On 23 October, UIC participated in a webinar on high-speed rail around the world, organised by the US High Speed Rail Association and attended by railway experts, urban planners, and official representatives from the political world.
The webinar was opened by Andy Kuntz, President and CEO of US HSR. In particular, Mr Kuntz emphasised the need for the USA to have a completely green, clean transport system. Such a system requires the development of a single network, and must include stations on the basis of a TOD (Transit- Oriented Development) approach. Mr Kuntz then presented the high-speed lines under construction in Florida, Nevada, Texas, the Pacific Northwest (Cascadia), and the Southeast HSR Corridor. Referencing the Covid-19 pandemic, he also stressed the need for a clear vision.
François Davenne, UIC Director General, presented the big picture for global high-speed rail and demonstrated how quickly it is advancing. “We need to make this mode of transport attractive and as convenient in terms of flexibility and comfort as possible”, he said, adding that “From inception, you have to be interconnected”.
Marc Guigon, UIC Passenger Director, Leader of the International Covid-19 Taskforce and Coordinator of the UIC Latin America region, started with a definition of high-speed rail. He presented the many different national systems that exist. Amongst the main issues highlighted were planning, contribution to combatting climate change, and interoperability. Mr Guigon presented the numerous standards developed by UIC, stating that “Standards are the backbone of interoperability”. He also reminded participants of the need to develop intermodal connections by managing interfaces with other modes. With regard to the Covid-19 pandemic, he said that “it is an opportunity to develop a new infrastructure”.
Andrea Giuricin, CEO of TRA Consulting, gave a presentation on the situation in Italy in relation to open competition, and explained how it has been working and increasing passenger numbers. Enrico Trapazzo, CEO at FS USA Inc., also emphasised the need to develop a single network. Professor Anthony Perl presented the Chinese HSR system and the many reasons to develop HSR.
Andy Kuntz closed the webinar by thanking all the speakers, and thanked UIC for its leadership in respect of high-speed rail.