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robertogreco : highspeed   16

Why The US Has No High-Speed Rail - YouTube
"China has the world’s fastest and largest high-speed rail network — more than 19,000 miles, the vast majority of which was built in the past decade.

Japan’s bullet trains can reach nearly 200 miles per hour and date to the 1960s. They have moved more than 9 billion people without a single passenger causality. casualty

France began service of the high-speed TGV train in 1981 and the rest of Europe quickly followed.

But the U.S. has no true high-speed trains, aside from sections of Amtrak’s Acela line in the Northeast Corridor. The Acela can reach 150 mph for only 34 miles of its 457-mile span. Its average speed between New York and Boston is about 65 mph.

California’s high-speed rail system is under construction, but whether it will ever get completed as intended is uncertain.

Watch the video to see why the U.S. continues to fail with high-speed trains, and some companies that are trying to fix that."
rails  trains  us  history  transportation  highspeedrail  2019  cars  lobbying  aviation  politics  policy  airlines  ideology  infrastructure  highspeed  rail 
may 2019 by robertogreco
Is Gavin Newsom Right to Slow Down California’s High-Speed Train? | The New Yorker
"There is currently a direct train between the Bay Area and Los Angeles, called the Coast Starlight—the ride takes about twelve hours and costs around a hundred dollars. It is also possible to fly between the two cities, hourly throughout the day; the trip is around fifty minutes in the air, and a ticket can be less than a hundred dollars. In reasonable traffic, a car can expect to make the journey, which is roughly the distance from New York City to Brunswick, Maine, in six hours. There are direct buses, too. An S.F.-to-L.A. trip on the high-speed rail would fit amid these options. It is also supposed to cost around a hundred dollars one way and to take two hours and forty minutes, a comfortable length for people wanting to go from downtown to downtown on a schedule, without detouring through the airport—in other words, for business people travelling between the state’s two growing centers of money and power. The High-Speed Rail Authority has produced varying ridership estimates; the highest, a hundred million a year, matches the usage of the Bay Area’s most sprawling regional rail system, bart, which is busy with people making daily metropolitan commutes to work or to school. It’s easy to imagine a San Franciscan family of four with two small kids preferring, over other possibilities, a three-hour train ride on Friday to visit Grandma in L.A. (Cost: something like seven hundred bucks round-trip, assuming there’s a reduced child fare.) But it’s hard to imagine middle-class families making a commuter habit of such trips, especially given the not horribly longer journey possible for just the cost of a full gas tank. In practice, the S.F.-to-L.A. route would operate chiefly as a business train, for inter-city meeting-makers, executives bouncing between offices, multiple-home owners, and unmoored media types. (Disclosure: I would personally love this train.) It’s an alternative connection for already well-connected people.

Smart advocates of the plan, of which there are many, point to the success of high-speed rail elsewhere: in China, in Europe. It’s worth noting, however, where such admirable trains actually go: on suburban and exurban routes, mostly, not metropolitan ones, the trains doing what air travel cannot. By trimming the high-speed rail of its upscale ends (for now), Newsom focussed the rail plan on the communities most underserved by current transit infrastructure—a narrower-use case, but probably one that is more generous to the inland region. Largely agricultural and truly middle-class, the cities between Merced and Bakersfield make up a part of California that risks losing, rather than gaining, steam, especially as some conditions that support the agricultural economy fall away. A major infrastructure project would bring a fresh wave of middle-class workers to these affordable cities. Being the custodians of the state’s most advanced transit, too, would keep those cities on the map and weave an often-atomized agricultural community together. A high-speed train connected to the prospering coast, in contrast, would bind Valley workers to a thriving ecosystem of jobs and bring coastal industry inland—to what end? In a 2000 survey of the topic, Ted Bradshaw, a now-deceased professor at the University of California, Davis, who studied these inland communities, projected social bifurcation. “Underskilled workers fail to find a place in the new economy and are increasingly bypassed, while workers from the high-technology urban centers are encouraged to relocate to the Valley,” he wrote. “While the potential for development is real and the possible benefits are great, these industries face stiff competition from the coastal regions in California.”

To the extent that California has challenges around inequality (and it does), they have tended to come from élite workers compounding their advantage, attracting similarly élite labor from elsewhere, and building a local economy that crowds out anyone who is not affluent or who has obstacles to opportunity access. Few people would really want Bakersfield or Fresno to be the new frontiers of cost refugees—metropolitan workers who can’t afford the cities or just want more bang for their buck. Even fewer would want these inland destinations themselves to become a true extension of the coast—ever more a zone of wealth and the enduring worm-jar competition of an élite class. Purely upscale cities, we are starting to realize, are tedious and sad.

A high-speed rail tying the Valley to the coast will create a new channel for these business-class powers, and it won’t be cheap. According to an analysis by the World Bank, the per-mile cost of building such a system in California is twice the comparable expense in Europe and three times the cost in China: we are paying top dollar for the privilege of emulation. Neither will it come soon. The rail connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles is expected be finished in 2033. By that point, autonomous vehicles, green in both power source and roadway efficiency, are expected to be in commercial use—not everywhere, one assumes, but almost certainly on the stretch of highway separating the headquarters of Uber, in San Francisco, and Space X, in L.A. Because autonomous cars are more predictable and more controlled—in short, more train-like—there will be another costly push to streamline existing roadways to their habits. (They can use narrower lanes, for instance.) They also have the virtue, especially in spread-out California, of carrying passengers door to door. The United States is overdue for high-speed rail: it represents the standard we are trailing. But in zooming toward the future it’s important to remember whom we’re taking with us and who is being left behind."
highspeedrail  trains  gavinnewsom  nathanheller  2019  transportation  california  bakersfield  merced  centralvalley  losangeles  sanfrancisco  inequality  cities  urban  urbanism  highspeed  rail 
february 2019 by robertogreco
How Washington Derailed Amtrak - NationalJournal.com
"WHO'S TO BLAME for this sad state of affairs? It depends whom you ask. To conservatives, America has a second-rate train system because the government is running it. Republican Rep. John Mica of Florida, a longtime Amtrak skeptic, told me it was both a "Soviet-style" and "third-world" passenger service. If by "Soviet-style," he meant that labor costs are out of whack, it's true that a 2009 report by the Amtrak Office of Inspector General found the company's infrastructure workers to be 2.3 times more expensive annually than their European counterparts. And if by "third-world," he meant that Amtrak is often bumbling and incompetent, it's true that Acela's cars were originally built four inches too wide, preventing them from handling curves with any deftness. (The problem was eventually solved.)

To liberals, however, the problem is that the government hasn't invested nearly enough. After all, countries that boast more advanced systems support their trains with public subsidies that Amtrak could only dream of. (Britain's private rail network, for instance, received roughly $8 billion from the government last year.)

In November 2011, Robert Dove, a managing director at the Carlyle Group, the D.C.-based asset-management firm, delivered a presentation to the annual meeting of the U.S. High Speed Rail Association (USHSR), a lobbying-cum-cheerleading group formed shortly after Obama's election. Dove began his slide show with the usual embarrassing stats about America's high-speed-rail ineptitude (290 million annual high-speed-rail passengers in Japan; 3 million in America). He went on to estimate that for the Northeast Corridor alone to facilitate legitimate bullet-train travel, up to $117 billion in improvements were necessary. (Amtrak itself, in a 2012 plan that will probably never come to fruition—New York to Boston in 94 minutes!—put the number at $151 billion.) "You will not find the private sector willing to come in at the construction stage or the development stage," he warned. For that, the government would have to pick up the tab. Only at that point would you "find people like me very, very willing to come in and buy it." In other words, to get to the conservative dream of a privatized Amtrak, you would first have to pursue the liberal path of spending a massive amount of public money.

Dove's plan might be more realistic if we conceived of Amtrak as a piece of infrastructure—like a bridge or a tunnel—rather than as a for-profit corporation that can't quite turn a profit. "This is a public service," argues Andy Kunz, president of USHSR. "Our highways don't make a profit. Our airports don't make a profit. It's all paid for by the government." (Together, the Highway Trust Fund and the Federal Aviation Administration receive about 45 times what Amtrak does, through subsidies and gas taxes.)

That line of thinking isn't persuasive to everyone, evidently. In 2008, the last time a major Amtrak reauthorization was passed, Congress introduced a game-changing new rail policy: The law stipulated that, on all routes except for long-distance and Northeast Corridor trains, the states had to pay for trains' operating costs, while the feds would still handle the bulk of any needed investments. In theory, this was a good idea. Not only did it get more potential funders and political partners involved, but it was probably more fair. "Otherwise," as Railway Age contributing editor and Amtrak maven Frank Wilner puts it, "the federal government is robbing St. Petersburg to pay St. Paul, extracting a handling fee as the money flows through Washington.""
trains  us  amtrak  2015  transportation  transit  rail  highspeedrail  highspeed 
april 2015 by robertogreco
An HSR Country is a Centralized Country | Pedestrian Observations
An interesting read on high speed rail and the development it spurs. "What this suggests is that HSR does not create centralization so much as reinforces it when it already exists. The Shinkansen made the rest of Japan more dependent on Tokyo, and the TGV has made most of France more dependent on Paris." The author considers the US, but surely the UK would go the way of France and Japan also.
development  railways  highspeedrail  france  japan  us  polycentricity  via:blech  trains  rail  paris  tokyo  centralization  shinkansen  highspeed 
december 2011 by robertogreco
New Phantom v1610 Camera Can Shoot a Staggering 1,000,000fps
"Shooting 4.5 million frames per second of molecules using an x-ray flash is impressive, but can non-scientific cameras come anywhere close? The answer is yes: Vision Research has a new Phantom high speed camera called the v1610 that can capture footage at a whopping 1,000,000fps. Granted, the resolution needs to be a paltry 128×16 for that fps, but at a full 1280×800 it still shoots at 16,000fps. To give you an idea of what 1 million fps is like, consider this: 1 second of the footage will provide you with 9.25 hours of uber-slow motion 30fps video."
cameras  atemporality  via:bopuc  video  slowmotion  highspeed  2011  highspeedrail  rail  trains 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Carmageddon #flightvsbike challenge: How a team of cyclists beat a Jet Blue flight from Burbank to Long Beach. - By Tom Vanderbilt - Slate Magazine
"But the moment of folly seemed to provide an aperture for new thinking. In the face of this fanciful idea (a traffic-busting flight!) it became possible to demonstrate that cycling, often taken as a non-serious or marginal or even annoying (to some drivers) form of transportation in the United States, could seem eminently reasonable: not only the cheapest form of transportation, not merely the one with the smallest carbon footprint, not only the one most beneficial to the health of its user, but the fastest.…

But the race today wasn't only about the cyclists. Gary Kavanagh*, who had reacted enthusiastically to my initial daydreaming about a "Tour de Carmageddon," was the day's dark horse, revealing the secret efficacy—and perhaps, for some remote Twitter spectators, the existence—of Los Angeles' oft-derided subway system. (When I thought of a cyclist racing a jet, I admittedly wasn't even aware one could take mass transit between BUR and LGB)…"
losangeles  bikes  biking  masstransit  highspeed  rail  buses  carmageddon  2011  transportation  airtravel  airplanes  efficiency  speed  contests  highspeedrail  trains 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Are We There Yet? Passage of the transportation reauthorization bill would finally shift us toward more environmentally sustainable communities.
"Environmentalists' interest in the transportation bill is clear. Transportation accounts for more than two-thirds of the nation's oil use and about 25 percent of its carbon-dioxide emissions…Americans will be hooked on oil until they have workable alternatives to the automobile. Investing in urban light rail & regional high-speed rail networks; boosting funds for bus systems; constructing bike lanes; & focusing on repairing existing roads instead of building news ones are a first step in changing, at a fundamental level, how we move around. If we want Americans to ditch their cars, that will require giving them choices, and that means creating a mass-transit system that makes the car -- and not the bus -- look like a pain…

Reducing the reliance on our cars, of course, also serves U.S. national-security interests."
us  transportation  policy  infrastructure  masstransit  buses  lightrail  rail  highspeed  trains  density  publictransit  2011  environment  cities  cars  carfree  sustainability  politics  peakoil  oil  energy  highspeedrail 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Transportation Nation
"Transportation Nation combines the work of public radio newsrooms and their listeners as the way we build, rebuild and get around the nation changes. Listen and stay tuned for more. Learn more about some of the reporters on the project."

[See also: http://marketplace.publicradio.org/projects/project_display.php?proj_identifier=2010/05/27/transportation-nation ]
transportation  us  urban  design  transport  publictransit  buses  trains  airplanes  airports  cargo  freight  busrapidtransit  cars  sustainability  cities  economics  highspeed  pedestrians  privatization  taxis  subways  technology  transit  tricks  trucking  planning  journalism  highspeedrail  rail 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Five Things You Need To Know About High-Speed Rail | Planetizen
"To inaugurate the launch of our new website with exclusive coverage of high-speed rail, we asked David J. Carol, Market Leader of High-Speed Rail at Parsons Brinkerhoff to tell us what we need to know about the U.S.'s exciting new endeavor."
highspeed  rail  news  transportation  trains  highspeedrail 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Superfast Bullet Trains Are Finally Coming to the U.S. | Magazine | Wired.com
"Getting California’s train up and running will be expensive. But doing nothing would cost two to three times more. Why? Currently, gridlocked lanes waste $20 billion in fuel and productivity annually. And it’s only going to get worse. The Golden State is growing — quickly. By 2030, another 12 million people could be calling it home. Without an infrastructure overhaul, drivers can expect a 10 percent congestion increase every year. To accommodate the billion trips between cities that residents and visitors will make annually, the state would need to build 3,000 more miles of freeway lanes, five more commercial airport runways, and 90 more airline departure gates. The price: at least $100 billion. Oh, and all that construction wouldn’t alleviate traffic; it would simply keep pace with it."
transportation  travel  technology  trains  rail  california  highspeed  sandiego  sanfrancisco  losangeles  cities  highspeedrail 
february 2010 by robertogreco
NIMBY Won’t Stop California High-Speed Rail | Autopia | Wired.com
"The California resistance comes from communities that voted heavily in favor of Prop. 1A, the 2008 ballot initiative that allowed the state to issue bonds worth about $10 billion, or roughly one-quarter the total cost of the project. The measure passed with 52 percent of the vote. Gov. Schwarzenegger has sought another $4.7 billion of the $8 billion set aside in the stimulus package. Forty states are pitching projects — some 272 applications in all — totaling $105 billion."
highspeed  rail  trains  california  nimbyism  transportation  highspeedrail  nimbys 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Train Detroit - The Atlantic (July/August 2009)
"Instead of scattering nickels and dimes across dozens of states, a better idea would be to increase the train fund at least tenfold so America can have at least one legitimate high-speed rail line like Spain’s Madrid-to-Seville train, which runs at 186 mph (Amtrak averages only 79 nationwide). And let this man-on-the-moon project start in Detroit. ... Of course, railroads helping to rescue Detroit would be sweet irony. It was General Motors, after all—in cahoots with a number of other companies—that set out to cripple mass transit in America, including the electric streetcars that once trundled through Detroit and Flint."
trains  us  rail  government  manufacturing  detroit  autoindustry  transportation  amtrak  highspeed  via:cityofsound  highspeedrail 
july 2009 by robertogreco
High-Speed Trains: Can the U.S. Catch Up?: Faster Trains on Track? - BusinessWeek
"The U.S. has long lagged behind the rest of the world in the development of high-speed trains. Countries like Japan & France have had extensive super-fast railroads for decades, providing travelers with convenient alternatives to planes and cars. China has a high-speed line, using maglev technology, in Shanghai with many more planned. Taiwan & South Korea have built high-speed train networks, too. Meanwhile, the US has nothing outside of the Northeast corridor. That may change soon. President Obama's stimulus plan...includes $8 billion to fund high-speed train projects. It’s unclear, though, how much the Obama administration is willing to spend on new rail lines. The cost of rail projects can be expensive. One example: Upgrading 322 kilometers of track between New York and Boston for Amtrak’s Acela train cost $1.6 billion a decade ago. Here's a look at high-speed train projects around the world—and some of the places in the U.S. that are hoping to get in on the action, too."
trains  us  amtrak  highspeed  rail  highspeedrail 
march 2009 by robertogreco

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