High speed rail (HSR) is a new mode of travel that has revived passenger rail service around the world in the past forty years and has “become one of the basic technologies of the twenty-first century” (Givoni). Givoni defines high speed trains as “high capacity and frequency railway services achieving an average speed of over 200 kph.”
Over 10 systems have been developed and operated in other countries. The Japanese system was the first in the world, starting in 1964. Since then additional systems have been built in Asia in Korea, Taiwan, and China over the last ten years. In Europe, France has operated the TGV HSR service since 1981. Stating with the Sud-Est line to Lyon the TGV has four lines, with additional segments under construction. Germany and Italy also constructed HSR services in the early 1990s and a trans-European network is now being developed with lines in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Britain, and the Netherlands. These existing networks can provide important information to planners in the US about the performance of high speed rail and its effects on development in the cities and regions it serves.
HSR System in Spain: