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Old 03-01-2011, 09:52 AM
 
Location: Norwalk, CT
5,930 posts, read 4,531,753 times
Reputation: 3362
Default I don't think high speed rail is practical for the U.S.

I was discussing this topic with my father over the weekend, and we both came to the conclusion that high speed rail (HSR) would only be practical for certain areas, such as the Bos-Wash corridoor. It boils down to this...

The U.S. is unique from most other countries in that we placed our bets on the automobile in the mid 20th century, and built our country around the automobile, and hence suburban sprawl. Critics say that the U.S. has the best Interstate Highway system in the world. It goes through every single state and does not neglect massive regions, such as the Chinese system.

Relocating people and families to inner cities is simply not feasible, and is physically impossible. We need suburbs. The country is extremely suburban built, and therefore needs a suburban transportation solution. This is where HSR is not practical and is extremely costly.

Therefore, I think the problem we need to tackle is energy and fuel. We need to stick with the automible, but make it cheaper to fuel. We need to focus on improving our highway system and build new highways if necessary. This is cheaper than HSR and roads can reach many more places than HSR could ever hope for. No matter how many HSR tracks are built, people will still need a car to drive to the HSR station.

With that said, I do believe that HSR would work well for high density interconnected cities, such as the BosWash corridoor. Just not the rest of the U.S.

What are your thoughts on the future of America's transportation?
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Old 03-01-2011, 10:13 AM
 
Location: On the Rails in Northern NJ
12,336 posts, read 13,002,119 times
Reputation: 4240
Outside the NE , it can work in Cali , parts of the Midwest and Cascadia...
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Old 03-01-2011, 10:45 AM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
3,182 posts, read 3,979,039 times
Reputation: 1934
What about those pwople who can't drive, (like me) and the ever-increasing number of people who don't want to drive? Greyhound has a long way to go before it becomes a reasonable alternative to driving.
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Old 03-01-2011, 10:49 AM
Status: "40cal per mile beats 40MPG" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: You want kimchi with that?
8,479 posts, read 5,761,622 times
Reputation: 2177
Quote:
Originally Posted by nep321 View Post
Relocating people and families to inner cities is simply not feasible, and is physically impossible. We need suburbs. The country is extremely suburban built, and therefore needs a suburban transportation solution. This is where HSR is not practical and is extremely costly.
I am not sure why this is relevant. HSR is an intercity mode. Suburban folks drive to airports, they can drive to an HSR station. HSR may be particularly appealing to city folks, but its hardly designed for city dwellers only.
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Old 03-01-2011, 10:56 AM
 
Location: On the Rails in Northern NJ
12,336 posts, read 13,002,119 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brooklynborndad View Post
I am not sure why this is relevant. HSR is an intercity mode. Suburban folks drive to airports, they can drive to an HSR station. HSR may be particularly appealing to city folks, but its hardly designed for city dwellers only.
They do that in Spain , they built huge park and ride lots along the HSR lines....they seem to work just like an Airport...
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Old 03-01-2011, 10:59 AM
Status: "40cal per mile beats 40MPG" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: You want kimchi with that?
8,479 posts, read 5,761,622 times
Reputation: 2177
theres a big parking garage by Penn Station in baltimore IIUC, and folks commuting on Marc and using Amtrak use it. I think similarly at some stations in NJ. Union Station DC has a big parking garage.

There are a lot of people who have like a pavlovian response "HSR=War on the auto=war on the surbubs" who dont actually look at how existing intercity rail is used, or how the ridership projections for HSR are developed.
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:24 AM
 
41,282 posts, read 44,080,184 times
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Basically if it was practical Ma trak would be a bilion a yearthis year when gasoline prices are high. W are lookig a supre sonic jets alreadyi the worksd that will fly across ****ry with no sonic boom;carrying massive laods with less fuel cost per passenge. Mass tranit is most a state and local issue i this country and will be more so has federal funds become less in the next half century becuase of deficit.Even automive transportatio is forgg ahead faster than any rail systen planning because its priavte.
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Old 03-01-2011, 12:20 PM
 
Location: Cincinnati
3,154 posts, read 3,129,198 times
Reputation: 1840
Quote:
Originally Posted by texdav View Post
Basically if it was practical aM trak would be a bilion a yearthis year when gasoline prices are high.
the reason this discussion of high speed rail is in the public eye is because any kind of transportation requires ongoing government investment. period. until now, our tax dollars have almost exclusively supported the car. my point is just that your knee-jerk reaction to rail is divorced from real-world economics.

and the statement about jets carrying passengers at less fuel cost per passenger than trains is absurd.
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Old 03-01-2011, 01:36 PM
 
7,337 posts, read 7,925,537 times
Reputation: 2885
Quote:
Originally Posted by nep321 View Post
I was discussing this topic with my father over the weekend, and we both came to the conclusion that high speed rail (HSR) would only be practical for certain areas, such as the Bos-Wash corridoor. It boils down to this...

The U.S. is unique from most other countries in that we placed our bets on the automobile in the mid 20th century, and built our country around the automobile, and hence suburban sprawl. Critics say that the U.S. has the best Interstate Highway system in the world. It goes through every single state and does not neglect massive regions, such as the Chinese system.

Relocating people and families to inner cities is simply not feasible, and is physically impossible. We need suburbs. The country is extremely suburban built, and therefore needs a suburban transportation solution. This is where HSR is not practical and is extremely costly.

Therefore, I think the problem we need to tackle is energy and fuel. We need to stick with the automible, but make it cheaper to fuel. We need to focus on improving our highway system and build new highways if necessary. This is cheaper than HSR and roads can reach many more places than HSR could ever hope for. No matter how many HSR tracks are built, people will still need a car to drive to the HSR station.

With that said, I do believe that HSR would work well for high density interconnected cities, such as the BosWash corridoor. Just not the rest of the U.S.

What are your thoughts on the future of America's transportation?
I think you are basing your argument on an incorrect conclusion. If you think that HSR is only practical in some areas in the United States, then high-speed rail IS practical for the United States--but only in those areas. I would counter that highway expansion is increasingly impractical for many parts of the United States, especially existing built-up areas where horizontal highway expansion would massively disrupt existing cities, and cost more than reinvestment in public transit. This doesn't mean that highways are impractical for the United States as a whole--just for those areas. I would also suggest that HSR would be useful in plenty of other places besides the Boston/Washington corridor.

Americans put all their eggs in the highway basket during the 20th century--but you are ignoring that we were equally invested in steam and electric railroads through the 19th and much of the early 20th century, and most of our population still lives in proximity of the mortal remains of those systems. If we are planning for the coming century, why do we have to remain attached to the system that served us in the past century (the highways) but is now falling apart? If we are planning for the future, why must we remain locked in the recent past?

Nobody is talking about some kind of forced relocation of suburban residents. That's at best a straw man, an outright fabrication. What we are talking about is the direction of new development, not physical relocation. We have a conscious choice whether we want to reinvest in existing cities in neighborhoods, or to continue the outward cycle of sprawl and blight. However, considering the shrinking quantity of available land, the increasing costs of ever-expanding suburban infrastructure, and the rising cost of gas, we may not have the "let's keep sprawling" choice for very long--and we will find ourselves at a grave disadvantage if we do.

As to costs, the government already subsidizes EVERY form of transportation: automobiles and aircraft get significant subsidies, tax breaks and other benefits from the taxpayer (currently, gas taxes cover about half the cost of highway construction and maintenance.) Amtrak is one of the least subsidized--they cover 85% of their own costs, and many commuter routes turn a profit. Rail is a more cost-effective mode, and more fuel-efficient.
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Old 03-01-2011, 05:21 PM
 
Location: Planet Eaarth
8,958 posts, read 7,753,454 times
Reputation: 7193
Quote:
Originally Posted by nep321 View Post
I was discussing this topic with my father over the weekend, and we both came to the conclusion that high speed rail (HSR) would only be practical for certain areas, such as the Bos-Wash corridoor. It boils down to this...

The U.S. is unique from most other countries in that we placed our bets on the automobile in the mid 20th century, and built our country around the automobile, and hence suburban sprawl.
Critics say that the U.S. has the best Interstate Highway system in the world. It goes through every single state and does not neglect massive regions, such as the Chinese system.

Relocating people and families to inner cities is simply not feasible, and is physically impossible. We need suburbs. The country is extremely suburban built, and therefore needs a suburban transportation solution. This is where HSR is not practical and is extremely costly.

Therefore, I think the problem we need to tackle is energy and fuel. We need to stick with the automible, but make it cheaper to fuel. We need to focus on improving our highway system and build new highways if necessary. This is cheaper than HSR and roads can reach many more places than HSR could ever hope for. No matter how many HSR tracks are built, people will still need a car to drive to the HSR station.

With that said, I do believe that HSR would work well for high density interconnected cities, such as the BosWash corridoor. Just not the rest of the U.S.

What are your thoughts on the future of America's transportation?

This post is ,at best, mis-informed due to the dirty secret that GM has hidden for decades.........

there is also a trillion-dollar skeleton in GM's closet.

This is the company that murdered our mass transit system.



GM Must Re-Make the Mass Transit System it Murdered | Common Dreams
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