DOI: 10.1111/ssqu.13363 ISSN: 0038-4941

All aboard? An analysis of public opinion regarding high‐speed rail

Sara Johnson, Euel Elliott
  • General Social Sciences



High‐speed rail is not well utilized in the United States. This study examines public interest in high‐speed rail and the role the apparent urban–rural political divide may play in its establishment.


Data from a sample of 1648 U.S. residents and 515 Texas residents surveyed in Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 were analyzed to determine their likelihood of choosing high‐speed rail if it was available.


Results found that 35 percent of national respondents and 52 percent of Texas respondents indicated they are likely to choose high‐speed rail. Characteristics such as age, education, gender, and political party affiliation had a statistically significant relationship with a respondent's likelihood of choosing high‐speed rail.


This analysis indicates an interest in high‐speed rail in both samples. Many of the characteristics of those likely to choose high‐speed rail are consistent with typical early adopters of innovation. Democrats seem more likely to consider high‐speed rail, however identifying as either a Republican or a Democrat resulted in a positive, statistically significant relationship with an interest in high‐speed rail in the Texas sample. While this discussion does appear to have a partisan divide, other characteristics seem to be a strong predictor of interest in high‐speed rail.

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