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Old 02-09-2013, 08:06 PM  
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The new high speed rail map that's been floating around recently



High speed rail is moving forward in California, but progress is pretty stagnant around the rest of the country. Still, there are a lot of proposals out there, and when placed on one map, they form an impressive rail network. This map was put together by California Rail Map, led by Alfred Twu, which combined existing proposals from high speed rail advocacy groups around the US. Twu described his process for the Guardian:

Instead of detailing construction phases and service speeds, I took a little artistic license and chose colors and linked lines to celebrate America's many distinct but interwoven regional cultures.

The US High Speed Rail Association, a nonprofit trade association, predicts a network similar to this one could be in place by 2030.

Transporation Secretary Ray LaHood has called for a large HSR network, saying it could link 80 percent of Americans within 25 years, for $500 billion.
Based on this map, starting in Los Angeles, a high speed train could get to New York, with stops in Denver and Chicago, in well under 18 hours.

Considering the significant funding and political will any large rail project needs, it's hard to imagine all this will be built. But Robert Cruickshank at the California High Speed Rail Blog argues just visualizing the network is a good thing:

But before the Interstate Highway System was authorized, it had to first be conceptualized on a map. This map gets us closer to the goal of an interstate high speed rail system by showing us what it looks like. And envisioning such a system is the first step toward building it.


Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/map-o...#ixzz2KSS4Sw1Q
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:29 PM   #91
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It would be cool to go to STL and CHI like that. Would be fun.
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:39 PM   #92
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It would be cool to go to STL and CHI like that. Would be fun.
I have traveled between Colorado and California by train. Very enjoyable, but I don't like driving and I find flying to be a pain in the ass unless I'm going cross country.
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:43 PM   #93
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Originally Posted by chiefzilla1501 View Post
1) The market isn't built for families, though there is certainly a market for it with wealthy families. The market is built for businesspeople and young professionals.
WTF?

You don't know what the market is...since it means each of use do our own valuing. In the meantime you decide what should be valued for each of us.
Like a good central planner.
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:48 PM   #94
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I have traveled between Colorado and California by train. Very enjoyable, but I don't like driving and I find flying to be a pain in the ass unless I'm going cross country.
Would love to be able to get from Denver to KC like that. Train trips have a neat draw for me as a photographer. But also as a soccer fan this route would be able to get me to more than half of the MLS teams cities pretty easily.
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:09 AM   #95
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Would love to be able to get from Denver to KC like that. Train trips have a neat draw for me as a photographer. But also as a soccer fan this route would be able to get me to more than half of the MLS teams cities pretty easily.
I'm not all that familiar with the route that you would have to take. It was great for me, but there is some really beautiful country along the route I took.
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Old 02-11-2013, 01:32 AM   #96
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Originally Posted by BucEyedPea View Post
WTF?

You don't know what the market is...since it means each of use do our own valuing. In the meantime you decide what should be valued for each of us.
Like a good central planner.
It's a good thing you weren't around when we were making decisions about whether to invest in building rails, roads, and airports. Many of those infrastructure decisions were made well before the market was ever set. Many businesses, in fact, are built on a market that doesn't exist. I do product marketing all the time. I can't imagine how backwards our business would be if we didn't try to make assumption-built forecasts.

I am pro growth. I am not a big fan of a lot of infrastructure projects, but don't know why an individual's opinion on a rail should matter if the project does in fact enable businesses in a significant way. At least enough to at least somewhat justify the cost, especially if the private sector funds much of the bill.
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Old 02-11-2013, 08:57 AM   #97
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That looks a lot like a map from the Ticket to Ride game.
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:04 AM   #98
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Originally Posted by chiefzilla1501 View Post
It's a good thing you weren't around when we were making decisions about whether to invest in building rails, roads, and airports. Many of those infrastructure decisions were made well before the market was ever set. Many businesses, in fact, are built on a market that doesn't exist. I do product marketing all the time. I can't imagine how backwards our business would be if we didn't try to make assumption-built forecasts.
Well, you're wrong. Read How Capitalism Saved America by DiLorenzo and you'll find that roads were built by private interests before then; that most infrastructure projects have been boondoggles. The problem with the word "infrastructure" is that it keeps expanding to include more and more things that were not always part of "infrastructure." Now it's healthcare.

Quote:
I am pro growth. I am not a big fan of a lot of infrastructure projects, but don't know why an individual's opinion on a rail should matter if the project does in fact enable businesses in a significant way. At least enough to at least somewhat justify the cost, especially if the private sector funds much of the bill.
Yes, I know, pro-federal government growth. It's not the govt's job to enable business Mr. Hamilton. The issue is, we're bankrupt. Yet we have so-called self-labeled "fiscal conservatives" calling for more spending either because it's a small amount or whatever. A fiscal conservative knows how to say "no" to such arguments as yours and others. They would be like Scrooge. At least for the time being.

Business growth is based on businesses providing services and products people are willing to exchange their money for. It has been just fine in this country without such a rail system. ( excluding the Federal Reserve bubble-bust under Alan Greenspan)

You're full of shit, when you claim to be a fiscal conservative.
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:08 AM   #99
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This is what you mean by infrastructure projects chiefzill1501:
"Federal bureaucrats think they, not the financial markets should direct investment spending. They want to rebuild "infrastructure," fund space stations, install magnetic supertrains, and set up information highways (or redistribute the existing ones). That's what President Clinton means when he says he'll 'grow the economy' through 'investment.'"
Just like a Democrat/Big Govt Republican aka central planner.
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:29 AM   #100
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Originally Posted by BucEyedPea View Post
This is what you mean by infrastructure projects chiefzill1501:
"Federal bureaucrats think they, not the financial markets should direct investment spending. They want to rebuild "infrastructure," fund space stations, install magnetic supertrains, and set up information highways (or redistribute the existing ones). That's what President Clinton means when he says he'll 'grow the economy' through 'investment.'"
Just like a Democrat/Big Govt Republican aka central planner.
No. Clinton was talking about creating infrastructure on order to keep infrastructure employees employed. I do not support most infrastructure projects with that intention. I support infrastructure projects that enable activities that help businesses run or in an event where one private investor can't possibly do this on your own, but instead requires a pool of investors.

I also do not support full public funding. I would like most of this to be funded privately and for public funding to cover the rest. The cost to the taxpayer for covering excess versus footing the full bill will easily be balanced out by benefit derived by the taxpayer.
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Old 02-11-2013, 01:38 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by chiefzilla1501 View Post
No. Clinton was talking about creating infrastructure on order to keep infrastructure employees employed. I do not support most infrastructure projects with that intention. I support infrastructure projects that enable activities that help businesses run or in an event where one private investor can't possibly do this on your own, but instead requires a pool of investors.

I also do not support full public funding. I would like most of this to be funded privately and for public funding to cover the rest. The cost to the taxpayer for covering excess versus footing the full bill will easily be balanced out by benefit derived by the taxpayer.
The taxpayer would benefit much more from repairing and maintaining our bridges and highways.
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:29 PM   #102
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Interesting post on this:
I know that high-speed rail is one of Reddit's big collective "things," and there was a time where I thought it would be a good idea for the States.
However, the more I look into it, the more that HSR looks an awful lot like a modern Concorde. In other words, it's a prestige project that costs a metric ass-ton of taxpayer money in return for a fabulous technological achievement that ... mostly benefits the wealthy and/or the privileged. Yay.
Once you look closely at HSR across the world, there are a few troubling commonalities that emerge:
  • It isn't a popular commuter's solution. The problem with getting to work is that you've gotta do it every day, and high-speed rail tickets are almost universally expensive. Even in places where they're heavily subsidized, it's not the kind of expense that most people can shrug off. To put it this way, average commuters to NYC from New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut suburbs will pay between $5-20 on a conventional rail ticket every day depending on their proximity to the city. By contrast, an Acela ticket is $70 from New Haven, the closest possible commuting city from New York. Assuming you go to work 5 days a week, and let's knock 2 weeks off the year for vacation, you are going to spend $17,500 per year just to get to work.

Or not. Nobody except the trust-fund set is ever going to drop that much money for a marginally faster ride to work.

Now, you can subsidize the tickets, but there isn't a government on the planet that has the resources to make HSR cheaper than regular rail tickets. (Or, if there is, I haven't found it.) Or you can encourage companies to pay for their employees' tickets, which is what a lot of Japanese companies do. Except they pass that cost along to consumers -- they have to -- and that's sure as hell not helping Tokyo's already-astronomical cost of living and the barrier to entry it presents to its already-dwindling number of young people.
Bottom line: There is no free lunch.
  • It isn't really a long-distance solution either. The longer the journey, the greater the likelihood that airplanes are faster and more economically efficient. The northeast corridor (between Boston and D.C.) is typically cited as the area of the U.S. most suited to a HSR network, which is true, but even here we run into distance problems. A flight between Boston and D.C. is 45 minutes and (with a glance at Kayak) costs $121 on average. The fastest train currently in regular service (the Chinese CRH380A) could manage that in roughly 3 hours assuming it went maximum speed immediately on leaving the station in Boston and made absolutely no stops at all on its way to Washington. I don't think that's technologically feasible any more than it's economically wise.

Additionally, looking at Acela tickets, there's a range of $170 to $250 while taking approximately 6 hours to cover the same distance. In the U.S., the plane is going to win every time.

Now, there's a strong case to be made that the anemic U.S. support for HSR is what's keeping services like the Acela from reaching their true potential, so let's look elsewhere. London to Paris by flight will run you 1 hour and 15 minutes and (depending on the day) $100-$150. The Eurostar is 2 hours and 15-30 minutes (depending on the train and the number of stops) and, averaging the fares together and using the current exchange rate, $210. In the interest of accuracy, it's possible to get a standard (i.e. non-business class) Eurostar fare at a rate competitive with flights at off-peak times while booking at least a month ahead, but you can just as easily get a plane ticket for the same cost and less time.

London to Paris should be the poster child for the "sweet spot" where HSR is competitive with flight, but even here, you have to struggle to create the circumstances in which HSR is more efficient than a plane. And it's still not! You can book months in advance and pick the most off-peak time you can find, but you'll still find a flight on that same day for the same or less money that gets you to Paris an hour faster. The British government has had to bail out Eurostar[1] previously, and ridership is 60% less than predicted from 2006 to present.

Why? I suspect because, for most people, time is less important than money, and you cannot convince them to spend more in return for less. More on this in a moment.
  • It also isn't a short-distance solution. The shorter the distance, the greater the likelihood that conventional rail is more efficient ... which kind of dumps us back at the reason why HSR is a poor commuter's solution. Any engineer could tell you that using HSR to go, say, 5 miles is a waste of time unless it's going to be used constantly to satisfy high demand from either people or freight. The closest model to this is Shanghai's maglev running between the airport and the city center, except ... well, this still isn't turning a profit. The technology has turned out to be substantially more expensive to keep running than they anticipated.

So who actually uses HSR?

"So who's going to use it?" is a vitally important question to ask of any addition or improvement to be made to a country's transportation infrastructure. People who tend to use HSR around the globe fall into pretty distinct groups:
  • Tourists "Yay, let's ride the trains! Wait, they cost how much? **** that, we'll take the plane next time." Most non-European tourists are already spending a small fortune on plane tickets to get there in the first place, and then more on hotels and food. Europe is a hideously expensive place to start with, and spending extra just to get around the continent isn't in most peoples' budgets.
  • Students "I don't own a car. Subsidized train tickets! Wheeee!" Trains are indeed very nice for students, who typically don't own cars and are entitled to reduced-price tickets in most countries. But you'll have to turn 26 sometime, at which point the gravy train (high speed or otherwise) stops. On a depressing note, young people are also a shrinking percentage of the population in every western European country.
  • Business people on the relatively few lines where HSR can beat or approximate plane times "My company's paying for this. Bring me another truffle, peon." As stated earlier, whether HSR can "beat" a plane is a pretty iffy matter in the first place. A lot of its attractiveness depends on the lengthy check-in, security, and boarding procedures needed to use planes. The longer the distance, the more that HSR's advantage starts to vanish, and the less you can justify scheduling meetings or whatever at odd times to justify using the trains.
  • Travelers who really hate flying Unfortunately for HSR's bottom line, there aren't too many of these around.
  • Rich people who like trains Unfortunately, not too many of these around, either. And for most rich people, there's a point at which their time is significantly more valuable than money, which was actually the attraction of the Concorde. The additional time they gained by using a much faster plane was more valuable to them than the extra money they had to spend on Concorde tickets. Except ... HSR isn't faster than planes, and it isn't cheaper either. For someone whose time is literally money, the train won't be the most attractive choice.
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:33 PM   #103
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The taxpayer would benefit much more from repairing and maintaining our bridges and highways.
Maintaining is different from adding. We spend a ton of money on adding highway lanes, bridges, and access points. Often as a way of reducing traffic. Rather than do that, why not instead invest in a rail that reduces need to use highways, which reduces congestion?
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:44 PM   #104
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Very good post. The problem is it focuses on flight time gate to gate. It does not factor check in, check out, wait at the gate, wait between transfers, higher likelihood of delay, massive luggage limits, baggage retrieval, or inconvenience of standing in line or not having wireless or cell phone access which from a business perspective,matters because employees are getting paid to essential stand in line or sit at the gate and do no work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Taco John View Post
Interesting post on this:
I know that high-speed rail is one of Reddit's big collective "things," and there was a time where I thought it would be a good idea for the States.
However, the more I look into it, the more that HSR looks an awful lot like a modern Concorde. In other words, it's a prestige project that costs a metric ass-ton of taxpayer money in return for a fabulous technological achievement that ... mostly benefits the wealthy and/or the privileged. Yay.
Once you look closely at HSR across the world, there are a few troubling commonalities that emerge:
  • It isn't a popular commuter's solution. The problem with getting to work is that you've gotta do it every day, and high-speed rail tickets are almost universally expensive. Even in places where they're heavily subsidized, it's not the kind of expense that most people can shrug off. To put it this way, average commuters to NYC from New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut suburbs will pay between $5-20 on a conventional rail ticket every day depending on their proximity to the city. By contrast, an Acela ticket is $70 from New Haven, the closest possible commuting city from New York. Assuming you go to work 5 days a week, and let's knock 2 weeks off the year for vacation, you are going to spend $17,500 per year just to get to work.

Or not. Nobody except the trust-fund set is ever going to drop that much money for a marginally faster ride to work.

Now, you can subsidize the tickets, but there isn't a government on the planet that has the resources to make HSR cheaper than regular rail tickets. (Or, if there is, I haven't found it.) Or you can encourage companies to pay for their employees' tickets, which is what a lot of Japanese companies do. Except they pass that cost along to consumers -- they have to -- and that's sure as hell not helping Tokyo's already-astronomical cost of living and the barrier to entry it presents to its already-dwindling number of young people.
Bottom line: There is no free lunch.
  • It isn't really a long-distance solution either. The longer the journey, the greater the likelihood that airplanes are faster and more economically efficient. The northeast corridor (between Boston and D.C.) is typically cited as the area of the U.S. most suited to a HSR network, which is true, but even here we run into distance problems. A flight between Boston and D.C. is 45 minutes and (with a glance at Kayak) costs $121 on average. The fastest train currently in regular service (the Chinese CRH380A) could manage that in roughly 3 hours assuming it went maximum speed immediately on leaving the station in Boston and made absolutely no stops at all on its way to Washington. I don't think that's technologically feasible any more than it's economically wise.

Additionally, looking at Acela tickets, there's a range of $170 to $250 while taking approximately 6 hours to cover the same distance. In the U.S., the plane is going to win every time.

Now, there's a strong case to be made that the anemic U.S. support for HSR is what's keeping services like the Acela from reaching their true potential, so let's look elsewhere. London to Paris by flight will run you 1 hour and 15 minutes and (depending on the day) $100-$150. The Eurostar is 2 hours and 15-30 minutes (depending on the train and the number of stops) and, averaging the fares together and using the current exchange rate, $210. In the interest of accuracy, it's possible to get a standard (i.e. non-business class) Eurostar fare at a rate competitive with flights at off-peak times while booking at least a month ahead, but you can just as easily get a plane ticket for the same cost and less time.

London to Paris should be the poster child for the "sweet spot" where HSR is competitive with flight, but even here, you have to struggle to create the circumstances in which HSR is more efficient than a plane. And it's still not! You can book months in advance and pick the most off-peak time you can find, but you'll still find a flight on that same day for the same or less money that gets you to Paris an hour faster. The British government has had to bail out Eurostar[1] previously, and ridership is 60% less than predicted from 2006 to present.

Why? I suspect because, for most people, time is less important than money, and you cannot convince them to spend more in return for less. More on this in a moment.
  • It also isn't a short-distance solution. The shorter the distance, the greater the likelihood that conventional rail is more efficient ... which kind of dumps us back at the reason why HSR is a poor commuter's solution. Any engineer could tell you that using HSR to go, say, 5 miles is a waste of time unless it's going to be used constantly to satisfy high demand from either people or freight. The closest model to this is Shanghai's maglev running between the airport and the city center, except ... well, this still isn't turning a profit. The technology has turned out to be substantially more expensive to keep running than they anticipated.

So who actually uses HSR?

"So who's going to use it?" is a vitally important question to ask of any addition or improvement to be made to a country's transportation infrastructure. People who tend to use HSR around the globe fall into pretty distinct groups:
  • Tourists "Yay, let's ride the trains! Wait, they cost how much? **** that, we'll take the plane next time." Most non-European tourists are already spending a small fortune on plane tickets to get there in the first place, and then more on hotels and food. Europe is a hideously expensive place to start with, and spending extra just to get around the continent isn't in most peoples' budgets.
  • Students "I don't own a car. Subsidized train tickets! Wheeee!" Trains are indeed very nice for students, who typically don't own cars and are entitled to reduced-price tickets in most countries. But you'll have to turn 26 sometime, at which point the gravy train (high speed or otherwise) stops. On a depressing note, young people are also a shrinking percentage of the population in every western European country.
  • Business people on the relatively few lines where HSR can beat or approximate plane times "My company's paying for this. Bring me another truffle, peon." As stated earlier, whether HSR can "beat" a plane is a pretty iffy matter in the first place. A lot of its attractiveness depends on the lengthy check-in, security, and boarding procedures needed to use planes. The longer the distance, the more that HSR's advantage starts to vanish, and the less you can justify scheduling meetings or whatever at odd times to justify using the trains.
  • Travelers who really hate flying Unfortunately for HSR's bottom line, there aren't too many of these around.
  • Rich people who like trains Unfortunately, not too many of these around, either. And for most rich people, there's a point at which their time is significantly more valuable than money, which was actually the attraction of the Concorde. The additional time they gained by using a much faster plane was more valuable to them than the extra money they had to spend on Concorde tickets. Except ... HSR isn't faster than planes, and it isn't cheaper either. For someone whose time is literally money, the train won't be the most attractive choice.
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:47 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by chiefzilla1501 View Post
Maintaining is different from adding. We spend a ton of money on adding highway lanes, bridges, and access points. Often as a way of reducing traffic. Rather than do that, why not instead invest in a rail that reduces need to use highways, which reduces congestion?
I do not believe that building said rail would reduce the need to use highways, or reduce congestion in any meaningful way.
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