Trains that travel at high speeds above 200 miles per hour and link major cities are found in other parts of the world, but not in the United States. Development and investment of these projects domestically are often derailed without the true benefit of the project realized. In Cascadia, there is a need to accommodate a growing population, as well as significant effort and funding opportunities around high-speed rail.


As planning work begins on a high-speed rail project in the Cascadia region, we have an opportunity to learn from successful projects in Europe and Asia and apply best practices so that this infrastructure investment be successful where others have stumbled.


Researchers examined the successes and lessons learned from existing high-speed rail projects in Europe and Asia, including 50 hours of interviews with industry experts and a review of relevant literature.


High-speed rail is a potential game-changer and could create new opportunities with an innovative mode of transportation to support regional growth and livability. The investigative evaluation developed by the University of Washington is intended to help guide agencies and decision makers involved in the development of this type of project in the Cascadia Corridor to link British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon.  


Read the full report.


This report provides valuable insights into how and why high-speed rail projects have struggled or succeeded.

Media Coverage

July, 2023 | South Seattle Emerald | Project: Researchers Investigate High-Speed Rail
Plans Develop for High-Speed Rail in the PNW


The research investigation is sponsored by Challenge Seattle, with support from the Mobility Innovation Center at UW CoMotion. 

Academic Department

Faculty Leadership

Jan Whittington

Urban Design and Planning
Research Center

Urban Infrastructure Lab

Research Areas
  • Infrastructure
  • Economics
  • Climate change
  • Privacy and cybersecurity
  • Finance

Qing Shen

Urban Design and Planning
Research Areas
  • Urban economics
  • Metropolitan transportation planning and policy