High-Speed Rail as a Complex Sociotechnical System

MIT Project Information

NuRail Project IDNURail2012-MIT-R01
Project TitleHigh-Speed Rail as a Complex Sociotechnical System
UniversityMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Project ManagerSussman
Principal InvestigatorSussman
PI Contact InformationPhone: (617) 253-4430 Email: sussman@mit.edu
Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization)$130,000 MIT funds and other non-federal research funds; $130,000 USDOT RITA
Total Project Cost$260,000
Agency ID or Contract NumberDTRT12-G-UTC18 (Grant 1)
Start Date2013-02-01
End Date2014-01-31
Brief Description of Research ProjectMassachusetts Institute of Technology's research activities will focus on intercity passenger rail. The project will consider the development of internationally scaled High-Speed Rail (Shinkansen, TGV and so forth) in the United States as well as incremental High-Speed Rail where the same track is used for conventional freight trains as well as passenger trains that run at "higher" (but not international) speeds. This research will focus on several of the Department of Transportation's (DOT's) strategic goals. Clearly there are safety implications in the sharing of right-of-way between passenger and freight. Also the project will suggest that development of rail systems as noted above will potentially lead to a modal shift from highway to rail and air to rail; this will have environmental and sustainability implications. Further, the enhanced mobility that will be provided through the development of such rail systems will likely lead to an improvement in the economic climate in the US and in economic competitiveness. This project will deal with the application of the CLIOS Process --- developed by Professor Joseph Sussman and his research group at MIT for the purpose of gaining insights into the operation of complex sociotechnical systems -- to High-Speed Rail in the U.S. Surely the implementation of High-Speed Rail of either international scale or incremental scale can be characterized as a complex sociotechnical system. The CLIOS Process has been shown to give useful insights into the study of a variety of such systems and the investigators will apply that process to the study of High-Speed Rail in the U.S. hoping to gain insights that have escaped the scrutiny of the many researchers who have gone before this project.
Describe Implementation of Research Outcomes (or why not implemented)
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation (actual, not anticipated)
Web Links
Project Website
Final ReportNURail2012-MIT-R01-Combined1.pdf