HSR as Transit: The continuing transportation-driven evolution of metropolitan form
Author(s)Westrom, Ryan J.; Sussman, Joseph M.
With high-speed rail (HSR) now often fulfilling a commuting function within an hour’s travel time from principal metropolitan cities, it becomes the latest in a long line of transportation technologies to elicit change in the metropolitan form of these cities. This paper explores this history, and then the potential for this shifting form in the era of HSR. Viewing HSR as transit, its ramifications on metropolitan form are reviewed. Via a closer look at four case cities home to potential future HSR systems—Coimbra and Leiria in Portugal and Champaign-Urbana and Kankakee in Illinois within the U.S.A.—that will move within a principal city’s commuting reach—Lisbon and Chicago, respectively-implications for transportation and land use planning are discussed. The unique discontinuous nature of these new potential forms presents fresh opportunities to implement planning best practices, providing sustainability and quality of life returns. These speak well to the potential for HSR to serve this new function, and provide support for the consideration of HSR as a transportation alternative for these settings.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering Systems Division
ESD Working Papers;ESD-WP-2014-24