WSP is the rail delivery partner for the first high-speed rail system planned for implementation in the US and has developed new railway standards for HSR in the country.
One of the largest, most ambitious public transportation programs in U.S. history, the California High-Speed Rail Project will allow passengers to travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco at speeds of up to 220 miles (354 kilometers) per hour, making the trip in just 2 hours and 40 minutes, compared to almost 6 hours by automobile. The system will connect California’s megaregions, contribute to economic development and a cleaner environment, create jobs and preserve agricultural and protected lands.
Using federal and state funds, including Cap and Trade auction proceeds, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) plans to begin high-speed operations in the Central Valley by 2028, eventually connecting San Francisco to Los Angeles in under three hours at speeds of 350km/h (220mph) by 2033. Eventually, the system will extend to Sacramento and San Diego, totaling 800 miles with up to 24 stations. The Authority is also working with regional partners to implement a state-wide rail modernization plan to improve local and regional rail lines.
WSP has been helping shape high-speed rail in California from the earliest feasibility studies in the 1990s to the latest business plan in 2018. The firm is now serving as the Authority’s Rail Delivery Partner (RDP), a seven-year engagement from the planning and preliminary design phase to project delivery and operations.
The RDP role builds on the firm’s previous work as the Authority’s Program Management Team. In this earlier role, WSP coordinated the activities of more than 35 sub consultants, prepared the statewide program-level Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and produced the full suite of technical memoranda comprising 130 program-wide technical guidance documents, technical requirements, a 1,400 page design criteria manual, and standards and directives that will define the high-speed train system in California and will assist the Federal Railroad Administration in defining standards and regulations for the US market.