High Speed Rail for Chicago and the Midwest

High speed rail is a technology that has been used around the world to allow people to commute between major cities, saving time and money over flying or driving. It has been proven to work in cities all over Europe, such as Paris to London and Madrid to Barcelona. The average travel time is just over 2 hours, allowing for people living in and around one city to commute to another to work. This works better than air travel or driving, as the added time waiting in security, along with the added cost makes air travel not nearly as convenient as rail. Driving might be cheaper than rail, but unfortunately it is not possible to work while driving.

So what does high speed rail mean for the Midwest?

It means that someone could live in Detroit and commute to Chicago, or use Chicago as a way to get to other major cities nearby, like Minneapolis. This could jumpstart the Midwest’s economy, possibly bringing the Midwest back into being a major production center of the United States, and potentially the world. However, there are a number of issues with bringing high speed rail to the Midwest, such as: getting the funding together would be an issue, making sure that the rail system is profitable or at least able to run without losing money, and having it run on time with more reliability than airlines.

Is this possible? Sure it is. Is it likely to happen? Not any time soon.

– Connor Butcka



“Maximizing the Investment in Transportation Projects” by Becky Moylan Summary by Patrice Golbourne

In this blog post, it briefly discusses the importance of Life Cycle Analysis (LCCA), which helps to determine the most cost-effective options that impact both pending and future costs. Beth Osborne from Transportation America believes that there should be a course to train leaders in LCCA (Moylan, 2014). This will be helpful to maintain budgets and infrastructures. After reading this post, I also felt that LCCA should be incorporated into the decision-making process for civil engineers.

Here is a link to the Life Cycle Cost Analysis Report: http://www.asce.org/Infrastructure/Life-Cycle-Cost-Analysis-Report/

The report contains information on Life Cycle Costs in transportation, existing federal policy, life cycle cost analysis at the state and local level, policy recommendations, and more.

Patrice Golbourne