Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - interchange/transfer, planning - signage/information, planning - environmental impact, policy - environment, technology - geographic information systems, mode - rail


Video simulation, Technology transfer, Passenger trains, Information exchange, High speed trains, High speed rail, GPS, Global Positioning System, GIS, Geographic information systems, Geocoding, Florida, Environmental impact analysis, Digitized photography, Decision making, California


It is time to transfer the advanced technology and processes specifically developed for conducting the environmental analysis of high-speed rail (HSR) corridors to other large-scale infrastructure projects. Because HSR projects cover thousands of miles and traverse multiple geographic and land use conditions, the most advanced electronic tools available have conveyed vast amounts of information into quantitative, tabular, and graphic format for analysis. A geographic information system allows comprehensive analysis of multiple layers of information in formats compatible with the electronic files used to engineer the alignment. A global positioning system can verify previously recorded data and locate and record new data, transferring information to a comprehensive database readily accessible to technical analysts and agency staff. Digital photographs and digital files of geographic contours, combined with engineering plans and profiles, provide the information needed to create a video simulation of HSR for public presentations. These tools have been used effectively in information exchange and decision making during environmental reviews for HSR projects, and they are compatible with personal computers and the Internet for transfer of information to potential users. The Florida HSR project and the ongoing California HSR project have used these tools effectively to streamline environmental review and to produce information in electronic formats for other projects in the same area. These advanced technological tools for HSR projects should be shared with the rest of the transportation industry, specifically for the environmental analysis of other planned passenger rail