Inara Watson, BSc, MSc Amer Ali, BSc, MSc, PhD Ali Bayyati, BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD



High-speed railways can move passengers and goods cost-effectively and sustainably. However, there is a need to consider the objectives of high-speed rail (HSR) systems and to analyse eventual public benefits in order to minimise economic risk.

Currently, there are three major HSR systems in development around the world – Rail Baltica in northern Europe, California High-Speed Rail (CAHSR) in the USA and High Speed Two (HS2) in the UK. In this paper, the benefits of investment in these three projects are investigated and possible consequences and expected outcomes are evaluated.

The key influencing factors of HSR sustainability are considered, such as changes in population, population density, ability to pay, the type of energy used and existing railway networks. Data envelopment analysis was used to evaluate the ‘technical efficiency’ of the selected schemes.

This type of analysis has been widely used before to benchmark performance and determine best practice. The expected outcome of this research is better understanding of the demand for railway services and of the economic, social and environmental aspects of the sustainability of Rail Baltica, CAHSR and HS2.


environment railway systems sustainability