Progressive Railroading

Newsletter Sign Up
Stay updated on news, articles and information for the rail industry

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


Rail News Home High-Speed Rail


Rail News: High-Speed Rail

Mineta institute report: Workforce, training and research inadequate to meet the needs of California’s HSR system construction


Building California’s high-speed rail system will open up a need for a large workforce, but current educational and training institutes are ill-suited to prepare future workers, according to a report issued last week by the Mineta Transportation Institute.

“Estimating Workforce Development Needs for High-Speed Rail in California” examines various gaps in technology, information and knowledge needs, with a focus on the training/education requirements during the project’s design, construction and operation.

According to the report, university systems and training networks could be challenged in the following areas:
• increases in the need to understand noise and vibration, and increases in the capability and capacity to design technologies to mitigate such emissions;
• demand for advanced train control/signaling/collision prevention, and positive train control systems that have not been deployed previously in the United States;
• need for technology and understanding of acceleration and deceleration characteristics of high-speed rail trains, especially in the efficient management of energy throughout the system;
• increased need for the design of a comprehensive communications network/monitoring system, which has not yet been deployed with 220 mph capability in the United States;
• expanded need for the design and implementation of sensory-based intrusion prevention and detection and natural disaster detection technologies; and
• increased knowledge and technology needed for the maintenance of systems and rolling stock for high-speed rail systems.

The Mineta Transportation Institute estimates the total workforce demand for the high-speed rail system will be 256,092 direct jobs over the life of the project. The period between 2013 and 2016 — the height of the construction and construction management phases — will have the highest workforce need.

Despite the anticipated demand for a more skilled rail workforce, no institution is altering its instruction, or research and development offerings to focus on high-speed rail, and “very few” railway engineering courses are offered for those seeking a civil engineering degree, the report states. And while there has been collaboration and cooperation among professors and international research institutions, and regional research cooperation, “very little” has been high-speed rail specific, according to the report. Collaboration within the industry hasn’t focused specifically on high-speed rail, either, the report states.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/19/2012