Allan Rutter from TTI visited CM2 on Thursday, September 19 to talk to students interested in transportation about past and future plans for a high speed rail in Texas. Mr. Rutter has more than 30 years of experience in multimodal transportation policy, finance, and safety. He has experience working with transportation agencies at the state and national level proposing and defending organizational budgets, legislative proposals and administrative rulemaking.
Mr. Rutter drew on his rich background in transportation policy to tell the history of the High Speed Rail in Texas. He informed students about the various unsuccessful proposals for high speed rail lines in Texas and other parts of the county like California and Florida. He explained how politics, disputes over land ownership, and funding prevented previous plans from being implemented.The students asked him questions about the Texas Central plan for a high speed rail line between Houston and Dallas. Mr. Rutter told the group about some of the challenges Texas Central faces and how they are trying to find innovative ways to finance and gain approval for the proposed project.
Mr. Rutter also spoke with the students about some of the other challenges associated with building a new high speed rail line. More specifically, he described how Texas Central and other HSR developers are trying to figure out how to integrate services at the stations to help passengers connect to local lines and other forms of transportation.
He left the group with a few thought- provoking questions like: How do you help people access different types of rail services in the same place? How do you design a place so that people understand how to get where they are trying to go? How do you build an experience at a station that will make people want to be there?
These will be questions that many of these future planning students will grapple with as they prepare to enter the Transportation Planning field.