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July 31, 2014

High-Speed Rail Helps Metros Bloom

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High-Speed Rail Helps Metros Bloom

A study by researchers at the University of California-Los Angeles and China’s Tsinghua University has found that by connecting “second tier” cities to global hubs, more people migrated to smaller cities and in turn created a housing boom.

The evidence of the findings can be found in China, where bullet trains connect major cities to smaller ones.  Researchers say the high speed trains boosted market potential by 10 percent and housing prices by 4.5 percent.  American researchers believe the same benefits can be had in the U.S. if high speed rail connects smaller cities to larger cities.

Experts say that for the strategy to be effective, smaller cities need to be too far away to drive to, but also too close to fly to.  Despite the potential benefits, some say America's advanced interstate system and strong aviation system negates the promise high speed rail offers.

However, some regions in the United States have begun high speed rail infrastructure projects, like a 284 mile corridor connecting St. Louis and Chicago.  “It really comes down to, is there a train that moves at 150 miles per hour and are there good local connections to it? Then there's certainly some potential there," says Matthew Kahn, co-author of the study.

Source: "Researchers Say High-Speed Rail Could Fuel U.S. Real-Estate, Economic Booms," Medill Reports (05/29/13)

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