California High-Speed Rail Geotechnical Review and Risk Management

High-speed train


Through its high-speed intercity passenger rail (HSIPR) and Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) programs, the Federal Rail Administration (FRA) is committed to aiding the development and enhancement of high-speed rail in the United States. These grant programs support major projects like the California High-Speed Rail (CHSR) and require monitoring and technical oversight to protect the significant investment of taxpayer funds.


To assist with the monitoring and technical oversight of its grant program projects, the FRA has engaged the Research and Technology Administration’s (RITA’s) Volpe Center. In turn, the Volpe Center has retained the services of a monitoring and technical assistance contactor (MTAC) that includes ARA. The role of the MTAC team is to provide:

  • Program support that includes the development/implementation of monitoring plans, meeting support, and ancillary services.
  • Technical assistance in the areas of project compliance, performance monitoring, and financial monitoring.
  • Review of grant project deliverables, technical studies, and related documents.

ARA is providing technical assistance and risk management services for the geotechnical elements of the CHSR project. Our work includes:

  • Review Phase 1 and Phase 2 geotechnical investigation plans and associated special reports on geo-hazards: seismic, landslides, and ground subsidence.
  • Help resolve geo-hazard assessment in coordination with the regional consultants and California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) staff that are working those issues.
  • Participate in technical advisory panels for the geotechnical program and seismic behavior for complicated elevated track structures, engineered earthwork, and tunnel features.
  • Help develop geotechnical contracts to supplement the regional consultants’ investigation program.
  • Review geotechnical work, findings, and associated reports.
  • Help CHSR to review and recommend approaches for assessment and mitigation of risks along the project corridor.


Through ARA’s technical assistance and risk management services for geotechnical-related activities, the FRA and RITA Volpe Center are helping ensure that the CHSR project will properly manage potential geotechnical, structure, and tunneling-related risks and that the FRA fulfills its responsibility of protecting taxpayer investment in the CHSR project.

Geotechnical & Structures

Geotechnical & Structures

ARA offers technologies and services to address several critical geotechnical and structures concerns. more


Railroad Services

ARA enhances railroad and transit safety and performance through the application of innovative R&D, engineering, and technology deployment... more