Source: Asia Pathways
The disappointing scale-back of California’s showcase high-speed rail system between San Francisco and Anaheim has many experts asking what lessons can be learned. Similar pushbacks have occurred on other continents: witness the popular resistance to construction of a new superstation as part of Stuttgart’s urban renewal, which escalated into violent demonstrations, delays, and stalemates. Megaprojects worldwide encounter opposition from the very people they aim to serve.
Developing countries without the open expanses of, e.g., Central Asia or parts of the People’s Republic of China, often point to their difficulties in buying a right-of-way corridor through crowded cities or confusing, multiple smallholder farm plots along which a highway or rail project is planned. (Usually rail rights-of-way run along ground-level, i.e. at-grade, which for our purposes includes embankments and cuttings that permanently change the topography).
There are many reasons for these difficulties, just as each country’s socio-political and land use history is diverse and defies easy stylization (Table 1).
Table 1: Difficulties in Securing Rights-of-Way for Public Transport