Although the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided $8 billion in federal grants for passenger rail development, no national policy framework yet exists to guide this investment. Integrating new high-speed rail lines with existing railroad infrastructure and connecting them with air, road, and transit systems will be of utmost importance. As most of the world's cheap and accessible oil has already been consumed, transportation modes that depend exclusively on oil can be expected to decline, while energy-efficient, low-impact modes such as passenger trains will advance. A new model railroad that shifts more passenger travel to rail will develop through an incremental adaptation of current passenger services, a comprehensive transformation using high-speed train technology, or a combination of these two trajectories. North American designs for high-speed rail will need to incorporate the European innovation of providing multiple air, auto, and rail connections in the form of four station types: the city-center and airport stations seen in Europe, as well as suburban stations at business parks and at suburban commercial centers. To create an effective synergy between transportation and local land use, three broad categories of policy tools will need to be deployed.
Environmental Practice 13:47–57 (2011)