A high-speed rail system is intercity passenger ground transportation that is time-competitive with air and/or auto for travel markets in the approximate range of 100 to 500 miles, and these systems are increasingly gaining attention in the United States. Many states are developing proposals for new HSR systems designed to solve critical transportation problems, especially the growing congestion on our highway and airport systems. Highspeed rail is also viewed as a way to focus growth and development around stations as well as to serve as a catalyst for economic growth. There is significant international experience in building and operating HSR systems that can be helpful in planning U.S. systems. One of the key challenges for U.S. high-speed rail planning is to take full advantage of foreign experience while ensuring that no degradation of safety or unmitigated environmental effects result from the deployment of foreign technology in North America. Shared-use HSR systems are railroad infrastructure, rolling stock, and operating strategies that are used by both high-speed trains and conventional service (for example, freight, commuter rail, and intercity passenger rail). This research describes shared-use HSR systems, an important strategy for improving the feasibility of highspeed rail. In shared-use HSR, high-speed passenger trains use the same tracks and infrastructure as slower passenger or freight trains. This research report will be most interesting to HSR system planners and managers who want to learn about shared-use techniques. Because many of the strategies used in Europe were found to be based on traditional railroad engineering techniques for increasing capacity and speed, and therefore fairly well known to railroad engineers, the report will be useful to them mainly as a comprehensive listing of potential strategies for improving shared-use operations. The report will also be interesting for those who want to learn more about high-speed rail planning in general.

Publication Date


Publication Type



Passenger Rail

MTI Project



High-speed track; High-speed trains; Maglev vehicles; Right-of-way; Rail transportation