Ecolopolis 5.0: High Speed Rail in Cascadia

Seltzer Ethan


This is a working document and is the fifth report in this series. This report is the product of term-long projects conducted by graduate students from the two universities, and taught by Professor Daniel Carlson and Professor Ethan Seltzer. The courses engaged the questions of identifying the impacts, maximizing the benefits, and exploring implementation options for high speed rail development in the Cascadia corridor. Though passenger rail has long been a shared interest in the corridor, the recent U.S. initiative proposed by the Obama administration have accelerated high speed rail activity and discussions in Cascadia. The seven papers developed by students in these two courses are presented in this document. The first paper identifies key principles for high speed rail development gleaned from the literature and from the experience in other countries. The second chapter looks specifically at alignment and operations issues. The next two chapters consider community-level impacts in both Oregon and Washington. The last three chapters present scenarios for high speed rail development-- rationales for a range of service options and analyses of their impacts governance, funding, economic development, land use and the environment-- starting with the existing system ("sensible rail") and proceeding to true, 150 mph+ service in the corridor.