The Shinkansen first appeared in Japan in 1964 more than half a century ago before the rapid development of automobiles and aircraft. At the time, it opened the way for new “high-speed rail” to replace railways around the world, which had become increasingly obsolete for serving as the main transportation system connecting major cities. Subsequently, the development of high-speed rail has become a global trend and is, without a doubt, a “game changer.”
Ever since, the Shinkansen’s perfect combination of the Crash Avoidance principle and total system approach has continued to realize high-speed, high-volume and high-frequency transport with world-class safety and reliability.
As the trajectory and results of development of Japan’s Shinkansen and Taiwan High-Speed Rail, which began operating in 2007, have shown, the Shinkansen is not merely a high-speed transportation system. It is also a social system possessing the power to transform economies, societies and people’s lifestyles as well as significantly reshape countries and regions.
With high-speed rail developing in Europe and Asia and new projects planned in many countries around the world, the International High-Speed Rail Association (IHRA) was established in April 2014 in part to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Tokaido Shinkansen.
IHRA is neither a government institution nor a company seeking to procure project orders. It is a global organization grounded in the philosophy of promoting the common good, and one that takes account of the Crash Avoidance principle and total system approach, and aims to contribute to the further development of high-speed rail around the world by promoting international cooperation that includes sharing information, knowledge and experience with countries, which aspire to have a safe high-speed rail system, while, at the same time, adapting such expertise to the actual circumstances in each region and country.
Welcome to the International High Speed Rail Association (IHRA) website! Thank you for taking the time to visit.
We have information on this website that we hope will be useful to anyone who is contemplating a high speed rail system and for those interested to know why Japan and Taiwan have been so successful with their high speed rail systems.
Most of the criticism of Shinkansen type HSR has focused on the cost of constructing a stand-alone high speed rail line instead of using existing rail infrastructure. The response is simple, existing conventional rail infrastructure is not suitable for frequent high speed service. It is, however, possibly suitable for infrequent service with other conventional services at above average speeds. So it really depends on the situation one faces as one considers high speed rail for their society.
To ensure safety, reliability, and speed and to allow for a future increase of frequency as demand grows, it is imperative to have a dedicated line with no level crossings. The tremendous social transformation that occurs will far outweigh the cost of this new infrastructure over the long term.
I heartily welcome you to explore our website and I look forward to hearing from you.