Cultural Constraints on High-Speed Rail in the US: Is American Exceptionalism an Explanation?

17 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2013

See all articles by Zhenhua Chen

Zhenhua Chen

The Ohio State University-City and Regional Planning

Date Written: December 5, 2012

Abstract

The development of high speed rail infrastructures in the US faces a great challenge given the concern of economic viability and political complexity. However, a deeper investigation reveals that most of these concerns and complexity issues can be explained from a cultural perspective, which elucidates essential characteristics that affect daily behavior, lifestyle and public attitudes. This paper discusses debate on the US high speed rail policy in the context of American exceptionalism. Through an exploration of the four traits of American exceptionalism, I argue that the reasons for the stagnation of high speed rail initiatives in the US can be attributed to four unique cultural constraints: individualism, anti-statism, populism and egalitarianism. In the end of the discussion, recommendations are proposed for developing strategies to cater to these special culture needs.

Keywords: cultural constraint, high speed rail, American exceptionalism

JEL Classification: L92, R40, Z00

Suggested Citation

Chen, Zhenhua, Cultural Constraints on High-Speed Rail in the US: Is American Exceptionalism an Explanation? (December 5, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2240989 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2240989

Zhenhua Chen (Contact Author)

The Ohio State University-City and Regional Planning ( email )

275 West Woodruff Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210-1138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://u.osu.edu/chen.7172/

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
124
Abstract Views
677
rank
247,504
PlumX Metrics