Ultra-High-Speed Ground Transportation study - Business Case Analysis – February 8, 2019 advisory group meeting

Overview - Advisory Group Meeting 4 - February 8, 2019

Twenty members of the committee attended the fourth meeting in Olympia, WA. The agenda included:

  • Review feedback from stakeholders and advisory group about project vision
  • A summary of economic development work to date
  • Results of corridor planning scenario development

Washington Governor Jay Inslee and British Columbia Premier John Horgan made an appearance at the meeting to share their vision for what an ultra-high-speed transportation system could mean to the Cascadia mega-region. Premier Horgan shared news that British Columbia will contribute an additional $300,000CAN to continue work on the project. Governor Inslee discussed his $3.25 million proposal to develop a governance structure and conduct robust public outreach as the next phase of the project. His proposal is currently being considered by the state legislature.

Review feedback from stakeholders and advisory group about vision

  • 26 interviews were conducted with business leaders in the region to understand their vision for UHSGT in the region
  • Stakeholders and advisory group members want UHSGT to alleviate congestion, connect businesses to global talent, and better connect current transportation modes throughout the megaregion
  • Advisory group members noted that public engagement must to be deliberate and meaningful, with a focus on equity and economic prosperity

Economic development analysis

  • Based on case studies around the world, UHSGT station stops could create opportunities for significant economic development and growth along the corridor
  • There is significant interest and a potential market for UHSGT in this region, with 74% of the stated preference survey’s 2,427 respondents agreeing that they ‘would definitely try” the ultra-high-speed travel option

Corridor planning scenario development

  • Three corridor scenarios are being analyzed for planning purposes, including one that focuses on connecting downtown hubs and intermediary stops, one that focuses on airport connections and intermediary stops, and a hybrid mix of station stops
  • Each of the scenarios also will look at three different levels of daily service operating on the same system, including: — a full service plan which serves many stations on the corridor (based on the number of stations in that scenario), an express service that goes only to the downtown cores, and a "city pair" service plan which links nearby metro areas with high demand for intercity travel. This is similar to how the Japanese Shinkansen system operates, with Super Express, Express, and local services all on the same high speed rail line.
  • Important considerations include stop locations that have the greatest transit connections, are accessible to all income and racial demographics, and areas that have the infrastructure, workforce, housing, and potential to support future economic development
  • Analyzing tradeoffs will help understand the relationship between speed, frequency, ridership, and cost

The next advisory group meeting will be held at the end of April in British Columbia.