What have you done today to lower your impact?

We are washing away the foundations of our existence on every front. It is high time we move from crashing about on the planet like a bull in china shop and find a way to go forward with intent. We must find systems of living based on sustainability. The systems and tools exist, it is up to each of us to adopt them.

Blog Archive

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Really good news! High speed rail for the US

This is the best news I've heard in along time. Finally the US is going to attempt to catch up to the rest of the world when it comes to sensible transportation.

For only $13 billion, that's what, about 5% of the amount we handed the gamblers who brought the economy to it's knees, around 10% of what our backward auto industries want to maintain our disastrous reliance on a 50 year old transportation plan that was obsolete 40 years ago, and maybe 1% of what we've wasted in the biggest corporate welfare package in recent years, the war in Iraq.

This is genuine investment in America's future, building something real that will facilitate our countries move towards a competitive, low carbon economy.

Read more at Worldchanging

Here is an excerpt from President Obama's speech on the matter;

"If we want to move from recovery to prosperity, then we have to do a little bit more. We also have to build a new foundation for our future growth. Today, our aging system of highways and byways, air routes and rail lines is hindering that growth. Our highways are clogged with traffic, costing us $80 billion a year in lost productivity and wasted fuel. Our airports are choked with increased loads. Some of you flew down here and you know what that was about. We're at the mercy of fluctuating gas prices all too often; we pump too many greenhouse gases into the air.

What we need, then, is a smart transportation system equal to the needs of the 21st century. A system that reduces travel times and increases mobility. A system that reduces congestion and boosts productivity. A system that reduces destructive emissions and creates jobs.

What we're talking about is a vision for high-speed rail in America. Imagine boarding a train in the center of a city. No racing to an airport and across a terminal, no delays, no sitting on the tarmac, no lost luggage, no taking off your shoes. (Laughter.) Imagine whisking through towns at speeds over 100 miles an hour, walking only a few steps to public transportation, and ending up just blocks from your destination. Imagine what a great project that would be to rebuild America.

Now, all of you know this is not some fanciful, pie-in-the-sky vision of the future. It is now. It is happening right now. It's been happening for decades. The problem is it's been happening elsewhere, not here.

In France, high-speed rail has pulled regions from isolation, ignited growth, remade quiet towns into thriving tourist destinations. In Spain, a high-speed line between Madrid and Seville is so successful that more people travel between those cities by rail than by car and airplane combined. China, where service began just two years ago, may have more miles of high-speed rail service than any other country just five years from now. And Japan, the nation that unveiled the first high-speed rail system, is already at work building the next: a line that will connect Tokyo with Osaka at speeds of over 300 miles per hour. So it's being done; it's just not being done here.

There's no reason why we can't do this. This is America. There's no reason why the future of travel should lie somewhere else beyond our borders. Building a new system of high-speed rail in America will be faster, cheaper and easier than building more freeways or adding to an already overburdened aviation system –- and everybody stands to benefit."


Anonymous said...

For designing and developing a futuristic mass transit system cetain factors are to be considered. Firstly from user's point of view it should be very sleek, aerodynamic and sophisticated in design. Secondly the system must be air-conditioned, spacious and so attractive that would be users will use it rather than using their automobiles.
Thirdly the system should use only a fraction of the energy used by the present system so that it can make huge profit.
Lastly but most important is that the system would leave zero carbon foot print and be superfast.
For a glimpse into the world of future mass transit system please read my science fiction novel MEGALOPOLIS ONE 2080 A.D. The website is http://www.eloquentbooks.com/MegalopolisOne2080AD.html

C Robb said...

Thanks for the comment,
I agree that a system should have all those attributes but more importantly it should cost the user significantly less to use than owning and operating an automobile while also running on a highly reliable schedule. It must offer many options, ie lots of stops or not, many runnings to the most popular destinations, and mass transit service to and from the stations which should be walkable within population centers.