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Making the Most of High-Speed Rail in California: Lessons from France and Germany

Eric Edllin - The Germand Marshall Fund of the US

This report argues that in order for high-speed rail (HSR) to deliver on its promise to 38 million Californians and investors, the project must be designed as the backbone of a comprehensive system for sustainable passenger mobility in California.

If HSR is to serve as the backbone of sustainable intercity mobility in the state, the project's definition must extend beyond HSR route planning to include sustainable local transportation connections and careful station area planning.

Cities across France and Germany demonstrate how HSR can be a powerful tool for strengthening cities and towns along HSR corridors in economic, social, and cultural terms. With careful planning, the same can be achieved in California.

This is why the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CAHSRA) is funding planning efforts in most of the cities that will have HSR stations, to ensure that each station area is designed to maximize HSR-supportive development within station areas. This report highlights best practices from Europe that can help inform these CAHSRA-funded planning efforts.