Thursday, April 16, 2009

High-speed Rail: The Next Step in Transportation Evolution?


http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/17/us/politics/17train.html?em

Obama has taken the first step towards a high-speed rail system in the United States, but is this really what we want- or need? High-speed rail can almost be considered an old technology these days, with France and Japan having installed their lines years ago. Frankly, America has already missed the boat on high-speed rail. If we want to 'get up to speed', and invest billions of dollars in a massive new rail infrastructure, shouldn't we be doing the job right? Shouldn't we double the speed? Shouldn't we 'show up' the rest of the world with a maglev system? 

Americans don't buy 5 and 10-year-old computers. We buy the latest Apple MacBooks and iPods. Fast and flashy. Better than anyone else's...it's the American way. So why should we see a new rail system- which is similarly measured in terms of speed and capacity- any differently? The future is here...all we have to do is reach out and grab it. Send a letter to President Obama at the White House. Tell him that you are ready for a lightning-fast, coast to coast maglev network. You can write him at the following address:

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500



Godspeed,

Elliott H.


P.S. Here's a good book to read if you'd like to learn more about the benefits of infrastructure investments...


2 comments:

luis d. said...

As much as I would love a National Maglev system, it's too risky and expensive. Probably double the cost of regular Steel Wheel, steel rail tech. China's short line is only an expirament and Germanies proposed system was cancelled because of the extreme costs. We already have enough critics complaining about Regular HSR, imagine what they would be like if you talked Maglev Dollars?

As far as I'm concerned Maglev is is a dream we can only wish for and nothing else. If it were to take off it would only be done with one or two innitial segments to prove itself, then we'll see.

We have to crawl before we can run on "HSR" or Maglev wich is "Very HSR".

As for me I'll settle for the proven tech of regular HSR and hopefully the systems can be built so we can hit 200+mph and not just 150-186mph. Japans already planning higher speeds on it's line's by upgrades.

Either way, I wish you good luck in spreading the word on Fast Train Travel and a successfull Blogg.

Nikki Schippel said...

Although I understand where the cost lies, I want to back up Elliot. He has a point in arguing for the implementation of the most efficient and advanced technology that one finds with maglev. The United States has continuously renewed itself and stayed ahead because of its willingness to embrace innovation.

I have been looking into ALT's idea regarding mass transit, train technology, and infrastructure and really think they have something.

I think ALT has the right idea when they say we should combine utility and transit: a comprehensive high speed rail network with smart grid built into the same infrastructure utilizing the Interstate Highway System. Now that is innovation that is worth the investment.