High-Speed Transport Comparison

Project information

  • Acronym: HSTC
  • High-Speed Transport Comparison
  • Sector: Passenger
  • Project start date: 01/01/2024
  • Duration: 36 months
  • Project director: Bertrand Minary
  • Project manager: Michele Gesualdi
  • Status: ongoing project
  • Project code: 2024/PAS/865

Project description

Transport technologies are rapidly evolving. In 1964, Japan introduced the first high-speed train, capable of running at a commercial speed of 210 kph. Today, high-speed trains in China reach speeds of 350 kph, with 400 kph appearing achievable in the near future. This indicates that over a 60-year period, commercial train speeds are nearly doubling.

Meanwhile, magnetic levitation (maglev) systems have made significant progress. Japan is currently constructing a maglev line, and China and South Korea are also developing similar projects. Maglev technology has achieved notable breakthroughs, especially with high-temperature superconductors, and holds the world speed record for ground transport systems. Commercial maglev speeds could range between 400 and 700 kph.

Hyperloop technology, a more recent development, aims to offer the fastest transportation option, with projected commercial speeds around 1000 kph, surpassing even airplanes.

Countries that have not yet started building high-speed rail lines may want to compare these various technologies before deciding which best suits their needs. The proposed study aims to provide these countries with sufficient information to support their decision-making process.

Project objectives

The primary objective is to establish a comparative analysis of three high-speed systems: Rail, Magnetic Levitation, and Hyperloop. This analysis aims to gather enough data to aid in making informed decisions about which technology to choose. The comparison will encompass both technological and operational aspects, and where feasible, it will also include economic elements related to investments and operations, such as capital expenditures (CAPEX) and operational expenditures (OPEX).

If this project is not undertaken, it’s anticipated that some members of the International Union of Railways (UIC) will eventually carry it out independently. However, this approach may result in less efficiency and accuracy compared to if the project were conducted by an international organisation like the UIC.

Project structure

The project should be entrusted to either a consultant or a university. The project is structured as follows:

WP1 - This involves defining the scope of the research, both in terms of geography and technology
WP2 - This includes identifying and describing projects that involve the three technologies, with a focus on assessing the associated risks in terms of Reliability, Availability, Maintainability, Safety (RAMS), and security
WP3 - This package is dedicated to comparing the speeds and potential service frequencies of the Origin-Destination (OD) pairs
WP4 - This involves comparing the passenger transport capacity in terms of daily or hourly flows
WP5 - This package focuses on comparing the costs of investments
WP6 - This involves comparing the operating costs
WP7 - This package is dedicated to determining the ranges of relevance on the mobility market. The final report will be presented after a workshop discussing the conclusions

Project members

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Wednesday 29 May 2024