High Speed Rail

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Transport Policy 17 (2010) 51–63

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Transport Policy
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/tranpol

High-speed rail in Taiwan: New experience and issues for future development Yung-Hsiang Cheng n
National Cheng Kung University, Department of Transportation and Communication Management Science, No. 1, University Road, Tainan City 701, Taiwan

a r t i c l e in fo
Available online 4 November 2009 Keywords: High speed rail Build-operate-transfer Taiwan Integration Transportation impact

This study aims to identify some possible issues and challenges for Taiwan’s High Speed Rail (HSR) system, which was constructed and is operated under a Build–Operate–Transfer (BOT) model. The operational experiences in the initial stage for equivalent systems in Japan, France, Germany, and elsewhere are introduced herein. This study first presents Taiwan’s HSR system development and conducts an ex post cost–benefit analysis of this transportation system. Second, unsatisfied ridership is examined to look for possible solutions to increase it. Third, the paper examines the impact of HSR on the intercity transportation market. Finally, the integration between HSR and various existing transportation modes is discussed. Several policy suggestions are included, which are useful for the decision makers of transportation systems’ entrepreneurs, the central government, and the local authorities to derive a comprehensive post-HSR planning strategy for a more integrated transportation system. & 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction The High Speed Rail (HSR) system has been proven to be a safe, comfortable, and efficient transportation mode (Ardun and Ni, 2005). Due to its ability to carry large numbers of passengers and provide short travel times, HSR has become one of the major tools to alleviate the traffic burden of some main traffic corridors in Japan, France, Germany, Spain, and also recently in South Korea and Taiwan. The introduction of HSR is considered to have spatial and socio-economic impacts on regional development (Banister and Berechman, 2001; Bonnafous, 1987; Froidh, 2005; Vickerman, 1997). Such improved interregional accessibility leads to a widening of the regional labor market and the establishment of a new corridor economy (Blum et al., 1997).

banking groups. The government permits these local banks to buy back the system in case of the project’s financial failure. One of the key financial success factors for a BOT project lies in the satisfaction of its ridership. However, compared to THSR’s real ridership, the forecasted traffic was far overestimated, because the forecasting period was based on Taiwan’s social–economic situation before the 1997 Asian financial crisis. The overly optimistic traffic forecast has led to financial pressure in the form of a large interest burden on loans borrowed from local banks for the private company running the HSR. On the other hand, public financing by the government is needed to assure that the project keeps moving so as to protect the social–economic benefits generated by the HSR. Therefore, the present study aims to investigate ridership, which is strongly related to this system’s revenue, in order to find some possible strategies to improve THSR’s ridership. 1.2. Impacts on the intercity transportation market The impacts from HSR on the existing transportation modes of the intercity transportation market seem unavoidable (Vickerman, 1997; Suh et al., 2005;Lopez-Pita and Robuste, 2005; Givoni, 2006). In terms of HSR’s market scope in the intercity transportation market, there are typical time thresholds relating to the lower and upper bounds in which HSR has a clear advantage based on previous experiences in Japan, France, and Germany. These thresholds are of the order of 1–3 h by riding on the HSR, representing distances between 200–600 kilometers, and based on an average operating speed of 200 km/h....
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