America’s Opportunity to Invest in Building High-Speed Rail

You are here

MTI partnered with APTA and AASHTO to release a new a guide for evaluating the return on investment (ROI) for both high speed and conventional intercity passenger rail corridor projects
August 26, 2021
San José, CA

Although passenger rail is currently an underutilized mode of transport in the U.S., experts and the public are increasingly recognizing its many benefits. The Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) recently partnered with the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) to aid in the development of a guide for evaluating the return on investment (ROI) for proposed high-speed and intercity passenger rail projects. Assessing the Business Case ROI for Intercity Passenger Rail Corridor Investment, along with the associated methodology and toolkit, provides guidance to cities, metropolitan agencies, state DOTs, and federal agencies by providing a common methodology, utilizing best practice methods, to measure public benefits and assess return on investment (ROI) for proposed high speed and intercity passenger rail (HS&IPR) projects.  

The special guidance on evaluating HS&IPR projects provided by this report is critical to efficient intercity rail investment development, which typically involves a combination of elements that make it distinct from both aviation investment and road investment. This includes: 

  • Requirements for right-of-way, stations, and station area access involving multiple communities, and broader areas that may span multiple states;
  • Requirements for rolling stock operated by a dedicated service franchise agreement;
  • Concentration of traveler activity at station stops in intermediate cities, as well as endpoints; and
  • Requirements for supporting feeder transportation services connecting with HS&IPR stations.

“America has an opportunity to build a high-performance rail network to position us to overcome our economic challenges and compete in the global marketplace in the coming years,” APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas said.

The guide can assist public agencies to assess whether and how they can most appropriately participate in supporting and enabling high speed rail and intercity passenger rail projects. With the right understanding of these projects and implemented best practices, rail can help connect people between cities, states, and across the nation. 


At the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) at San Jose State University (SJSU) our mission is to increase mobility for all by improving the safety, efficiency, accessibility, and convenience of our nations’ transportation system. Through research, education, workforce development and technology transfer, we help create a connected world. Founded in 1991, MTI is funded through the US Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security, the California Department of Transportation, and public and private grants, including those made available by the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (SB1). MTI is affiliated with SJSU’s Lucas College and Graduate School of Business.


Media Contact: 

Irma Garcia, 

MTI Communications and Operations Manager

O: 408-924-7560



Contact Us

SJSU Research Foundation   210 N. 4th Street, 4th Floor, San Jose, CA 95112    Phone: 408-924-7560   Email: