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Analyzing the Benefits and Costs of High Speed Railway Development in United Sates

In: Business and Management

Submitted By OzymandiasIV
Words 599
Pages 3
Although the United States has built an advanced and high efficient transport system, most of Americans prefer to driving or taking airplanes rather than taking railways. There are a set of reasons that contribute this phenomenon such as huge cost, environmental and traffic impacts to the local transportation system. However, this project will focus on discussing competiveness, costs and benefits of developing HSR in the US.
Competiveness
It’s true that automobile is very convenient and attractive for most families, so HSR is difficult to compete with automobile especially for short trips. For example, if a traveler needs to make multiple stops around the destination city, a car may be more convenient, especially if the destination city lacks an extensive mass transit system. In addition, if one person takes a lot of things, an automobile is also practical. Furthermore, driving is likely to be cheaper than HSR if two or more people are traveling together because the added cost of each additional traveler is virtually zero for passenger cars. However, each person must purchase a ticket on the train. If the travel distance is too long, taking a HSR may be more attractive due to lower cost. For example, driving in a long distance means that you have to spend more money on gasoline, tolls and parking fee. (Government Accountability Office, 2011).
Costs
The costs of high speed rail can be divided into two general categories. One is infrastructure costs which include the costs of building the line and maintaining it. Another is operating costs, such as labor and fuel, which tend to vary based on the amount of train service offered (Congressional Research Service, 2011).
Infrastructure Costs.
High speed rail requires a large number of up-front capital for development of fixed infrastructure which includes right-of-way, track, signals, and stations, and for its upkeep. But the system costs are highly specific. A key factor for the cost is whether a new right-of-way is planned. Another key factor for cost is the speed. In order to provide a comfortable environment on railway, high speed rail system needs to reduce curvature and gradients. (Congressional Research Service, 2011).
Operating Costs.
Operating costs may be a huge expenditure if the train ticket revenue can’t cover them. The labor, fuel or electric power and other costs are vary according to the number of trains which are operated. (Congressional Research Service, 2011)
Benefits of high speed rail
Through decades of development and improvement, high speed rail have demonstrated its advantages. It can save times and promise a relatively punctual schedule. No matter for business, commuter or leisure, arriving at the destination is important for most people. Moreover, high speed rail can provide additional capacity for existing transit system and relieve the traffic pressure. In addition, high speed rail has substantial environmental advantages compared with air and automobile. As high speed rail utilize electricity as its main power, it is free from local air pollution. (Nash, 2009).
With decades of experience from around the world, high speed rail has been proved to be a useful and practical technology for most communities. It can provide a convenient and comfortable way for travelers who live in metropolis. Supporters argue that the United States should utilize this technology in a much more comprehensive way in the near future since most of competitors have invested largely or are heavily investing in this new kind of transportation model. In addition, the population will be increased significantly over the next few decades. The building of high speed rail network will spend several decades. (Congressional Research Service, 2011).

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