A high-speed rail train
Seattle/Portland/Vancouver skylines


Washington State Legislature’s Joint Transportation Committee


Seattle, WA

Portland, OR

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


Rail Transportation: System-wide Elements


Planning/Pre-Design: Alternatives Analyses, Transportation Planning

Cascadia Ultra-High-Speed Rail Independent Review

Since 2016, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), the state of Oregon, and the province of British Columbia have explored an ultra-high-speed ground transportation system that would stretch from Portland to Vancouver. With train speeds up to 250 mph, travelers could commute from Portland to Seattle, or Seattle to Vancouver in under an hour.

WSDOT has overseen three feasibility studies on the proposed project and seeks to transform the high-speed rail from concept to actual operations. As a subconsultant to Resource Systems Group (RSG), STV is conducting an independent review of the previous studies’ findings and the project’s viability for the Washington State Legislature’s Joint Transportation Committee (JTC). The team is examining the tradeoffs of different high-speed rail scenarios not previously studied, including “hybrid” systems that could run partially along the existing railroad corridor at slower speeds and reduce costs and potential impacts. STV and RSG are evaluating various factors that could affect the project’s development, including funding options, governance strategies, environmental goals, and ridership and revenue assumptions.

The high-speed rail project embodies a larger initiative from the Pacific Northwest’s Cascadia megaregion. With a shared network of economies, infrastructure, and resources within Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver, the megaregion’s high-speed rail system could not only accommodate the region’s growing population and drive interconnectivity, but also cement its place as a global business hub.