The term sustainability is often defined as the capacity to endure. Sustainability speaks to decision making that considers the impacts of the actions taken now, on future generations. When developing major infrastructure for the California High-Speed Rail Program, program designers must consider factors that safeguard the capacity of future generations to enjoy quality life:

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) is committed to building a high-speed rail system that minimizes impacts to both the natural and built environment, encourages compact land development around transit stations, and helps California manage its pressing issues with climate change, traffic and airport congestion, and energy dependency. The Authority has adopted policies and published several documents that confirms a commitment to sustainable development.

2020 Sustainability Report

Sustainability Report

The 2020 Sustainability Report provides information on the progress the Authority is making in fulfilling sustainability commitments. Specifically, this report:

Previous Reports

Urban Design Guidelines

The California High-Speed Rail Authority's Urban Design Guidelines are a comprehensive planning guide that provides domestic and international examples of station area design, urban design and transit-oriented development. This guide includes simple diagrams that analyze and explain successful public places and how each promotes livability and transit use.  Urban design implemented around high-speed rail stations can encourage destination stations and enhance the value for the surrounding community.

The Urban Design Guidelines report is intended to be used by cities and communities throughout the state’s 800-mile system as they work with their stakeholders and residents to create a vision for their high-speed rail station areas.

Sustainable Design Concepts

High-speed rail will provide the Central Valley with improved access to the rest of the state, putting the Central Valley's residents only one to two hours away from California's major employment and population centers. This change in the Central Valley's geography of access will in turn impact the course of future development within the region. At the regional scale, the increased accessibility afforded by high-speed rail can serve to concentrate development in and around communities that have stations. Such demand can shift the impetus of new growth away from the Central Valley's agricultural land and reorient it towards established urban centers.

Vision California

"Vision California" is an unprecedented effort to explore the critical role of land use and transportation investments in meeting the environmental and fiscal challenges facing California over the coming decades.  Calthorpe Associates is producing tools that can evaluate alternative physical visions for how California can accommodate anticipated growth. The project will model the consequences of varying land use and transportation scenarios, and quantify the benefits of a more sustainable, transit-oriented future for California--one that is anchored by a statewide high-speed rail network.

Urban Forestry Program

Urban Forestry Logo

Honoring its commitment to zero-net direct greenhouse gas emissions in construction, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) is pleased to present the details of the first group of urban forestry projects. CAL FIRE, in partnership with the Authority, has awarded $2.5 million in tree planting grants to date to offset greenhouse gas emissions associated with construction of the first portion of the high-speed rail system. The more than 6,000 trees to be planted will reduce greenhouse gases and provide numerous environmental, social, and economic benefits to disadvantaged communities in the vicinity of the rail line between San Jose to Anaheim.

These grants:


Two organizations have been awarded funding.


Team of students planting trees
The California High-Speed Rail Authority and Tree Fresno began the first phase of tree planting at West Fresno Middle School in May 2018. Nearly 200 trees were planted by volunteers and students.

More planting events are being scheduled.


Team of students planting trees



Green Practices & Sustainability
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