Conventional versus high-speed: Is it worth the effort?

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Year of publication 2023
Type Article in Proceedings
Conference Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Railway Technology: Research, Development and Maintenance
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Economics and Administration

Keywords High-speed railway; modernisation costs; effectiveness; travel time savings
Description Our paper aims to contribute to the debate on conventional versus HSR in small countries like the Czech Republic, with a well-developed railway network on the one hand and relatively short distances for significant potential time savings on the other hand. The research is based on the relevant investment railway projects implemented during 2007–2013 and 2014–2020. Railway corridors were chosen to cover all open-access routes in the Czech Republic. They cover routes from the capital city of Prague to all regional centres in the eastern part of the Czech Republic – two metropolitan centres of Brno and Ostrava and two regional centres of Olomouc and Zlín. We analyse the impacts of the implemented investment projects on the change of the average travel times and their costs. Our results consider time savings converted to one minute of travel time saved per hundred kilometres of the rail route. We document that modernising conventional railways is a realistic option for a small country like the Czech Republic; on the other hand, HSR represents a rather theoretical option, as the costs of construction are extremely high, and potential benefits in the form of the increased ridership are unclear before it is finished. However, our results correspond to the expected ridership of 10.818 million passengers a year from Prague to Brno in 30 years to achieve economic effectiveness. Regarding daily ridership, we conclude that cost-effective implementation of HSR expects the demand growth from 13,400 to at least 30,000 passengers.
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