In 2008, American transportation officials were bullish on rail programs. Voters passed a majority of November ballot measures across the country to fund significant rail and transit projects, including a $9-billion measure in California for high-speed rail. Industry groups consistently called for a dedicated national freight rail program in the next federal transportation reauthorization bill.
Three years later, a sagging economy and partisan warfare in Congress has stifled the progress of rail programs in the U.S.—even as massive rail efforts have ramped up in developing countries like China and India, as well as in rich areas like the United Arab Emirates.
Because it can moderate the damaging effects of earthquakes, base-isolation is a technique used primarily in seismically active regions. ENR takes a look at some of the largest applications of base-isolation technologies in the world.