Symposium: "The Future State of High-Speed Rail in Illinois"

April 29, 2011, 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

The vision of modern high-speed rail (HSR) passenger travel in the US is taking shape in selected travel markets, including Illinois. Upgrading the nation’s rail network for high speed passenger travel faces several strategic, technical and operational challenges. The Northwestern University Transportation Center (NUTC) hosted a half-day symposium focused on overcoming these challenges as high speed passenger rail travel moves towards implementation.

At the symposium, representatives from the Federal Rail Administration and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) discussed their goals and shared vision, provide updates on current infrastructure projects and outline future priorities for HSR.  Invited experts from industry and academia highlighted several critical aspects relevant to the implementation and successful operation of HSR. Topics include rolling stock technologies and associated trade-offs, scheduling challenges involving freight and passenger trains sharing the same tracks, the art and science of demand forecasting for proposed HSR services, and the role of independent review in the conduct of HSR studies intended to inform policy and investment decisions.

Featured Program Speakers:

Karen Hedlund
Chief Counsel
Federal Railroad Administration
Presentation (PDF)

Hedlund discussed the goals of the federal high-speed rail program and provided an update on how the program is progressing nationwide.  She also reviewed the key corridors that are being emphasized in the program.

Joseph Shacter
Director, Public & Intermodal Transportation
Illinois DOT
Presentation (PDF)

Shacter discussed specifics on Chicago-St.Louis high-speed rail construction, as well as Illinois' other priorities in establishing rail service to Rockford/Galena/Dubuque, the Quad Cities/Iowa City, and perhaps other communities in the future.  He also discussed the CREATE project, particularly how it relates to passenger rail improvement.

Technical Speakers:

Krishna Jha
Vice President of Research & Development
Innovative Scheduling
Topic: Scheduling Freight Trains on Roads with Higher and High-Speed Passenger Trains
Presentation (PDF)

Jim Lindsay
Vice President & Customer Director
US and Canadian Railroads
Alstom
Topic:  Innovations required for deployment of Higher-Speed Passenger Rail Rolling Stock in the U.S. Environment
Presentation (PDF)

Kimon Proussaloglou
Principal
Cambridge Systematics
Topic: A Technical Approach to Forecasting Demand for
High-Speed Rail
Presentation (PDF)

Frank S. Koppelman
Professor Emeritus of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Northwestern University
Topic: The Role of Peer Review Panel in High Speed Rail Studies
Presentation (PDF)