The Regional Impacts of High Speed Rail: a Review of Methods and Models

The Regional Impacts of High Speed Rail: a Review of Methods and Models


G Chen, J de Abreu e Silva, University of Lisbon, PT


A literature review focusing on the methods and models for assessing regional impact of High-speed Rail. It analyzes the impacts from five aspects, proposes an new assessment model and discusses its inputs, outcomes and implications.


The development of High Speed Rail (HSR) has been encouraged and supported by the European Union, concerning its arising importance and potential contributions in regional growth and development. During the past two decades, HSR has been prevalently recognized by transport researchers as an efficient solution to road and airport congestion and a catalyst or stimulus for regional economic growth and development.

A great amount of attention has been paid to the impacts of transport infrastructures, especially road infrastructures, such as highways. Rather few researchers focus on quantitatively exploring the impacts induced by HSR to provide evidences on regional growth and development. The existing research mostly focused on the general qualitative insights and quantitative analysis that is restricted in specific aspects of interests, such as improvements in accessibility, increase in transport demand etc.

At the advent of HSR service, it is very important to assess the overall regional impacts concerning more comprehensive perspectives and impact assessments. This paper reviews the existing research ranging from the impacts of general transport infrastructures to HSR in particular. It focuses specifically on the applicability of the proposed methods and models, such as the model formulation, estimation procedure, as well as the type of treated variables and the obtained results.

This paper is primarily organized in three sections. Firstly, we conduct a literature review from five different aspects, namely the impacts at regional level accessibility, employment, investment, production and spatial structure. It then proposes an assessment methodology, which combines the individual impacts and jointly evaluates the overall impacts in order to yield an aggregated value for the regional impacts of HSR. At last, the input information, the expected outcomes and the implications of the proposed methodology are discussed.


Association for European Transport