The Full Cost of High-Speed Rail: An Engineering Approach

Annals of Regional Science 31:2 189-215, 1997

27 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2008

See all articles by David Matthew Levinson

David Matthew Levinson

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jean-Michel Mathieu

affiliation not provided to SSRN

David Gillen

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Sauder School of Business

Adib Kanafani

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Abstract

This paper examines the full costs, defined as the sum of private and social costs, of a high-speed rail system proposed for a corridor connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco in California. The full costs include infrastructure, fleet capital and operating expenses, the time users spend on the system, and the social costs of externalities, such as noise, pollution, and accidents. Comparing these full costs to those of other competing modes contributes to the evaluation of the feasibility of high-speed rail in the corridor. The paper concludes that high-speed rail is significantly more costly than expanding existing air service, and marginally more expensive than auto travel. This suggests that high-speed rail is better positioned to serve shorter distance markets where it competes with auto travel than longer distance markets where it substitutes for air.

Suggested Citation

Levinson, David Matthew and Mathieu, Jean-Michel and Gillen, David and Kanafani, Adib, The Full Cost of High-Speed Rail: An Engineering Approach. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1089088

David Matthew Levinson

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jean-Michel Mathieu (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

David Gillen

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Sauder School of Business ( email )

2053 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2
Canada

Adib Kanafani

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering ( email )

Berkeley, CA
United States

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