct and indirect costs of which totaled nearly $2 billion nationwide in 1996. While there are still air pollutants generated from the production of the electricity used to power HSR, these power plants are stationary sources of pollution and are far easier to regulate than mobile sources like cars and trucks.

ENERGY The transportation system is not only a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, it is also almost entirely responsible for the U.S. dependence on foreign oil. Transportation is a component of nearly every aspect of daily life, strongly linked to choices in housing, employment and commercial development. Mobility of people and commodities is essential to our modern society and economy. In 2006, Americans traveled some 5.34 trillion person-miles. 20 That equates to a trip around the world for nearly every American every year. Between 1995 and 2006 the person-miles traveled by Americans rose 29 percent. Freight movement on the system, some 4.6 trillion ton-miles of freight in 2006, has increased more than 13 percent since 1995.

CASE STUDY The Link Between Vehicle Exhaust and South Bronx Schoolchildren’s Asthma 19 From 2002 to 2005 schoolchildren in the South Bronx carried air pollution monitors everywhere they went, to playgrounds, sidewalks and even movie theaters. The monitors, attached to the children’s backpacks, enabled New York University researchers to measure the pollution to which the children were exposed. The South Bronx has more than its share of highways and truck traffic due to more than a dozen wastetransfer stations and numerous food markets in the area. It is also home to some of the highest asthma hospitalization rates in the city. The study found that students were exposed to high air pollution levels not only in their neighborhoods but also in their schoolyards. Children in the South Bronx were twice as likely to attend classes near a highway as children in other parts of the city. Of the 69 days on which measurements took place, 18 of them exceeded the EPA’s standard for particulate matter. According to the EPA, airborne particles like dust, soot, smoke and automotive exhaust that are less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter are small enough to become lodged deep in the lungs, causing respiratory problems, decreased lung function and aggravated asthma.

Transportation on such a massive scale requires an enormous amount of energy. Energy use in the transportation sector has increased from 7,880 trillion BTU in 1949 to 27,800 trillion BTU in 2008, a 253 percent increase in just six decades. The energy used within the U.S. transportation sector is greater than the energy consumed by the entire economy of most nations. Only China and Russia consume more energy in their entire economies than the U.S. transportation sector. Of this 27,800 trillion BTU, only three percent currently comes from renewable sources, and 95 percent is generated from petroleum. 21



These savings were multiplied by the projected populations for each of the regions along the corridor. The result was billions of dollars in savings for the Northeast Megaregion. If the growing population moved back to dense neighborhoods with lower transportation costs, tremendous savings for households and the economy would follow.

SOCIAL SUSTAINABILITY The proposed HSR system for the Northeast Megaregion promotes social sustainability through its ability to increase a community’s regional mobility, broadening the social networking reach of its residents while addressing major health and safety concerns. GRADUATED FARES If high-speed rail is to be socially sustainable, then fare systems should encourage ridership across all communities and income brackets. The proposed high-speed line is part of a larger rail strategy that allows for greater frequency and capacity of local and regional networks. The four tiers of high-speed service offer a range of speed and price options for riders. For the passengers using local trains, fares will continue to be affordable, but riders will enjoy the added service benefits. The pricing can also include strategies such as monthly and weekly passes. MICRO-SCALE OPPORTUNITIES Economic sustainability and social sustainability intersect around the impact of HSR on job growth. The local job opportunities created by high-speed rail can support community stability. Beyond the jobs created during the construction of HSR, there are many indirect jobs generated in the service industry. These include train operations, station management and many other service-related occupations. LOCATION EFFICIENT MORTGAGES Location Efficient Mortgages (LEM) are mortgages common in dense urban areas. They allow households to obtain more expensive homes as a result of their transportation savings. These mortgages are available in urban centers like Seattle, Chicago and San Francisco. LEMs incorporate the savings that would have otherwise be spent on an automobile into the supportable mortgage. This supports community stability, by encouraging home ownership and use of public transportation. 31


06 - Sustainability

Reliable, cost-efficient transit options benefit all members of wellconnected urban areas. 32

SAFETY High-speed rail is the most socially sustainable option for addressing our growing transportation needs primarily because it is safer than any other mode of ground transportation. Some of the social costs imposed by auto reliance may not be immediately apparent sustainability issues, yet the car’s poor safety record as compared with trains, buses and airplanes is an important consideration. The annual death toll on American highways is consistently in the hundreds of thousands, 33 and the risk of death in an automobile accident is nearly 18 times that of rail. 34 PUBLIC HEALTH Air pollution, especially fine particulate matter found in exhaust from the internal combustion engine, has been linked to increased rates of respiratory ailments, heart disease and even premature death. The elderly and children are particularly susceptible to these effects. While high-speed rail is still primarily reliant on the burning of fossil fuels for its electrical power, these power plants are stationary sources, which are far easier to regulate than the millions of mobile sources associated with auto dependence. Additionally, as the potential for electricity to be provided on a large scale by renewable, nonpolluting sources, high-speed rail would be even more environmentally healthy.



Passengers boarding New York subway. 1

07 07 THE TRANSFORMATIVE POTENTIAL OF HIGH-SPEED RAIL The proposed Northeast Corridor high-speed rail system, matched with station investments and improvements to local and regional transit networks, will transform the economic geography of the entire Northeast Megaregion. It will alter the existing spatial relationships among Northeast cities and metropolitan areas, facilitating energy-efficient mobility and economic exchange. High-speed rail, in coordination with planned regional transit, will also positively affect urban form by altering development patterns within the Northeast Megaregion. The Northeast is predicted to gain 20 million residents in the next 40 years, a 40 percent increase over the 50 million who currently live here. 2 High-speed rail is the most environmentally responsible way to create new capacity in the megaregion’s congested transportation infrastructure. When paired with land use policies emphasizing centered growth, transit-oriented projects, and compact development plans, this new system will promote the recentralization of cities. The economic opportunities and land use policies supported by high-speed rail, in concert with improved connectivity, will pull residents and businesses back into cities, reducing the consumption of valuable agricultural land and environmental resources while also increasing productivity.



Regeneration Strategies in France and England Perhaps the best international example of this phenomenon is Northwest France’s Lille, an older industrial city that was transformed from a declining manufacturing center to a revitalized international business service and retail center by its new high-speed rail links to London, Paris and Brussels. 10 In Southern England a number of similar places have been revitalized by higher-speed (125 mph) rail services developed since the 1980s. Sir Peter Hall has documented this phenomenon, which brought a number of smaller “cold” cities, including Reading to the west of London, into the London labor markets by this improved rail service. In most cases, these cities were transformed by the new rail service. But some of these places, particularly those which had high concentrations of low-skill workers and which did not aggressively pursue urban regeneration strategies, did not experience significant economic benefits from their improved access to London. 11

HOT AND COLD CITIES The 2006 studio at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, as part of its analysis of the Northeast as a megaregion, devised a city typology of the major cities within the corridor where this year’s studio is proposing the NEC high-speed rail system. This city typology uses indicators such as educational attainment, unemployment status, area median income and housing cost burden to determine if a city’s economy is “hot” or “cold.” Hot cities are those that are growing, have a high proportion of the population with advanced degrees and achieve higher median incomes. Cold cities are those that have higher rates of unemployment, high poverty rates and lower median incomes; they are typically cities that were former industrial centers. The cities large and small are diverse in their strengths and will be impacted by high-speed rail in a variety of ways. Large cities with strong economies require a different development strategy than cities that have smaller or “cold” market economies. But in order to realize the transformative benefits of HSR, each city and its metropolitan region will need clear and focused policies and plans to direct land use, stimulate jobs, and attain a distinct economic advantage beyond the corridor itself. This may be even more crucial for weak cities than it is for strong ones. The Northeast Corridor links two hot cities: Boston and Washington D.C., and is anchored at its center by another hot city: New York. Between these hot cities are several cold cities, including Worcester, Hartford, New Haven, Newark, Trenton, Philadelphia and Baltimore. High-speed rail has the potential to transform the economies of these places, provided that they include effective local economic development strategies designed to take advantage of their new accessibility to the Northeast’s hot cities. High-speed rail in the Northeast can build upon the megaregion’s unique geography by bringing most of its underperforming cities within an hour of at least one of the hot economy cities of Boston, New York and Washington. As in England, however, to capitalize on this new proximity, older Northeastern industrial cities will need to develop strong economic development strategies. These should include downtown and brownfields revitalization, workforce skill development, mobility and related programs to “remagnetize” these places.


07 - The Transformative Potential of High-Speed Rail

JOB ACCESS Building on “hot and cold” indicators, an additional indicator of housing and transportation costs was also used to determine city typology. Households that have moved away from the center city to more affordable suburban and exurban housing options have ended up paying a great deal in transportation costs. The Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) has developed an affordability index that calculates housing and transportation cost burden for working families. CNT also developed an index for working families earning between $20,000 and $50,000 annually. 15 They define housing cost burden as housing costs being more than 30 percent of income, and transportation cost burden being more than 15 percent of annual median income. Combining these two costs, they developed a measure of affordability 45 percent of area median income as measure of housing and transportation affordability. 16 A little less than a third of the households of all Northeastern cities have a housing cost burden. When transportation cost burden is included, a majority of the households in these cities are struggling with high housing and transportation costs. Strategies to expand housing opportunities around a growing Northeastern transit network can reduce this burden. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES High-speed rail cannot by itself succeed in transforming the economic prospects of the Northeast’s cities and suburbs. This will require complementary local and regional economic and mobility strategies designed to allow communities and individuals to take advantage of the new accessibility that HSR, related investments in regional transit systems and transit-oriented development plans will make possible. Workforce development strategies will also be required to allow many of the Northeast’s workers to share in the megaregion’s growing prosperity. While the region has the world’s highest concentration of prestigious research universities and teaching hospitals, and large concentrations of high-skilled occupations in sectors such as finance, biotechnology and professional services, there is a robust middle-skilled labor pool that is expected to grow as well. Middle-skill occupations are those that require a high school diploma but do not require a bachelor’s degree. The demand for midskilled labor should grow and remain robust as population increases. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that nearly half of all job openings in the next 10 years will be in occupational categories that are mostly middle-skill. 17 Occupations in industries such as biotechnology are expected to benefit greatly from high-speed rail. It is important to invest in vocational and educational programs that provide job training for these midlevel positions for key economic sectors.


07 - The Transformative Potential of High-Speed Rail

Housing Cost

Housing and Transportation Cost

Less than 30% 30% +

Less than 45% 45% +


Housing and transportation costs: These maps indicate the housing and transportation cost burden in the major cities along the corridor. These household cost burdens are particularly prominent in cities along the southern portion of the corridor. 18

New York



Washington D.C.



St. Pancras International Terminal: old and new facades.

08 08 COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS The proposed new high-speed rail system has the potential to generate many benefits for the Northeast Megaregion. These potential benefits can create new relationships between cities, generate new opportunities for economic investment, create sustainable land use patterns, and improve the ability of the Northeast Corridor transportation system to meet future travel demand. Other climate, energy, environmental and safety benefits will also result from this investment. As the necessary capital investments for the proposed system will most likely be provided from public sources, the public and lawmakers alike should understand the relationship between the costs and the benefits of HSR in the Northeast. This chapter uses a cost-benefit analysis methodology in order to determine whether HSR is a worthwhile investment for improving the transportation capacity of the Northeast Corridor. The cost-benefit analysis is used to quantify various benefits and costs into a ratio that compares the large costs and long timeframe of HSR projects against the potential benefits it will provide to the megaregion. 1


PURPOSE OF COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS Cost-benefit analysis is a tool that can be used to evaluate HSR investment and its effectiveness compared to other public investments for solving the transportation capacity constraints in the Northeast Corridor. This analysis provides a methodology for quantifying the benefits of public expenditure so that there is a common denominator to compare the costs and benefits. It also considers the long-term benefits and the long-term costs of the public expenditure. This is an important consideration because of the long timeframe of the project. It will likely take 10 or more years to implement a HSR plan, and the value capture from the new infrastructure may not begin for an even longer time period. This cost-benefit analysis considers the time value of money in its evaluation of HSR. 2 Cost-benefit analysis can fail to considers both the full costs and benefits of public investments. While this analysis should consider all the possible benefits from the project, many of these benefits are qualitative and difficult to quantify. The monetary value assigned to these benefits often undervalues the true amount of benefit. In the case of HSR, it is easier to value the benefit of travel time savings and carbon emission reductions than to quantify the wider economic benefits, such as station development and urban investment that could occur from the new economic geography of the Northeast Megaregion. 3

METHODOLOGY This report includes a preliminary cost-benefit analysis for the proposed HSR system to establish the cost-effectiveness of this proposal. A full cost-benefit analysis should, of course, be conducted prior to committing major capital funds to the project. In order to perform a cost-benefit analysis on HSR in the Northeast Megaregion, there must first be an understanding of the problem that HSR will solve and which alternative solutions might be employed. The existing transportation system, including roads, rails and airports, is already heavily congested and does not have the capacity to meet projected increases in demand. Creating this new capacity will enable the Northeast to achieve its full economic potential by 2050. In order to relieve congestion and meet future demand, the capacity of the Northeast’s transportation system must be increased. There are several alternatives to creating the needed improvements. One alternative is to build a new mode of transportation, like HSR. HSR would provide an additional transportation option that could free up


08 - Benefit-Cost Analysis

Benefit-Cost Analysis Summary 4, 5, 6, 7, 8





Track and Signals Rail Junctions

$ $

4,100,000,000 8,500,000,000

Structures and Tunnels



Land Acquisition



Station Improvements



Other Infrastructure



Rolling Stock



Project Overhead



Environmental Mitigation



Other Construction Inconvenience



Operations + Maintenance



Total Costs



HSR Revenue Regular Rail Revenue Change

$ $

55,621,021,150 (70,307,034)

Travel Time Savings



Foregone Death and Injury



Improved Capacity



Congestion Mitigation



Carbon Emission Reduction



Wider Economic Benefits



Total Benefits





capacity on existing modes by shifting passengers to its new service. Another alternative would be to widen highways and add airport runways to meet future demand. These alternative solutions should be compared based on their benefit-cost ratio. 9

B/C Ratio: 1.70

Assumptions need to be made in order to make the quantitative valuations of the cost-benefit analysis. The benefits that can be quantified include the operating revenue of HSR, user benefits such as travel time savings and improved safety, and nonuser benefits such as carbon emission reductions, highway decongestion, improved capacity of other transportation modes, and wider economic benefits. Costs that can be quantified include infrastructure construction, rolling stock, operations and environmental remediation costs. Since the benefits will largely be generated after many of the costs are incurred, the value of the benefits is quantified for the year 2030, when the whole Northeast HSR system would be fully operational. The social discount rate that is applied for the cost-benefit analysis is four percent per year. 10 This rate is lower in order to account for the long timeframe of HSR construction, implementation and benefit generation. The cost-benefit model employed here is based on the analyses performed by Greengauge 21 to evaluate a possible HS2 line in the United Kingdom and on the model of the California High-Speed Rail Authority used to assess HSR costs and benefits for California. However, the analysis is adjusted to suit the proposed HSR system in this report. 11, 12



Tunnel Boring Machines

09 09 IMPLEMENTATION: GOVERNANCE AND FINANCING Building high-speed rail will the Northeast will be a massive undertaking. A new governance structure, financing mechanism and sustained political leadership are necessary to build high-speed rail. The current Amtrak-dominated governance structure of the Northeast Corridor is not equipped to build the HSR line that is illustrated in this report. The new Northeast Corridor Commission (NECC) will be a federal-state partnership, charged with building and operating high-speed rail infrastructure. While the new highspeed rail line must be financed primarily with public funds, limited opportunities are available for the private sector to fund station construction and development, equipment, and train operations. Finally, strong, sustained leadership is necessary for this vision of high-speed rail to become a reality. Building HSR will be an expensive, long-term project.



Port Authority of New York and New Jersey: An Interstate Compact Established in 1921 to improve the movement of goods through its port, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is a bistate agency that operates cargo facilities, bridges and tunnels, airports, bus terminals and a rapid transit system in the bistate region. The Port Authority initially sought to combat port congestion, a regional issue that crossed political boundaries. Alone, neither state could solve the infrastructure problems in the port district. The Port Authority is the nation’s oldest interstate agency, created from an interstate compact that required approval by Congress and both state legislatures. Financially self-sufficient, the Port Authority’s operations are supported by tolls, port revenues and airport landing fees. The Port Authority generates an operating surplus, enabling it to partially fund the construction of NJ Transit’s new Hudson River tunnel. Interstate compacts like the Port Authority are created to bridge political boundaries and solve regional issues. Unfortunately they are difficult to implement, as states have to cede power to the interstate compact. Such bodies can be enacted only after the legislatures of all states involved pass identical legislation, something that gets exponentially harder as the number of states increases. 1

GOVERNANCE This report recommends that a new Northeast Corridor Commission (NECC), a new multistate governing body, be established to design, build, operate and maintain the unified rail infrastructure for the improved Northeast Corridor. This new body could emerge from the recently established Northeast Corridor Infrastructure and Operations Advisory Commission. But this existing body will require additional authority to build and operate this report’s proposed HSR alignment. While the existing line is used by multiple operators, governance is dominated by Amtrak. This existing Amtrak-dominated governance structure is not equipped to carry out an infrastructure project on the scale proposed by this report. The NECC will be a federal-state partnership, designed to build the new high-speed line between Boston and Washington and upgrade the existing railroad. Its establishment will require an act of Congress, and the participation of all eight states through which the corridor runs as well as the District of Columbia. THE NEC TODAY Served by Amtrak, eight commuter railroads and seven freight carriers, today’s Northeast Corridor is one of the most complicated rail lines in the world. 2 Unlike other intercity rail corridors in the United States, the entire Boston-Washington corridor is publicly owned and used primarily by passenger trains; most freight moves through the region on separate freight lines. While the Northeast Corridor operates as a unified passenger rail line, the track is currently owned by four governing bodies. Amtrak owns 80 percent of the line’s route-miles, including sections from the Massachusetts-Rhode Island state line through New Haven and from New Rochelle to Washington. 3 Additionally, Amtrak owns two key feeder routes, the Springfield-New Haven Inland Route and the Philadelphia-Harrisburg Keystone Line. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, through the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, owns track in Massachusetts, but the line is dispatched and maintained by Amtrak. 4 Finally the State of Connecticut owns the Metro-North section of the corridor, which is dispatched and maintained by MetroNorth. Typically each track owner prioritizes its own trains and needs over those of other operators, and communication among operators can be poor. Amtrak often holds back commuter trains to allow its own trains to pass. Past Amtrak capital improvements aimed to expedite intercity trains, sometimes at the expense of commuter traffic. For instance, the Connecticut Department of Transportation was forced to reduce its Shore Line East service to New London in 2003 so that Amtrak could add additional Boston-New York Acela trips. 5 Similarly, Metro-North


09 - Implementation: Governance & Financing

The existing governing bodies must evolve in order to rebuild the railroad to be more responsive to the needs of the Northeast Megaregion. The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA) created the Northeast Corridor Infrastructure and Operations Advisory Commission (NECIOAC), which will “promote mutual cooperation and planning pertaining to the rail operations and related activities of the Northeast Corridor.” 9 The body is composed of representatives of the Federal Railroad Administration, Amtrak, the eight states served by the line and the District of Columbia, with the FRA and Amtrak controlling the majority of seats. Freight railroads share a nonvoting seat on the board. The NECIOAC is currently charged with overseeing the state-of-good-repair-focused Northeast Corridor Master Plan and could evolve into a body with greater planning and operating responsibilities. 10

THE NORTHEAST CORRIDOR COMMISSION The proposed Northeast Corridor Commission (NECC) will be a robust governing institution for the corridor. The commission will be a federal-state partnership, evolving from the existing Northeast Corridor Infrastructure and Operations Advisory Commission. The new NECC will coordinate the planning and design of the new corridor, oversee the programmatic environmental impact statement, build and maintain

Federal Railroad Administration








Northeast Corridor Commission

Amtrak + Other Rail Operating Companies

Planning and Design




A new governance model: The Northeast Corridor Commission can achieve the fundamental goals of building high-speed rail in the NEC, preserving unified corridor operations, increasing states’ involvement, balancing operators’ needs, obtaining dedicated revenue streams, and successfully competing for federal HSR grants.


09 - Implementation: Governance & Financing

the new line, and centralize operations and dispatching in a way that will ensure operational neutrality. While the NECC will oversee the construction of the new line, actual work may be carried out by Amtrak, a state or the private sector. Property acquisition will be handled by Amtrak or the states, which already have the power of eminent domain. The NECC will be controlled by Amtrak, the Federal Railroad Administration and the states served by the Northeast Corridor. The majority of seats on the current NECIOAC are held by Amtrak and the FRA, ensuring continued federal oversight of the Northeast Corridor, a key asset for interstate transportation services. Each of the eight states served by the line and the District of Columbia has one seat, and the seven freight carriers that serve the line will have nonvoting representation. The NECIOAC’s board composition will be left in place for the new NECC, giving all stakeholders governance responsibility but retaining federal control to ensure continuity and balance the states’ needs. The NECC will be responsible for operating the Northeast Corridor, planning and building the new alignment, and maintaining both the existing and new railroads. Additionally, the NECC will oversee the completion of a state-of-good-repair program on the existing railroad but actual work may be carried out by the existing operators, Amtrak and Metro-North, which have considerable expertise with the line’s infrastructure. The new NECC will oversee planning and design for the new alignment, although work may be carried out by Amtrak, state agencies or the private sector. Amtrak (and the states in state-owned sections) may retain legal ownership of the line, but all rights and responsibilities for operations will be ceded to the NECC, in return for the NECC assuming responsibility for capital and operating costs on the entire corridor. This arrangement is similar to the existing governance structure on the Massachusetts portion of the corridor, where Amtrak is responsible for operating the state-owned line. 11 New high-speed bypasses could be owned by the NECC, Amtrak or a state transportation agency, but would be operated by the NECC. Consolidated operations and planning will ensure the continued viability of the Northeast Corridor; complete devolution to the states would rob the line of its unified nature, its greatest asset as a passenger line. Even if the tracks were technically owned by state agencies, the NECC would retain dispatching and planning powers for the line, enabling neutrality in operations and preserving the line’s interstate nature. All existing train operators, and potential future open-access companies, would pay trackage rights fees to the NECC to cover the operating and maintenance costs of the line. Stations could be operated by the existing operators, and new facilities, such as the proposed Charles Center Station in Baltimore, could be built by local redevelopment agencies. Finally, the NECC would have the ability to deal with contingencies, ensuring project completion, even in climates of fiscal uncertainty.



Moynihan Station Development Corporation New York’s Moynihan Station Development Corporation (MSDC) is building the new Moynihan Station in Midtown Manhattan. A subsidiary of the Empire State Development Corporation, the state’s development agency, MSDC recently received federal TIGER funds to complete phase one of the project. MSDC is a local development agency charged with building HSR-related infrastructure. 12 As a development agency, MSDC has the experience to coordinate the project’s construction, work with private developers and oversee the build-out of the neighborhood. Transit agencies rarely have the development expertise to complete this type of project. In addition, state-chartered redevelopment agencies are exempt from local land use controls and have the power of eminent domain. Like MSDC, similar state-chartered development corporations could receive federal funds to build new high-speed rail stations in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Ronkonkoma.

Proposed Moynihan Station. 13


FINANCING HIGH-SPEED RAIL The implementation of a high-speed rail network in the Northeast Corridor is a long-term project, from the planning stages to construction of the infrastructure and continued operation of the system. In order to properly implement HSR, there needs to be a dedicated source of funding that is sustained throughout the life of the proposed HSR system. The existing mechanism for financing improvements in the rail infrastructure of the Northeast is not equipped to undertake the task of building new HSR infrastructure and maintaining it over the long time frame of the project. In order to build and maintain the proposed HSR network, there needs to be a system for dedicated and sustainable financing that can handle the long time frame, large costs and complicated jurisdictional structure of building in the Northeast Megaregion. This report proposes that the Northeast Corridor Commission (NECC) should have the ability to fund HSR through a dedicated HSR trust fund, and the authority to issue guarantees in order to open select parts of the infrastructure market to private investment. EXISTING FUNDING MECHANISMS The existing mechanism for funding rail in the NEC is fragmented and based on short-term needs. The complicated ownership structure of the existing line divides maintenance responsibilities among different operators that have separate funding sources. The majority of the NEC line is owned by Amtrak, which is funded through yearly appropriations from Congress and is sensitive to political will. The funding that Amtrak receives is sufficient only to operate the system for a year and not enough to maintain a state of good repair or deal with contingencies. The profit that Amtrak receives from ticket sales in the Northeast Corridor cannot be used for improvements to the system, but instead subsidizes Amtrak service in other areas of the U.S. Other owner-operators like Metro-North receive funding from state governments. This funding approach does not promote a longrange strategy that allows for long-term investments of the kind being proposed in this report. 14 HSR AS NEW INTERSTATE TRANSPORTATION In the Northeast Corridor, the construction of two dedicated HSR tracks from Boston to Washington will represent a 21st-century infrastructure investment analogous to the construction of the Interstate Highway System in the period from 1956-’90. 15


09 - Implementation: Governance & Financing

HSR infrastructure will create new relationships between cities and enable new opportunities for economic development throughout the megaregion. It will benefit not only HSR passengers, but everyone living and working in the Northeast, including nonusers who benefit from the increased capacity of conventional travel modes and from new economic development opportunities. These region-wide benefits make the NECC an ideal authority to provide the funding needed for the proposed HSR investment. 16 NECC AS LEADING FINANCIER In order to overcome these funding limitations and generate a dedicated and sustainable source for long-term investment, the NECC could take a leadership role and assume the responsibility of funding the proposed HSR line. The NECC would follow the precedent set by national governments in Europe and Asia that have successfully built HSR systems and provided all or most of the long-term funding necessary for HSR infrastructure. In these countries, HSR became a priority transportation policy, and their transportation budgets were adjusted to reflect the increased need for funding with dedicated allocations from the general fund of the national government. In Spain, for example, half of the national transportation budget through 2030 is dedicated to funding the AVE HSR system. 19

UK (HSR1) Italy Taiwan France South Korea China Germany Japan Russia Spain 0





Percent of Public Share

Public share of HSR investment: international comparisons. 18



for their contribution to the investment. Bond financing could be used to pay for both instrastructure construction and maintenance costs. 27 TAX INCREMENT FINANCING FOR STATIONS AND TRANSIT After the HSR infrastructure is built, the real estate value surrounding HSR stations will not immediately increase. Improvements to local transit services will be required so that HSR is conveniently connected to its passengers. Further improvements will be needed in station areas across metropolitan regions to promote new economic activity and real estate development. A potential funding source for these projects would be tax increment financing (TIF) by cities. Floating municipal bonds and borrowing against the future value of the real estate in station areas could generate the funding needed to create the local transit connections needed to complement HSR and overcome the barriers to real estate development in station areas. 28 POTENTIAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS The opportunities for private sector investment in HSR are limited. The nature of the investment has high upfront costs, estimated at $98.1 billion, and significant construction and market risks that would make finance and construction of the system inappropriate for a public/private partnership transaction. The timeframe of the HSR project is too long for the private sector to realize benefits from the increased ridership of passengers and station development. Moreover, station development is unlikely to occur because there are high cost barriers to station-area development. These existing conditions make HSR investment too risky for the private sector. Once the public sector funding mechanism for HSR is established, there may be opportunities for private sector investment to overcome these barriers and invest in certain phases of the project. Investment could be matched with government guarantees to mitigate the risks of infrastructure investment. HSR OPERATION PARTNERSHIPS Public-private partnerships established after the HSR infrastructure has been built will allow the government to recapture value from its investment. Public-private opportunities could occur through long-term operating leases of the infrastructure with the private sector. In the UK, for example, the British government expects to recapture 40 percent of its total capital investment in the HS1 rail link between Kent and London through a 49-year lease of the line to a private group that will operate


09 - Implementation: Governance & Financing

and maintain this HSR route. 29 Other potential operational partnerships could occur with airlines, like the partnership between Deutche Bahn and Lufthansa on Germany’s ICE system. This approach would ensure a long-term cash flow from HSR for the government. 30 The switch to a private operator would also take off the pressure of public financing for maintenance and operations in case the public financing that is generated cannot meet the increasing operational demands of the HSR system. INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT GUARANTEES Private investment for the construction of HSR and local transit could be generated through a program that guarantees loans for institutional and private investors. This precedent of government guarantees for generating private infrastructure financing was established through the Transportation Infrastructure Financing and Innovation Act of 1998. Expanding this program could activate investment in HSR. 31 STATION-AREA DEVELOPMENT Station-area development also provides prospects for public-private partnerships. The sale or lease of development rights from the NECCowned HSR line to public or private groups in districts surrounding HSR stations could provide the added land value to make development feasible. 32 Transfers of development rights would need to be coordinated with other policies to overcome the high cost of development in station areas and the lack of demand for station-area commercial space. An opportunity zone, created by a state or city government, which reduces taxes for both the real estate owners and tenants, could be used to attract new development. The transfer of development rights and the presence of the Keystone Opportunity Improvement Zone in a difficultto-develop area around 30th Street Station helped Brandywine Realty Trust overcome development barriers to successfully build the Cira Centre. If used elsewhere in the Northeast, this technique would, of course, reduce tax revenues that might otherwise go toward TIF financing of HSR or related local transit investments. 33 The implementation of HSR in the Northeast Corridor is a responsibility that needs to be assumed by the public sector because it can absorb the high upfront costs and manage the risks of infrastructure investment. After the public sector has taken on the financing of HSR, opportunities could emerge for private sector investment. The value recaptured from the resulting public/private partnerships could provide a mechanism for reinvestment in HSR or investments in further economic growth.



Crossrail: Heaven’s Gate, UK


Capital Costs

Appendix B:

Ridership Projections

Appendix C:

Benefit-Cost Analysis

Appendix D:



APPENDIX A: CAPITAL COSTS All unit capital costs are adapted from the California High-Speed Train Project’s Preliminary Engineering and Environmental Documentation. Unit costs are adjusted to reflect 2010 dollars and Northeast prices. Some of the larger capital projects are special cases, and those cost estimates are adjusted to the appropriate scale. UNIT PRICE COST ELEMENTS



Track Items Double Track Section - Total Double Track Section - At-Grade



Double Track Section - On Structure



Double Track Section - In Tunnel or Subway



Double Track Section - In Trench



Single Track Section - At Grade



Single Track Section - On Structure



Single Track Sections - In Tunnel or Subway



Single Track Section - In Trench



Single Track Section - Total

Structures, Tunnels, Walls


Standard Structure



High Structure



Long Span Structure



Waterway Crossing - Primary



Waterway Crossing - Secondary (Irrigation/Canal Crossing)


Twin Single Track Drill & Blast (<6 Miles)



Twin Single Track TBM (<6 Miles)



Twin Single Track TBM w/3rd Tube (>6 Miles)




Double Track Drill & Blast



Double Track Mined (Soft Soil)



Seismic Chamber (Drill & Blast/Mined)






Cut & Cover Double Track Tunnel



Trench Short



Trench Long



Mechanical & Electrical for Tunnels



Retaining Walls



Containment Walls



Single Track Cut and Cover Subway







Grade Separations Street Overcrossing HSR - (Urban)


Street Overcrossing HSR - (Suburban)



Street Overcrossing HSR - (Undeveloped)




Street Undercrossing HSR - (Urban)



Street Undercrossing HSR - (Suburban)



Street Undercrossing HSR - (Undeveloped)



Minor crossing closures



Building Items Stations


$25,000,000 $5,000,000,000

Right-of-Way Items Right-of-Way Required for Each Segment Dense Urban






Dense Suburban









Dense Urban






Dense Suburban









Right-of-Way Required for Passenger Station & Parking Facilities

System Elements Signaling (ATC)



Communications (w/Fiber Optic Backbone)



Wayside Protection System



Traction Power Supply



Traction Power Distribution



Electrification Items

Rail Junctions Trainset


$50,000,000 $1,000,000,000

Vehicle Costs Trainset



Overhead/Project Management 25% of capital costs

Environmental Mitigation 3% of capital costs




Market Size




Low Scenario

High Scenario







Boston Back Bay







Riverside/Rte. 128
































Worcester Tolland/UConn Hartford Meriden New Haven













Terryville/SUNY Stony Brook







Ronkonkoma/MacArthur Airport







Farmingdale/Rte. 110







Nassau Hub













New York Moynihan Station







Newark Penn Station



















New Brunswick







Princeton Junction





































Newark, Del.




















BWI Airport




















New York Jamaica Station

Newark Liberty International Airport Metropark

Trenton Cornwell Heights Philadelphia Market East Station Philadelphia International Airport Wilmington

Baltimore Charles Center

New Carrollton Washington, D.C. Union Station Sub-Total













2008 BASELINE Existing Shore Line Route

Market Size



Market Size


Westwood/Rte. 128










West Kingston















New London





Old Saybrook






























Stamford New Rochelle Sub-Total GRAND TOTAL


Market Size


APPENDIX C: BENEFIT-COST ANALYSIS DISCOUNT RATE A social discount rate of four percent was used as the interest rate for finding the value of money at different future times. This rate was determined based on a review of cost-benefit analyses for transportation projects like the California HSR, Greengauge 21 and Omega Centre studies. REVENUE HSR revenue is generated from the operating costs needed for projected ridership of 55 million passengers in 2030. The revenue assumes a 17 percent return on the operating costs. This return will garner interest from private sector investment. Regular rail revenue change is based on a 30 percent shift in ridership from Amtrak Regional Rail service to HSR. This 30 percent reduction was applied to Amtrak profits for the Northeast Corridor and adjusted to 2030 future values at a four percent rate. BENEFITS The travel time savings, foregone death and injury (safety), improved capacity and highway decongestion were not readily quantifiable for the Northeast Corridor. As a result, the benefit values determined in the California HSR cost-benefit analysis and the Greengauge 21 cost-benefit analysis were scaled to the Northeast Corridor study area and projected ridership. The Greengauge 21 values were converted from British pounds to 2010 U.S. dollars and adjusted from future values in 2055 to future values in 2030. The carbon emission reduction value is based on the value generated in the sustainability chapter of this report. The amount of carbon metric tons saved from the projected use of HSR was multiplied by the value that metric tons were traded at according to the Chicago Climate Exchange in 2008. This value was adjusted to 2030 values. COSTS The infrastructure/rolling stock and construction inconvenience costs were calculated based on the capital costs determined by the HSR design. The operations were determined based on Amtrak operational costs per track mile in 2010 and adjusted to 2030 values, with an interest rate of four percent.



APPENDIX D: PRESENTATION The following are slides from a presentation given at the U.S. Department of Transportation on May 11, 2010. An electronic version is available at






























REFERENCES AND CITATIONS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1. Vogel, J. M. (2009, October 09). Connecting Europe At High Speed. Retrieved May 09, 2010, from Jeroen M. A. Vogel’s Blog: http://jeroenmavogel.files.wordpress. com/2009/09/tgv1.jpg

CHAPTER 2: ANALYSIS OF EXISTING CONDITIONS 1. U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 2009 2. Uniting People, Places & Systems: Megalopolis Unbound, April 2006 http://www. 3. U.S. Census Bureau, TIGER/Line files (US Census Bureau) 4. Northeast Megaregion 2050, A Common Future, November 2007 pdf/Northeast_Report_sm.pdf 5. The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (2003). Dreaming With BRICs: The Path to 2050. 6. USGS Land Cover Institute. (2010, May). The USGS Land Cover Institute. Retrieved April 10, 2010, from 7. TCRP Report 74, (2000). The Costs of Sprawl. Washington D.C.: National Academy Press. 8. RPA, America 2050 (GIS data used for report) 9. Northeast Megaregion 2050, A Common Future, November 2007 http://www.rpa. org/pdf/Northeast_Report_sm.pdf 10. Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. PlaNYC: A Greener, Greater New York. April, 2007. 11. Uniting People, Places & Systems: Megalopolis Unbound. 12. Central Intelligence Agency. (2010). CIA-The World Factbook. Retrieved April 10, 2010, from Central Intelligence Agency: publications/the-world-factbook/index.html 13. Ibid. 14. Ibid. 15. Uniting People, Places & Systems: Megalopolis Unbound, April 2006 http://www.


16. Reinventing Megalopolis: The Northeast MegaRegion, Spring 2005 http:// 17. Academic Ranking of World Universities. (n.d.). Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). Retrieved April 10, 2010, from Academic Ranking of World Univerisities : 18. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2004). Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Employment Statistics Survey. Retrieved March 3, 2010, from Bureau of Labor Statistics:; Image from Regional Plan Association. (2007, November 7). Northeast Megaregion 2050: A Common Future. Retrieved March 3, 2010, from Regional Plan Association: sm.pdf 19. The Northeast Corridor Infrastructure Master Plan, October 2009 - (pdf) 20. Airport congestion data provided by the Regional Plan Association; Congestion GIS layers from: National Transportation Atlas Database (NTAD) 2009: Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) Polyline Shapefiles 21. Beauchamp, D., & Warren, R. (2009). Transportation Policy and Governance in the Northeast Corridor: An Overview of Major Public Agencies. Univ. of Delaware Transportation Center. 22. US Census Bureau, 2000 Decennial Census data (SF3); graphic inspiration from 23. Fulton, W., Pendall, R., Nguyen, M., & Harrison, A. (2001). Who Sprawls Most? How Growth Patterns Differ Across the U.S. Texas Transprotation Institute . (2009). TTI Urban Mobility Report. University of Transportation Center for Mobility. 24. Ibid. 25. Presentation to the Studio by Kip Berkstrom, Executive Director, Urban Redevelopment Commission of Stamford, Conn. 26. Fulton, Pendall, Nguyen & Harrison. Who Sprawls Most? 27. EPA United States Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). US Environmental Agency. Retrieved April 10, 2010, from EPA United States Environmental Protection Agency: 28. Data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. 29. Tomer, A., and Puentes, R. Brookings Institution, Metropolitan Policy Program. (2009). Expect Delays: An Analysis of Air Travel Trends in the United States. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution. Retrieved from http://www. 30. Ibid. 31. Ibid. 32. Amtrak. The Northeast Corridor Infrastructure Master Plan, October 2009. 33. Ibid. 34. Information from the Washington Metro Transportation Authority, http://www., and the Maryland Transit Administration, 35. Information from the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, http://, and New Jersey Transit, 36. Information from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority,, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey,, and New Jersey Transit, 37. Information from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, http://www.


Executive Summary 38. Amtrak. The Northeast Corridor Infrastructure Master Plan, October 2009. 39. Ibid. 40. Ibid.; Information on the busiest Amtrak stations are from the 2009 Amtrak State Fact Sheets for the individual states along the Northeast Corridor. 41. Amtrak. The Northeast Corridor Infrastructure Master Plan, October 2009. 42. Ibid. 43. Ibid. 44. Travel times are current as of April 2010 for regularly scheduled services on 45. Average travel speeds calculated by dividing station distances by travel times. 46. Travel time information on the AVE and Shinkensen systems was obtained from their respective ticketing websites, and represent currently operating service as of April, 2010. Average speeds were calculated for the Madrid-Barcelona and Toyko-Osaka city pairs. 47. Amtrak. The Northeast Corridor Infrastructure Master Plan, October 2009. 48. Ibid. 49. Ibid. 50. Ibid. 51. Ibid. 52. Ibid. 53. Ibid. 54. Ibid. 55. Ibid. 56. Ibid.

CHAPTER 3: DESIGNING A HIGH-SPEED RAIL SERVICE First page image credit: Taiwanese High-speed rail train. photo available via creative commons from flickr user “yeowatzup”. Available at: photos/yeowatzup/2364604496/sizes/o/ 1. R. Clifford Black (2005). The Acela Express. Japan Railway & Transport Review. April 12, 2010. 2. Amtrak Track Charts, provided by Foster Nichols, Jr. of Parsons Brinckerhoff. 3. Amtrak. State Fact Sheets. April 12, 2010, From: servlet/ContentServer?c=AM_Content_C&pagename=am/ Layout&cid=1241267288095. 4. Greater London Authority. The London Plan. April 12, 2010. From: 5. Fyra brand for Amsterdam—Brussels high speed. “Railway Gazette International”. April 7, 2010. From: 6. Transport for London. Resources and Investments. April 12, 2010. From: www.tfl.



CHAPTER 4: DESIGNING LOCAL AND REGIONAL CONNECTIONS 1. [Photograph of DC Circulator Banner]. Flickr user rllayman. Retrieved from 2. District Department of Transportation. (January 2010). DC Circulator Ridership Data Report. Washington, D.C. 3. [Traffic calming in Amsterdam image]. World Changing blog. Retrieved from http:// 4. [Portland streetcar image] ProTransit Cincinnati. Retrieved from http:// 5. [Philadelphia bike lane image]. Flickr user K_Gradinger. Retrieved from http:// 6. ZipCar: Green Benefits. Retrieved from 7. Mayor of London. (2008). The London Plan (Consolidated with Alterations Since 2004). Greater London Authority. 8. [Image of London PTAL]. Ibid. 9. Archer, C. [E-ZPass Express lane.] Retrieved from NJMonthly Magazine online, October 6, 2008 10. [Based on organizational chart of Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg]. Auf dem besten Weg in die Zukunft. Berlin, 2010. 11. Pucher, John and Ralph Buehler. “Sustainable Transportation That Works: Lessons from Germany.” World Transport Policy and Practice 15.1 (2009): 13 - 46. 12. Bay Area Regional Rail Plan: Local & Regional Transit Connections Survey. EarthTech, DMJM Harris, AECOM. April 12, 2007. 13. Pucher, John and Stefan Kurth. “Verkehrsverbund: The Success of Regional Public Transport in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.” Transport Policy 2.4 (1996): 279 - 291. 14. Appleby, Tristan. [Legible London Sign at Waterloo image] Retrieved from http:// 15. [SEPTA 30th Street Station Main Entrance]. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/30th_Street_%28SEPTA_station%29 16. Bohlin Cywinski Jackson/Philadelphia City Planning Commission. Station Square Planning Study. City of Philadelphia, 2008 17. Ibid. 18. [NJ Transit Capital Connection logo]. NJ Transit Capital Connection Schedule, 2010. Retrieved from 19. Van Tosh, R. (2010). [Images of Union Station, New Haven, Conn.] 20. New Haven Parking Authority, ConnDOT, Jones Lang LaSalle. New Haven Union Station Transit-Oriented Development Study. City of New Haven, 2008. 21. New Haven Streetcar Assessment. Prepared by I Stone Consulting & Design and TranSystems. April 2008. 22. [Bikeshelter DC image]. Retrieved from asp 23. [Parnell Place Bus Terminal image]. Retrieved from php/contract/focus/bus_station_cork/ 24. Van Tosh, R., 2010. [Image of New Haven bus shelter].


Executive Summary

CHAPTER 5: REDESIGNING STATIONS AND STATION AREAS 1 . Grand Central Terminal . (2010, April 15). Grand Central Terminal . Retrieved April 15, 2010, from History :

2. Ibid. 3. Hagler, Y. (2009, October 19). New York Transportation Journal. Retrieved April 15, 2010, from The Northeast Megaregion: A Stronger Future with High Speed Rail: ttp:// 4. Miller, C. (2009, November 1). The American Conservative . Retrieved April 15, 2010, from Shopped Out: The Changing Face of American Retail: http://www. Hagler, 5. Kevin Spencer (Photographer). (2008). Grand Central Station [Photograph], from: 6. Union Station Washington DC. (2010, April 15). Union Station. (T. U. Jones Lang LaSalle, Producer) Retrieved April 15, 2010, from History: http://www. 7. Diana Cornely. (2010). Union Station Retail and Public Space [Photograph], May 7, 2010. 8. St. Pancras International . (2010, April 20). Retrieved April 20, 2010, from http:// 9. Chapman, P. (2010, March 10). Managing Director, High-speed Rail 1 . (S. Zapata and D. Cornely, Interviewers) 10. Diana Cornely. (2010). St. Pancras Retail and Public Space [Photograph], May 7, 2010. 11. A rendering of the proposed Moynihan Station [Photograph]. From: http://www. Regional Plan Association . (2005, November ). Rebirth of a Gateway: Moynihan Station. 13. Friends of Moynihan Station. (2010, April 15). Friends of Moynihan Station . Retrieved April 15, 2010, from A Narrative History: http://www. 14. Ibid. 15. Diana Cornely. (2010). Penn Station [Photograph], May 7, 2010. 16. The Urban Land Institute. (2008). Hartford, Connecticut: Redeveloping an Urban Gateway. Washington, D.C.: The Urban Land Institute. 17. AntyDiluvian (Photographer). (2007). South Station A-Frame [Photograph], from: 18. Google Inc. (2009). Google Earth (Version 5.1.3533.1731) [Software]. Available from 19. Gunts, E. (2009, May 29). Inn Pulls Into Station: Amtrak Plans Hotel in Area Tagged For Revitalization. The Baltimore Sun. 20. Newman, P., & Thornley, A. (1995). Euralille: Boosterism at the Centre of Europe. European Urban and Regional Studies , 2 (3), 237-246. 21. Tiry, T. (1999). From Lille-Flanders to Lille-Europe- The Evolution of a Railway Station. Japan Railway and Transport Review , 20, 44-49. 22. Diana Cornely. (2010). Euralille [Photograph], May 7, 2010.



23. Amtrak. (2008). Connecting America: Safer, Greener, Healthier (Amtrak Annual Report 2008). Washington, D.C. 24. University of Pennsylvania. (2007-2010). PennConnects: -- Cira Centre South Overview. Retrieved 04 15, 2010, from PennConnects: http://www. to_f/cira_centre_south_overview.php 25. Image on page 85: Real Capital Analytics. (2010, April 15). Real Capital Analytics. Retrieved April 15, 2010, from Philadelphia : trends.aspx 26. Image on page 93:Camden Yards, Baltimore (Photograph). (2010). April 15, 2010, from: 15 Camden%20Yards,%20Baltimore,%20Maryland.jpg 27. Image on page 93: Calatrava,-Liege (Photograph). (2010). April 15, 2010, from: COneil+JCarlos_001x.jpg 28. Images on page 93: Baltimore Inner Harbor (Photograph). (2010). April 15, 2010, from: 29. Image on page 93: City Parks Foundation (Photograph). (2010). April 15, 2010, from:

CHAPTER 6: SUSTAINABILITY 1. [untitled photo of NJ pinelands]. Retrieved April 15, 2010, from: http://www. 2. [untitled photo of Wilmington, DE skyline]. Retrieved April 15, 2010, from: http:// 3. [untitled photo of community march]. Retrieved April 15, 2010, from: http://farm3. 4. Coffin, A. W. (2007, September). From roadkill to road ecology: A review of the ecological effects of roads. Journal of Transport Geography, 15(5), 396-406. Retrieved from tockey=%23TOC%236032%232007%23999849994%23665618%23FLA%23&_ cdi=6032&_pubType=J&_auth=y&_acct=C000022721&_version=1&_ urlVersion=0&_userid=489256&md5=ea257933d02f4a87251c81171fc74b42 5. Ibid. p. 396. 6. [untitled photo of mixed-use in Boston, MA]. Retrieved May 4, 2010, from: https:// 7. About Smart Growth. (2010). Smart Growth Online. Retrieved April, 2010, from Smart Growth Network website: asp?res=1280 8. Federal Railroad Administration. (2009, October). Preliminary National Rail Plan. p. 16. 9. Nonpoint Source Pollution: The Nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Largest Water Quality Problem. (2010). Polluted Runoff. Retrieved April, 2010, from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website: 10. Stormwater Program. (2009). National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. Retrieved April, 2010, from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website: 11. Storm water from our roads and drainage ditches. (2010). St. Johnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s River Water


Executive Summary

Management District. Retrieved April, 2010, from runoff-stormwater.html 12. Table data adapted from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Guidance Specifying Management Measurements for Sources of Non Point Pollution in Coastal Waters, Washington, D.C.: Office of Water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1997 and Federal Highway Administration.Sources and Mitigation of Highway Runoff Pollutants, Washington, D.C.: Federal Highway Administration. 13. Data for chart from: Environmental Protection Agency. (2010). Draft U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report. Washington D.C. 14. Ibid. 15. Center for Clean Air Policy, Center for Neighborhood Technology. (2006). High Speed Rail and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the U.S. Washington, D.C. 16. Hamilton, K., Sjardin, M., & Shapiro, A. (2009). Fortifying the Foundation: State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets. Ecosystem Marketplace and New Carbon Finance . 17. University Of Delaware (1999, August 17). Smog Impacts: Hurtling Through Airways, Tiny Particles May Do More Damage Than Previously Assumed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 22, 2010, from releases/1999/08/990817065736.htm 18. Wang LY, Zhong Y, Wheeler L. Direct and Indirect Costs of Asthma in School-Age Children. Prev Chronic Dis. 2005 Jan;2(1):A11. 19. Manjeet Dhuga, asthma educator [Photograph]. (2008). Retrieved April 10, 2010 from: asp?ID=3&IID=113&AID=1441 20. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. (2008). Transportation Statistics Annual Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Transportation, Research and Innovative Technology Administration. 21. U.S. Energy Information Administration. (2008). International Energy Annual. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Energy. 22. Bernanke, B. S. (1997). Systematic Monetary Policy and the Effects of Oil Price Shocks. Brookings Papers on Economic Activity , 91-157. 23. Currie, G., & Phung, J. (2007). Transit Ridership, Auto Gas Prices, and World Events: New Drivers of Change? Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board , 3-10. 24. Northeast. (2010). America 2050: Megaregions. Retrieved April, 2010, from America 2050 website: 25. World Business Council for Sustainable Development. (2002). The Business Case for Sustainable Development. Switzerland: World Business Council for Sustainable Development. 26. Fortune 500. (2010). 100 Best Companies to Work For. Retrieved March 23, 2010, from snapshots/1.html 27. [untitled photo of suburban sprawl]. Retrieved May 7, 2010, from: http://www. 28. Center for Neighborhood Technology. (2010). Pennywise pound fuelish: New measures of housing and transportation affordability. Chicago: Center for Neighborhood Technology. 29. Ibid. 30. [untitled photo of Madison Street in Jersey City]. Retrieved April 28, 2010,



from: JuXcLKoCA7k/Madison+Street+in+Jersey+City.jpg 31. Holzer, H., & Lermen, L. (2007). America’s Forgotten Middle-Skill Jobs. Washington D.C.: The Workforce Alliance. 32. Center for Neighborhood Technology. (2010). Pennywise pound fuelish: New measures of housing and transportation affordability. Chicago: Center for Neighborhood Technology. 33. [untitled photo of suburban sprawl]. Retrieved May 7, 2010, from: http://www.mbl. edu/news/features/images/aerial.jpg 34. Rhodes, Elizabeth. New Mortgage Rewards Those Who Take The Bus. 14 November 1999. 1 May 2010 < =19991114&slug=2995194>. 35. [untitled photo of New York Subway riders]. Retrieved May 7, 2010, from: http:// 36. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. (2008). Transportation Statistics Annual Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Transportation, Research ans Innovative Technology Administration. 37. Lowe, M. D. (1994). Back on Track: The Global Rail Revival. Washington: Worldwatch Institute.

CHAPTER 7: THE TRANSFORMATIVE POTENTIAL OF HIGHSPEED RAIL 1. Icopythat, Subway Ghosts [photograph]. (2005) Retrieved May 5, 2010 from: http:// 2. R. Purushothaman, D. W. (2003). Dreaming With BRICs: The Path to 2050. Goldman Sachs, New York. 3. Chen, C.-L., & Hall, P. (2009). The Impacts of High-Speed Trains on British Economic Geography: A Study of the UK’s IC125/225 and its Effects. London: University College London. 4. Glaeser, E. (2010, April 13). Why Humanity Loves, and Needs, Cities. The New York Times. 5. Ibid. 6. Greengauge 21. (2009). Fast forward a high-speed rail strategy for Britain. Greengauge 7. Ibid, 16. 8. Bartik, T. J., & Erickcek, G. (2007). Higher Education, the Health Care Industry and Metropolitan Regional Economic Development: What Can “Eds & Meds” Do for the Economic Fortunes of a Metro Area’s Residents? Kalamazoo: The W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. 9. Ibid., 3. 10. Greengauge 21 (2009), 62. 11. Chen, Hall, 16. 12. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2009). Metropolitan Unemployment Rate. Retrieved April 2010, from Bureau of Labor Statistics: 13. Ibid. 14. Ibid. 15. Center for Neighborhood Technology. (2010). Pennywise pound fuelish: New


Executive Summary

measures of housing and transportation affordability. Chicago: Center for Neighborhood Technology. 16. Ibid, 4. 17. Holzer, H., & Lermen, L. (2007). America’s Forgotten Middle-Skill Jobs. Washington D.C.: The Workforce Alliance. 18. Center for Neighborhood Technology. (2010) 19. Joffley, Friday Night Commute [photograph]. (2010) Retrieved April 30, 2010 from:

CHAPTER 8: COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS 1. US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. (2007, August 27). Economic Analysis Primer. Retrieved April 2010, from FHWA Asset Management: 2. Littman, T. (2009). Evaluating Public Transit Benefits and Costs. Victoria Public Transport Insitute. 3. De Rus, G., & Inglada, V. (1997). Cost-benefit analysis of the high-speed train in Spain. Annals of Regional Science , 175-188. 4. Amtrak. (2010). FY 2010-2014 Five Year Financial Plan. 5. Cambridge Systematics. Benefit Cost Analysis. California High Speed Rail Authority. 6. Center for Clean Air Policy & Center for Neighborhood Technology. (2006). High Speed Rail and Greenhouse Gas Emissions. 7. Chicago Climate Exchange. (n.d.). Chicago Climate Exchange. Retrieved 2010, from 8. Greengauge 21. (2009). Fast Forward A High Speed Rail Strategy for Britain. Retrieved 2010, from 9. Eddington, R. (2006). The Case for Action: Sir Rod Eddington’s Advice to Government. London: UK Department of Transport. 10. Cambridge Systematics. Benefit Cost Analysis. California High Speed Rail Authority. 11. Cambridge Systematics. Benefit Cost Analysis. California High Speed Rail Authority. 12. Greengauge 21. (2009). Fast Forward A High Speed Rail Strategy for Britain. Retrieved 2010, from 13. Eddington, R. (2006). The Case for Action: Sir Rod Eddington’s Advice to Government. London: UK Department of Transport. 14. US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. (2007, August 27). Economic Analysis Primer. Retrieved April 2010, from FHWA Asset Management: 15. Wenban-Smith, A. (2009). Report to GreenGauge 21: Complementary measures to facilitate regional economic benefits. 16. Wilson, D., & Purushothaman, R. (2003). Dreaming with BRICs: The Path to 2050. Goldman Sachs. 17. Omega Centre. (2008). Project Profile UK Channel Tunnel Rail Link. London: University College London Bartlett School of Planning. 18. Eddington, R. (2006). The Case for Action: Sir Rod Eddington’s Advice to Government. London: UK Department of Transport. 19. Omega Centre. (2008). Project Profile UK Channel Tunnel Rail Link. London: University College London Bartlett School of Planning.



CHAPTER 9: IMPLEMENTATION 1. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, (2010). Retrieved from http:// 2. Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center, (2006). Northeast corridor action plan: a call for a new federal-state partnership. Retrieved from vtc/reports/REPORTS/NECAP.pdf. 3. Amtrak. (2009, October 21). An interim assessment of achieving improved trip times on the northeast corridor. Retrieved from BlobServer?blobcol=urldata&blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobkey=id&blobw here=1249200685700&blobheader=application%2Fpdf&blobheadername1 =Content-disposition&blobheadervalue1=attachment;filename=Amtrak_ AmtrakNortheastCorridorAssessment.pdf. 4. Amtrak. (2009, 15 April). Northeast corridor state of good repair spend plan. Retrieved from lobtable=MungoBlobs&blobkey=id&blobwhere=1249200493941&blobheader= application%2Fpdf&blobheadername1=Content-disposition&blobheadervalue1 =attachment;filename=Amtrak_NEC_StateOfGoodRepair_PRIIA.pdf. 5. Freemark, Y. (2009, September 9). Getting the price right: how much should high-speed fares cost?. Retrieved from getting-the-price-right-how-much-should-high-speed-fares-cost/. 6. NEC Master Plan Working Group. (2009). The Northeast corridor infrastructure master plan [Draft Version 1.0, October 2009]. 7. (GW Bridge Image: ff_o.jpg)(Appalachian Mountain Images: http://5ridgefield.files.wordpress. com/2008/09/grandfathermountain.jpg) 8. Image from: jpg 9. Passenger Rail Improvement and Investment Act of 2008. Retrieved from bills&docid=f:h6003ih.txt.pdf. 10. Ibid. 11. Roth, D, & Aggarwala, R. (2002). Whose Railroad is this anyway? Opportunities and challenges in regionalizing the northeast corridor. Transportation research record, 1785. Retrieved from fulltext, 3. 12. (Moynihan Station Image: source Empire State Development Corporation/http:// 13. Empire State Development Corporation/ Subsidiaries_Projects/images/Moynihan2.jpg 14. Amtrak. (2010). FY2010-2014 Five Year Financial Plan. 15. National Surface Transportation Board. (2008). Transportation for Tomorrow: Report of the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission. 16. Chapman, P. (2010, March 6). HS1 Ltd. 17. Omega Centre. (2008). Project Profile UK Channel Tunnel Rail Link. London: University College London Bartlett School of Planning. 18. Ernst & Young. (2009). International case studies on delivery and financing â&#x20AC;&#x201C;a report for HS2. London.


Executive Summary

19. Ibid. 20. Ibid. 21. Ibid. 22. Ibid. 23. National Surface Transportation Board. (2008). Transportation for Tomorrow: Report of the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission. 24. Ibid. 25. Brown, K. (2007). Are Public-Private Transactions the Future of Infrastructure Finance. Public Works Management & Policy , 320-324. 26. National Surface Transportation Board. (2008). Transportation for Tomorrow: Report of the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission. 27. Brown, K. (2007). Are Public-Private Transactions the Future of Infrastructure Finance. Public Works Management & Policy , 320-324. 27. Sweeney, G. (2010, February 19). President, Chief Executive Officer of Brandywine Realty Trust. 28. Chapman, P. (2010, March 6). HS1 Ltd. 29. Ernst & Young. (2009). International case studies on delivery and financing â&#x20AC;&#x201C;a report for HS2. London. 30. 23 USC 601-609 - SAFETEA LU Section(s): 1601 31. Chapman, P. (2010, March 6). HS1 Ltd. 32. 23 USC 601-609 - SAFETEA LU Section(s): 1601 33. Papageorge, A., Sehnert, P., & Kocent, M. (2010, February 12). University of Pennsylvania Facilities and Real Estate Services. 34. Ibid. 35. Omega Centre. (2008). Project Profile UK Channel Tunnel Rail Link. London: University College London Bartlett School of Planning.

GIS DATA SOURCES To complete the studio analysis and large parts of the proposed design solutions, a significant amount of GIS data was used, which came from a number of different sources. The major providers of this data are as follows:

Regional Plan Association (America 2050): political and administrative

boundaries, demographics, land use, open space, and the entire transportation network across many different modes.

U.S. Census Bureau: demographic and administrative data through TIGER/Line files.

ESRI: public data for aerial photography (World Imagery) and street network analysis (U.S. Street Map).

U.S. Geological Survey: land cover and bathymetry data. Wharton GIS Lab: Northeast business data. Delaware Valley Regional Planning Association (DVRPC): regional transportation systems.



Making High-Speed Rail Work in the Northeast Megaregion  

2010 Studio report

Making High-Speed Rail Work in the Northeast Megaregion  

2010 Studio report