Getting on Track: Optimizing Rail for the Austin-San Antonio Megaregion

In the Fall 2022 semester, the Intercity Passenger Rail Planning Studio developed a baseline understanding of opportunities and barriers to developing intercity passenger rail and high-speed rail in the United States. The class conducted research on international and domestic case studies and identified the reasons why the U.S. is behind other developed countries. Each student presented a corridor case study or subject deep-dive.

In the Spring 2023 semester, the studio applied these findings to a local case study:  the Austin-San Antonio rail corridor (formally known as Lone Star Rail). Using previous findings on why the project failed in 2016, the class provided bold recommendations for a two-pronged project for passenger and freight rail development known as the Bluebonnet Express and Bluebonnet Bypass, respectively.  The final report provides a roadmap for governance, funding, and process improvement to see the program emerge as two viable infrastructure projects in Central Texas. 

Meg Merritt

Read the full report 
Final presentation