High Speed Ground Transportation:

Strategic Approach Needed for Introduction of HSGT

T-RCED-93-35: Published: Apr 29, 1993. Publicly Released: Apr 29, 1993.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

GAO discussed the development of high-speed ground transportation (HSGT) in the United States, focusing on: (1) alternative HSGT technologies; and (2) infrastructure improvements needed to implement HSGT on existing railroad rights-of-way. GAO noted that: (1) HSGT costs will vary depending on what technology is adopted; (2) the incremental approach to HSGT costs the least because it does not require new right-of-way acquisition, but HSGT costs will increase as top speed increases to 150 miles per hour (mph); (3) electrifying track and eliminating grade crossings are the most expensive ways to upgrade existing rail services; (4) the incremental approach to HSGT would require the cooperation of freight railroads, since they own most of the existing rights-of-way; (5) Amtrak continues to improve high-speed service in its northeast corridor operations with electric trains, but it is exploring development of a fast nonelectric locomotive that could operate on nonelectrified tracks; (5) trains faster than 150 mph will require dedicated rights-of-way and specialized guideways for magnetic levitation systems, which could increase costs by up to 300 percent; (6) HSGT development has been slow because investors perceive high risks and poor revenue projections with HSGT; (7) HSGT could produce social benefits such as relief from airport and highway congestion, energy conservation, and air and noise pollution abatement, but they are difficult to measure; and (8) increased federal funding could spur HSGT development by reducing the perceived investment risk, but Congress needs to target resources to ensure that projects are built.

Jan 7, 2021

Dec 18, 2020

Dec 17, 2020

Nov 24, 2020

Nov 19, 2020

Nov 16, 2020

Nov 9, 2020

Oct 29, 2020

Sep 30, 2020

Looking for more? Browse all our products here