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In India, the project to build the country’s first 500-kilometer high-speed railway (HSR) from Mumbai to Ahmedabad is underway. For comparison, all top 10 economies in the world except the United States have constructed several HSR lines in the past 30 years. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) alone has built nearly 28,000 kilometers of HSR in the past 20 years. Nevertheless, opinion makers in India are expressing contradicting views, questioning whether it is suitable for the country to develop expensive infrastructure such as HSR.
The disappointing scale-back of California’s showcase high-speed rail system between San Francisco and Anaheim has many experts asking what lessons can be learned. Similar pushbacks have occurred on other continents: witness the popular resistance to construction of a new superstation as part of Stuttgart’s urban renewal, which escalated into violent demonstrations, delays, and stalemates.
As we are increasingly relying on technical innovations to solve some of society’s most complex problems, technological advancements such as artificial intelligence are contributing to new, modern modes of transportation, especially to enhancing safety. However, technology is only one of many critical factors for safety, and there is a need to understand the other factors.
Such infrastructure projects would not be effective without proper operation and maintenance, and economic activities would be unsustainable without efficient infrastructure. The transport sector is an important component of any economy, and it is a crucial input for development. This is especially so in a globalized economy, where economic opportunities are increasingly related to the efficient mobility of people, goods, and information.
Since its inception in Japan in 1964, high-speed rail (HSR), and its impact on the economy, has received attention from policymakers worldwide. Early HSR development was more of a race to go faster, and the early success led policymakers around the world to believe in the power of HSR for catalyzing growth.
By Shreyas P. Bharule. Posted September 20, 2018
On a typical ride on the Tokaido Shinkansen traveling from Shin-Osaka to Tokyo, it does not take a childlike imagination to notice the view from the bullet train of scattered cars, small houses, and baseball fields, gradually changing as the train approaches its destination to packed apartment buildings and tall office towers. This is an important phenomenon of high-speed rail (HSR) implementation, which can be described by the terms “spillover effect” and “straw effect.”
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