The United States Federal Government should substantially increase its investment in high-speed rail (evidence, bib)

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The articles listed below make general, short arguments in favor of HSR. 

Benefits of High-Speed Rail for the United States

8 Benefits of High-speed Trains

 Fact Sheet | High Speed Rail Development Worldwide

Ten reasons America needs high-speed rail

Public Transit and the Benefits of High-Speed Rail

Why the US needs to get on track with high-speed rail

Advantages of High-Speed Rail System

 2021 Pros and Cons of High-Speed Rail in the U.S.

High Speed Rail Benefits

High-Speed Rail Benefits Small Towns and Large Cities

 What Are The Benefits Of High-Speed Rail?

The hidden benefits of high-speed rail (subscription required)

High-Speed Trains Provide Environmental, Social Benefits, Study Says

High-speed rail: Does its economic impact match its breakneck speed?

The Promise of High-speed Rail in New Cities

What Do High-Speed Rails Bring To Us?

Pros and Cons of High Speed Rail HS2

 High-speed rail’s many benefits

Economic Development

Does the opening of high-speed railways improve urban livability? Evidence from a quasi-natural experiment in China. With the spread of “urban disease”, urban livability has aroused common concern in academic circles at home and abroad. High-speed railway opening is substantially affecting the development of cities. Based on the data of 271 cities in China from 2005 to 2018, this paper applies the entropy method to calculate urban livability level, and then the difference-in-differences (DID) model and mediatory effect model are constructed to test the impact and mechanism of high-speed railway (HSR) opening on urban livability. The findings show that: (1) Overall, HSR opening has significantly improved urban livability by 13.04%. After alleviating the endogenous problem and conducting a series of robustness tests, the conclusions are still valid. (2) Mechanism analysis indicates that HSR opening improves urban livability by promoting economic growth, talent agglomeration and industrial structure upgrading. Among them, the industrial structure upgrading effect is the strongest, followed by talent agglomeration and economic growth. (3) The heterogeneity analysis shows that the promotion effect of HSR opening on urban livability is more significant in the central and western regions and large-sized cities. Accordingly, the feasible path to improve urban livability through HSR opening is proposed. Finally, in the face of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world economy, more channels to enhance urban livability are expected to cope with the future “the global talent war”.

High-speed rail impact on urban economic growth — Based on grey prediction model. With the rapid development of high-speed railways, China has entered the era of high-speed rail. High-speed railways inject new impetus into the economic development of the city and enable the economy to achieve a new leap-forward development. This article takes Changsha City as an example to evaluate high-speed railways using comparative evaluation methods. It is assumed that under the conditions of “having high-speed rail” and “without high-speed rail” the impact of high-speed railway on regional economic development will be discussed by the regression model and gray predict the GM(1,l) model. The results show that the opening of high-speed rail has a pulling effect on urban economic growth and the contribution rate to economic growth shows a tendency of increasing first and then decreasing. Particularly, the contribution of high-speed rail to the economic growth in the first few years is swift and violent, with significant impact, then slows down.

Economic Development — Urban Areas

The influence of high-speed rails on urban innovation and the underlying mechanism. Innovation is intrinsically dependent on the construction of local infrastructure. Using panel data on 285 cities in China, we empirically examined the impact of high-speed rails on urban innovation and the mechanism underlying this effect. We found that high-speed rails significantly increase urban innovation. In our analysis, high-speed rails were found to increase the agglomeration of innovation factors, including population and investment, which in turn increase urban technological innovation. The agglomeration of investment factors brought about by high-speed rails is the main source of the improvement in urban innovation. Through the use of a spatial panel model, we found that high-speed rails promote knowledge dissemination and technology spillovers among the cities along high-speed railways, thus improving their innovation levels. However, the existing effects of high-speed rails on innovation exhibit spatial heterogeneity. We confirmed the effect of high-speed rails on innovation and explored the mechanism underlying this effect by considering the effects of factor agglomeration and knowledge spillovers. Our conclusions can be used as a resource by policymakers to stimulate knowledge and technology diffusion, which in turn cultivates and stimulates urban innovation.



Investments in High-Speed Rail Continue to Lift California’s Economy


Environment: High-speed rail networks help reduce China’s carbon emissions

Air Pollution

Sustainability by High–Speed Rail: The Reduction Mechanisms of Transportation Infrastructure on Haze Pollution The article argues HSR reduces haze pollution.

Is the High-Speed Rail Opening Environmentally Friendly? Taking the Difference-in-Differences Test in Jiangsu, China

Does high-speed railway reduce air pollution along highways? —— Evidence from China

High-speed rail project to work to improve air quality in California

Impact of the opening of high-speed rail on environmental pollution in the Yangtze River Economic Belt: Promoting or inhibiting?

Does High-Speed Rail Reduce Environmental Pollution? Establishment-Level Evidence from China. We estimate the impact of transportation on environmental pollution in China by using a comprehensive establishment-level pollution-discharge dataset between 2002 and 2012. Our empirical strategy explores China’s high-speed rail (HSR) rollouts as a plausibly exogenous shock on transportation improvements. An event study shows that the parallel trends assumption is violated, which suggests the need to control for city-specific trends. The difference-in-differences framework then reveals that HSR has some positive but statistically insignificant effects on both air and water pollution discharge intensities. Nevertheless, we observe several salient heterogeneity effects. HSR reduces both types of pollution from heavily polluting industries, and also alleviates air pollution in central cities, the central areas of a city, and cities with a larger proportion of secondary industry. We interpret these heterogeneity effects according to the industrial and spatial restructuring of economies due to HSR.

These scholarly articles support HSR

Does High-Speed Rail Opening Affect the Health Care Environment?–Evidence From China

Urbanisation Through the Benefits of High-Speed Rail System

Literature Review of Socioeconomic and Environmental Impacts of High-Speed Rail in the World

Lifecycle Environmental Impact of High-Speed Rail System in the I-45 Corridor



Why Doesn’t The United States Have High-Speed Bullet Trains Like Europe And Asia? (2017). This article details the many practical, non-financial barriers to expanding HSR in the US.

The High‐​Speed Rail Money Sink: Why the United States Should Not Spend Trillions on Obsolete Technology.  This article is a very comprehensive case against HSR.

A Summary Reality Check of Why High-Speed Rail is a Bad Idea. This article identifies many problems with high speed rail in California, most of which are applicable to the US.

The California High-Speed Rail Project’s Negative Impacts on Minority Communities. The title is self-explanatory.

High Speed Rail: Detriment or Benefit to the Environment?  This article agues HSR projects hurt the environment.

Biden’s High-Speed Rail To Nowhere. This article explains in detail why HSR isn’t useful in the US.

Train to nowhere: can California’s high-speed rail project ever get back on track?  This article argues there are too many legal barriers to HSR in the US and that it is very costly.

Environmental Harm

Environmental Footprints of High-Speed Railway Construction in China: A Case Study of the Beijing–Tianjin Line. This article argues HSR construction substantially increases pollution.

Environmental balance of the high speed rail network in Spain: A Life Cycle Assessment approach. This article argues that claims of environment benefits ignore the environmental harms and that without a massive increase in usage, the harms outweigh the benefits.

High-speed train could go through ‘irreplaceable’ land in Maryland

California High Speed Rail Will Increase Pollution

Climate Change Link Answers

Is high-speed rail the fast track to transport decarbonisation? This article answers the question in the negative

HSR Won’t Reduce Urban Sprawl

What Would High-Speed Rail Do to Suburban Sprawl?