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Assessment of existing railroad bridges to accommodate a higher speed considering Chinese practices.
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    As the country continues to grow, the USDOT understands that the transportation system will continue to evolve to meet the demands of the future. A balanced use of all modes of public transportation, for both individuals and freight, will be required to meet the country’s future transportation needs. An underutilized mode of public transportation is the nation’s rail system. Rail transportation of passengers is safer than highway travel, generates less emissions per unit transported than either highway or air, is more energy efficient than any other transportation mode, and inherently has a lower transportation cost per unit mile. Recently, the USDOT has sponsored the formulation of the National University Rail (NURail) Center. The NURail consortium has selected shared rail corridors as the central theme of its proposed research program. Currently, the rail systems in the U.S. are designed to support heavy freight train traffic. As High-Speed Rail (HSR) becomes a more vital asset to our nation’s infrastructure, there are many elements of the existing rail network that need to be tailored to address safety concerns as well as the maintenance of dual purpose assets that service both HSR passenger traffic and shared revenue service lines. However, development of incremental HSR lines in the U.S. poses a number of new challenges related to existing railroad. On the other hand, China has gone through similar upgrades and accumulated many experiences. 1.2 Objectives and Focus Areas The purpose of the tour was to investigate and document the applications and experiences with shared rail corridors in China, especially regarding China’s six different rail speed upgrades. The team conducted meetings with government agencies, academia, and private sector organizations to evaluate the Chinese railroad bridge system and issues identified in China when their railroad speed was increased six different times. This will be done so as to compare US railroad bridge systems with Chinese railroad bridge systems and to identify the most significant technologies for implementation in the United States, and propose strategies to accommodate a higher speed for the nation’s shared rail corridors. The following activities were undertaken: 1. Visited the China Academy of Railway Science and consulted with several experts on the general experience
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