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(Telegraph)   Japan unveils new maglev train capable of speeds in excess of 300mph. America's only high speed train capable of 1/3 that speed, but hey America is going to build a true high speed train any day now.....any day   (telegraph.co.uk) divider line 121
    More: Cool, magnetic levitation, Nagoya, high-speed trains, Japan  
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2045 clicks; posted to Geek » on 27 Nov 2012 at 4:49 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-27 08:15:42 AM

foo monkey: It would still take three hours because it would stop twenty times. I love the acela, but it's not much faster than the normal train.


The Taiwan HSR has parallel tracks so you can have trains that don't stop at every station. Most trains stop at all stops, but if you want to go from Taipei (in the north) to Kaoshiung (south), you can get on a direct train that takes way less time.
 
2012-11-27 08:18:55 AM

scanman61: If you're going to write a post supporting massive gov't funded transportation projects, the one word you must avoid using in your post is "Boston".


Because what? Because some governments are corrupt and inefficient? That's one thing I don't get about America. We endure mediocrity from sports teams in the hopes they'll eventually improve. We dismiss business failures all the time. When it comes to government or individuals, though, we claim to have low expectations but demand absolute perfection. The MBTA sucks. Hiding that fact isn't going to change reality, and if I don't bring it up then someone else will. If anything, I'm a strong advocate of public transportation because Boston's MBTA sucks. It's about as badly run as any system could be, yet in spite of all its problems the extent to which commuters rely on it is visibly obvious. This shiat is too damn important to get complacent about, as energy independence is rapidly turning into a security issue. Yet for new ideas, if the slightest thing goes wrong the public's first instinct isn't to fix it but to give up.

Japan isn't some public transportation never-never land either. Every Fark thread has some idiot who thinks cutting high-speed rail through Japan's mountains is a piece of cake because (god this is so bizarre) running rail across thousands of miles of uber-flat farmland is somehow harder. JR almost went bankrupt building up the Shinkansen. They had horrible corruption issues within JR, and as a result it was eventually broken up and privatized. Didn't cause people to give up on trains altogether. If there's a difference, the effort Japan put into its rails despite all the corruption and cost overruns was matched by Boston's dedication to the Big Dig -- a highway project.

Boston is, if anything, a teachable moment. Somehow, a single city put up with a 25-year project costing $15 billion (and continues to bleed money to this day) to ease auto congestion in a major urban area. There was a lot of eye-rolling and grumbling, but it got done. The subway, meanwhile, is largely unchanged from its original 100-year-old rails. Obviously, failure of government, limited resources or short-term thinking doesn't stop us from throwing mountains of money at inefficient transportation as long as it's not public.
 
2012-11-27 08:21:36 AM

dragonchild: Because what?


Very well said.
 
2012-11-27 08:22:06 AM

Enemabag Jones: Driving sucks.

If anyone has ever lived in a large city with good public transit, cars suck.


I'll keep living in the suburbs. Thanks, anyway.
 
2012-11-27 08:28:09 AM
Hey, Illinois is proud of 1/3 that speed available in a few years. Yeah, innovation is really not one of our stronger talents.
 
2012-11-27 08:38:16 AM
If we get high speed rail in the US, does it come with TSA anal rapings?
 
2012-11-27 08:39:03 AM

Lsherm: None of Japan's HSR lines are self-sufficient. So someone tell me what program we should cut to support a 300 mph line. We can't even support regular rail speeds without a subsidy.

Republicans: we have to raise taxes for this. Democrats: we have to cut other services for this.

Americans: is this a good use of our money?


The average American thinks the highway system is self-sufficient. This person and people like him are why we do not have a modern transportation system.
 
2012-11-27 08:40:20 AM

Shadowknight: I would imagine it would be a hell of a lot less of a worry, though. It's not like you're going to hijack a train and crash it into a building. At worst, the people on the train are at risk, but since there isn't a worry of using the train itself as a weapon like a jumbo jet full of fuel has with it.


They screen for bombs and weapons on ships because terrorism still likes mass casualties even if they're just the ones on a transport. See Pan Am bombing... See Achille Lauro hijacking.
 
2012-11-27 08:40:51 AM

pkellmey: Yeah, innovation is really not one of our stronger talents.


We still lead the world in innovation. The problem is teabagger bullshiat where we want something for nothing from government whereas investment in public transportation is heavily front-loaded. The Internet is a great example of technology first built up with government resources; eventually it was handed off to private businesses that continue to improve delivery. Same with GPS. We almost have to trick the public into funding government innovation, namely by turning the DoD into a huge slush fund for experimental infrastructure projects. Nuclear power is used extensively by the Navy, for example, while we still mostly use coal & gas for private electricity demand. But it's kind of hard to hide something like high-speed rail because of all the eminent domain issues involved.

I guess the only way high-speed rail gets built is if we first use it to move around soldiers.
 
2012-11-27 08:41:08 AM

dragonchild: It's actually harder to build high-speed rail in Japan because the whole country is mountainous. The Shinkansen goes through an awful lot of tunnels because the rail needs to be relatively straight so just going around a mountainside and blasting it level isn't an option. The #1 reason why America can't build high-speed rail is actually corruption. The auto industry's a dinosaur, but they've still got the public by the balls so there's no political pressure to clean up the transportation department. Even here in Boston where the T is heavily relied on by commuters, the MBTA is a dumping ground of unelected croneys and bad debt.


America was at one point a world leader in light rail with a system that was often the envy of lots of European countries. Then came GM and Standard Oil who bought up all the light rail lines and put them out of business. LA's public transport system was better 100 years ago than it is today thanks to GM.

Just look at how successful the Madrid to Barcalona line is doing in Spain. You can start your day in Madrid, get a train within walking distance of your office, have meetings in Barcalona and be back in Madrid before leaving time. The same for London-Paris, Munich-Berlin etc. Do the same between Boston, NY, DC, Philly etc.

But then the Airlines would get out their chequebooks and try and stop it even though it would be good for America.
 
2012-11-27 08:49:18 AM

dragonchild: Lsherm: So someone tell me what program we should cut to support a 300 mph line.

It would come out of the DOT budget -- less money for highways. We've got commuters jamming 6-lane highways in rush hour, all going in the same direction. That's way too much money going toward a particularly inefficient mode of transportation. The problem with high speed rail isn't the viability so much as the scale. You can't dink-n'-dunk a project like this. It's controversial, but high-speed rail should really go straight through the hearts of major urban areas, be implemented on a massive scale and (here's the hard part) politically supported at the expense of other transportation programs, not compete with them. Any piecemeal, short-term approach is doomed to fail, which suits the politicians just fine. They can shiat all over the project and then blame the public for not buying in.

ShawnDoc: Because Japan and America are exactly the same in geography and population density.

It's actually harder to build high-speed rail in Japan because the whole country is mountainous. The Shinkansen goes through an awful lot of tunnels because the rail needs to be relatively straight so just going around a mountainside and blasting it level isn't an option. The #1 reason why America can't build high-speed rail is actually corruption. The auto industry's a dinosaur, but they've still got the public by the balls so there's no political pressure to clean up the transportation department. Even here in Boston where the T is heavily relied on by commuters, the MBTA is a dumping ground of unelected croneys and bad debt.


I'd love to see massive investment into producing the worlds' greatest mass transit system here in America. Among the measures I'd have enacted or at least considered, would be government supplied seed money to start-up production facilities so that trains could be built here. Maybe in the rust belt? I'd like construction of the system to be part of a massive veterans work corp. End the wars, bring our people home, and shift them directly into highly constructive work building Americas' new transit system among other projects. I'd like to see, as a first stage of construction, Americas' most populous cities connected. No, Amtrak style meandering through the countryside because that's the way old, white people like to vacation style boondoggle. It would be about moving people between business and political centers super fast and with great efficiency. Later stages might, for instance, loop in the nations' largest military bases, universities, and health research centers. I suppose eventually you'd have to include every state capital or hear no end to the whining out of states like Wyoming.
 
2012-11-27 08:51:42 AM

digistil: To follow up on my own post, it looks like European high speed rail operates with a very slight profit (~$35M last year), if the UK's service is anything to go by.

Source


i truly think that is irrelevant. I will argue over whether a mass transit system is profitable when our highway system turns a profit.
 
2012-11-27 08:54:40 AM

Mr. Shabooboo: One big problem is that the Amtrak system only borrows track, they don't "own" it.


That's why we need a veterans' work corp laying new track where required. In some areas, there should be double track so that one train can run non-stop between major destinations while another stops at every town large enough to have a single Dairy Queen.
 
2012-11-27 08:55:13 AM

Lsherm: None of Japan's HSR lines are self-sufficient. So someone tell me what program we should cut to support a 300 mph line. We can't even support regular rail speeds without a subsidy.

Republicans: we have to raise taxes for this. Democrats: we have to cut other services for this.

Americans: is this a good use of our money?


It's a better use of money than half the defense budget.

The problem with building rail once demand has been created is that by then towns and cities have been built for cars as the primary mode of transportation. Retail ends up in strip malls surrounded by giant car parks, Offices end up in low rise low density office parks dotted along highways and residential ends up as suburban sprawl, often even without sidewalks. All this makes eventual transition to mass transit much more difficult and much more expensive.

When you build rail ahead of development the development that follows gears itself towards mass transit. Of course the lack of good mass transit in many metro areas makes high speed rail considerably less useful - a good start to preparing for the eventual switch would be to actually invest in transport system in major cities and then go to construct high speed rail, relying on ordinary speed rail between cities in the meantime.
 
2012-11-27 09:01:56 AM
Lsherm:
None of Japan's HSR lines are self-sufficient.

DarnoKonrad:
I haven't found any evidence of that

Something to remember when looking at Japan's rail "profits": they're paying off a severely reduced debt from the second time they went broke (yes, they've basically done so twice in the last half-century). The only reason they make a profit now is that they didn't have to pay off the massive amount of money they lost from their initial land purchases. (It's a lot more complicated than this - there are multiple holding companies involved, but the result is still "Japan lost a huge pile of money on Shinkansen and wrote it off")

It's easy to pay off a debt when 2/3 of it is wiped out. It gets easier when the government makes it illegal for the airlines to compete with your trains on their highest-profit routes.

Europe has a similar situation - they got a lot of land for the French rail system on the cheap after WWII, took a lot more with (effectively) eminent domain, and they keep airlines from directly competing with TGV (limiting schedules and the like). Even with that, they've been a money-losing proposition for years - the reason they currently "make money" is freight haulage on their non-high-speed tracks... and selling TVG tech and holiday booking scheduling software to other countries. The high speed lines don't actually make money by themselves.
 
2012-11-27 09:02:06 AM

Lt_Ryan: endangered dwarf 2 toed red eared frog from in a creek the tracks will cross.


There's no reason our new mass transit system can't be environmentally friendly. Done right, it could be much more environmentally friendly than the system of roadways we currently have. Elevate the track above that creek with the red eared from. In other areas, have our hypothetical veterans' work corp build a tunnel or fake hill which serves as a dedicated wildlife crossing. In some cases, it might be possible to create wildlife underpasses as well. Similar accommodations might be made for automobiles and/or pedestrians.

While we're at it, let's acquire narrow strips of land, running along waterways or flood zones if possible, that connect the various federal and state wildlife parks. Designate them federal wildlife transit zones. Restrict construction around these areas and require that any transit, be it a road, a train, or something else all together, that crosses these zones; is constructed in a way to allow the free, unendangered passage of wildlife.
 
2012-11-27 09:07:49 AM

dragonchild: pkellmey: Yeah, innovation is really not one of our stronger talents.

We still lead the world in innovation. The problem is teabagger bullshiat where we want something for nothing from government whereas investment in public transportation is heavily front-loaded. The Internet is a great example of technology first built up with government resources; eventually it was handed off to private businesses that continue to improve delivery. Same with GPS. We almost have to trick the public into funding government innovation, namely by turning the DoD into a huge slush fund for experimental infrastructure projects. Nuclear power is used extensively by the Navy, for example, while we still mostly use coal & gas for private electricity demand. But it's kind of hard to hide something like high-speed rail because of all the eminent domain issues involved.

I guess the only way high-speed rail gets built is if we first use it to move around soldiers.


Yes, I should amend my suggestion of a first construction phase connecting the 100 most populous cities to a first construction phase that connects the 100 largest military bases. Then it would be unpatriotic to oppose high-speed rail.
 
2012-11-27 09:11:23 AM

Norfolking Chance: dragonchild: It's actually harder to build high-speed rail in Japan because the whole country is mountainous. The Shinkansen goes through an awful lot of tunnels because the rail needs to be relatively straight so just going around a mountainside and blasting it level isn't an option. The #1 reason why America can't build high-speed rail is actually corruption. The auto industry's a dinosaur, but they've still got the public by the balls so there's no political pressure to clean up the transportation department. Even here in Boston where the T is heavily relied on by commuters, the MBTA is a dumping ground of unelected croneys and bad debt.

America was at one point a world leader in light rail with a system that was often the envy of lots of European countries. Then came GM and Standard Oil who bought up all the light rail lines and put them out of business. LA's public transport system was better 100 years ago than it is today thanks to GM.

Just look at how successful the Madrid to Barcalona line is doing in Spain. You can start your day in Madrid, get a train within walking distance of your office, have meetings in Barcalona and be back in Madrid before leaving time. The same for London-Paris, Munich-Berlin etc. Do the same between Boston, NY, DC, Philly etc.

But then the Airlines would get out their chequebooks and try and stop it even though it would be good for America.


You describe one of the reasons I was bitter about GM being bailed out for a second time in my lifetime. I do agree that as many jobs should have been saved as possible. In an ideal world, all company executives and stockholders would have been cut out with no compensation and full ownership of the company and all its' assets would have been assigned to GMs' domestic workers with value being equally distributed among them.
 
2012-11-27 09:13:52 AM

cirby: The high speed lines don't actually make money by themselves.


Again, get back to me when our roads and highways make money by themselves.
 
2012-11-27 09:17:20 AM

cirby: The high speed lines don't actually make money by themselves.


THEY'RE NOT THERE TO MAKE MONEY!

What's so hard to grasp that the point of infrastructure isn't to turn a dime, it's to get dimes to places where they can turn freely.

If I can take a shinkansen instead of a plane, I will. I'll even pay more to avoid airports. Bonus: the shinkansen comes to the same train stations as the local train, serves beer en route, and is just about superior in every way to planes except a few minutes' time difference over most medium distances.

It would be worth a loss each year to have it in place.
 
2012-11-27 09:30:15 AM
Lunaville:
Again, get back to me when our roads and highways make money by themselves.

They do. They're paid for by fuel taxes and usage fees. The surplus pays for things like mass transit subsidies.

Didn't you know this?

Some jurisdictions have additional taxes they threw in to "pay for roads," but there's more than enough brought in from direct taxes and fees to pay for the whole system. The big problem is from politicians shifting money from the highway budgets to pay for other things - like local bus service and Amtrak. This leads to new taxes to "pay for roads" that should have been paid for in the first place.
 
2012-11-27 09:39:12 AM
The distances and density in Japan work far better than they do in the states where it makes it more practical. Comparing Japan to the US is essentially comparing the Northeast Corridor, between Boston and DC.

Guess what, we have high speed rail there, and it actually makes a profit. It would be nice if it was a little faster, sure, but I'm not going to pay an extra $100 a ticket to shave an hour off my train ride to boston or DC. There are few other places where you would be able to compete with air travel unless you got your train speeds up to airplane speeds.
 
2012-11-27 09:45:08 AM

cirby: Lunaville:
Again, get back to me when our roads and highways make money by themselves.

They do. They're paid for by fuel taxes and usage fees. The surplus pays for things like mass transit subsidies.

Didn't you know this?

Some jurisdictions have additional taxes they threw in to "pay for roads," but there's more than enough brought in from direct taxes and fees to pay for the whole system. The big problem is from politicians shifting money from the highway budgets to pay for other things - like local bus service and Amtrak. This leads to new taxes to "pay for roads" that should have been paid for in the first place.


The Highway Trust Fund has run a shortfall of $35B over the previous three years. No matter how you parse it, the fuel taxes and user fees are not sufficient to keep the road system self-sustaining.
 
2012-11-27 09:46:28 AM

cirby: Lunaville:
Again, get back to me when our roads and highways make money by themselves.

They do. They're paid for by fuel taxes and usage fees. The surplus pays for things like mass transit subsidies.

Didn't you know this?

Some jurisdictions have additional taxes they threw in to "pay for roads," but there's more than enough brought in from direct taxes and fees to pay for the whole system. The big problem is from politicians shifting money from the highway budgets to pay for other things - like local bus service and Amtrak. This leads to new taxes to "pay for roads" that should have been paid for in the first place.


Please, someone, who is calmer and more patient than me, jump in here and deal with this statement.
 
2012-11-27 09:46:48 AM

Moopy Mac: cirby: Lunaville:
Again, get back to me when our roads and highways make money by themselves.

They do. They're paid for by fuel taxes and usage fees. The surplus pays for things like mass transit subsidies.

Didn't you know this?

Some jurisdictions have additional taxes they threw in to "pay for roads," but there's more than enough brought in from direct taxes and fees to pay for the whole system. The big problem is from politicians shifting money from the highway budgets to pay for other things - like local bus service and Amtrak. This leads to new taxes to "pay for roads" that should have been paid for in the first place.

The Highway Trust Fund has run a shortfall of $35B over the previous three years. No matter how you parse it, the fuel taxes and user fees are not sufficient to keep the road system self-sustaining.


That $35B was actually for 2008-2010. So it was probably even higher after 2011-2012.
 
2012-11-27 09:55:07 AM
They should use Rearden Steel

pileusblog.files.wordpress.com
 
2012-11-27 09:55:49 AM

dragonchild: it's kind of hard to hide something like high-speed rail because of all the eminent domain issues involved.


The eminent domain issues could be minimized by paralleling and/or piggybacking on the interstate system. The interstates already connect the 100 largest cities (as another farker suggested) and the land is already owned and maintained by governments. Things only get tight when you get inside the major cities.
 
2012-11-27 09:59:49 AM

Muta: foo monkey: It would still take three hours because it would stop twenty times. I love the acela, but it's not much faster than the normal train.

Stops between Detroit and Chicago add about an hour to the trip compared to driving. I think there are 12 stops. The additional hour for travel is FAR less of an inconvenience than driving in Chicago and paying for parking. I wish there were a line that went east out of Detroit.


You can drive on down to Toledo for that.
 
2012-11-27 10:00:42 AM
As long as the TSA is not involved, count me in.
 
2012-11-27 10:09:50 AM
Moopy Mac:
The Highway Trust Fund has run a shortfall of $35B over the previous three years. No matter how you parse it, the fuel taxes and user fees are not sufficient to keep the road system self-sustaining.

...except you missed the part where the Highway Trust Fund isn't just paying for highways and roads (I did mention that). Take the billions of dollars in public transportation and other non-highway expenditures out of it (including a huge chunk for "deficit reduction" that I didn't mention), and it has a large surplus, year after year.
 
2012-11-27 10:13:09 AM

LineNoise: There are few other places where you would be able to compete with air travel unless you got your train speeds up to airplane speeds.


I disagree. You need to commuting to the airport (which are usually on the outskirts of major cities), going through security, and getting out of the airport to your destination, when weighing the value of rail. It is easier for rail hubs to be built in population centers so commuting times can to and from the hub are reduced. Security concerns are fewer for rail as well. A one hour flight turns into a 3 hour event. Any flight of about 1 to 1.5 hours would be more efficiently handled by rail. From Detroit (where I live) that means to Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Columbus, Cincinnati and St. Louis would be reasonable destinations by rail if done right.
 
2012-11-27 10:21:16 AM

Generation_D: Triumph: Fark Me To Tears: The last thing I think we need right now is an overly expensive high-speed train that no one is going to use.

If the economics ever make sense, it will get built, but they don't make sense yet. If you could take a train from DC to central Manhattan in an hour, it's hard to see why anyone of means would opt for the airport or the roads. The problem is one of insufficient capacity in the system to get prices to a level that could recoup investment, not demand. My guess is you could sell maglev tickets at 1.5 times airfare and still handily win the demand war. But that price point is probably still way too low.

Or the problem is we don't have actual socialist governments, as most of northern europe and japan, who just invest in things like this for the betterment of the public and the common good. Sure they give a sweetheart deal to vendors who deliver it, but thats true of building more roads or putting in another runway at the airports, too.

The main reason we are so ass backward in America is we're full of right wing idiots and we let them set the agenda for progress.

America lost its way around 1980 on this one, and has never looked at fixing it, not yet.

The Northeast Corridor already has population base equal or greater to what Japan had when it installed its original bullet trains. Somehow doing that didn't hurt Japan's auto industry. But lordy be, you try that stuff here, you got lobbyist screaming and derp media screaming.


================

Japan currently has a population density of 840 people per square mile. New Jersey has a population density of 1,190 per square mile. The population density on the Boston to DC corridor is at least as high, if not higher, than in Japan. The Acela has proven that people will use rail if it's reasonably fast and efficient, and the Acela wouldn't even qualify as high speed rail in any country outside the US. Wanna see a high speed rail line become a success in the USA? Build a true high speed line from Boston to DC and watch as people line up at the stations.
 
2012-11-27 10:24:21 AM

LazarusLong42: Muta: Stops between Detroit and Chicago add about an hour to the trip compared to driving. I think there are 12 stops. The additional hour for travel is FAR less of an inconvenience than driving in Chicago and paying for parking. I wish there were a line that went east out of Detroit.

You can drive on down to Toledo for that.


True, but then you have to drive to Toledo ;)

Seriously, the drive from some of the northern suburbs to Toledo takes you past major centers like Detroit and Dearborn or Ann Arbor if you are more to the west. It is absurd to drive past those stations to get to a station that goes in the direction you want.

Side note -- it is also absurd that there's no train stop at Detroit Metro Airport. I'd gladly pay $5/person to take the train to the airport instead of paying to park my car there.
 
2012-11-27 10:26:03 AM
Lunaville:
Please, someone, who is calmer and more patient than me, jump in here and deal with this statement.

Don't worry - they can't, without ignoring a big chunk of inconvenient reality.

One of the big non-secrets of highway funding is how the huge amount of gas taxes and user fees (which are, in theory, supposed to only pay for roads and highways) have been shunted into a whole lot of other things. Like mass transit and "deficit reduction" (ha).

You're paying about 50 cents per gallon in gas taxes. More in vehicle registration. Even more in costs due to transport (user fees for trucks). These are all - ALL - supposed to pay for the road infrastructure. Only. Due to political wrangling, however, much of it gets shunted into various pet projects that do NOT have any direct relation to highway and road maintenance and construction.

The original Federal gas tax - something like three cents per gallon, but vastly expanded over the decades - paid for pretty much the entire Interstate highway system.  Local and state gas and usage taxes are more than enough to pay for local roads. It's a LOT of money, and the politicians couldn't just leave it alone, or reduce the taxes to only pay for what it was originally intended to pay for.

Think about it - Federal and state fuel taxes alone are (on average) at least a dollar per American, per DAY (cars, freight trucks, et cetera). More than two billion dollars per week. You think highway and road maintenance and new construction cost more than a hundred billion per year?
 
2012-11-27 10:31:08 AM

cirby: They do. They're paid for by fuel taxes and usage fees.


So we collect taxes to pay for the roads, and this somehow translates to the roads paying for themselves. Got it.

LineNoise: Comparing Japan to the US is essentially comparing the Northeast Corridor, between Boston and DC. Guess what, we have high speed rail there, and it actually makes a profit.


I don't see how this comparison makes high speed rail irrelevant. No one's advocating we put down high-speed rail to connect Little Rock and Boise. Chicago-Indianapolis-Columbus-Pittsburgh-Washington is probably viable, meeting Acela at D.C. and criss-crossing branch-offs to Cinci, Cleveland and some economically relevant part of SE Michigan, maybe Ann Arbor.

LineNoise: There are few other places where you would be able to compete with air travel unless you got your train speeds up to airplane speeds.


Over what distance, end to end?? No one in Japan, to my knowledge, takes the train to cross the entire length of the country north-south. The rails go that distance, but they're used for 300-, 400- mile hops where driving is an unproductive use of worker stamina and planes are slower when airport time is factored in. If the above line is hypothetically built; you'd have to be a moron to use it to get from Chicago to NYC. OTOH, a lot of business traffic already goes to and from Columbus and Chicago, where driving is ghastly and flying is basically losing half a day in a cramped three-wide fuselage to spend 1 hour in the air. The train wouldn't be much faster but it's less prone to cancellations and you don't need to check your luggage.
 
2012-11-27 10:49:11 AM
I guess this means that every state will now be a blue state.
 
2012-11-27 10:56:13 AM
Fissile:
Japan currently has a population density of 840 people per square mile. New Jersey has a population density of 1,190 per square mile. The population density on the Boston to DC corridor is at least as high, if not higher, than in Japan.

You did some apples-to-oranges stuff there.

Japan (outside of the megalopolises) is fairly sparse in population. The thing about Japan's high speed rail lines is that they connect a few very, VERY large and dense cities that have few road or air options for intercity travel. The Boston-New York-Washington corridor is dense for a US area (931 per square mile), but is effectively a ghost town when compared to the Tokyo-Osaka line (which represents almost half of the total ridership of the Shinkansen system), which has large areas with 30,000+ per square mile...

Remember - Japan is approximately the size of California - with three and a half times the population. Even more so, due to Japan's more-mountainous landscape, that population is pushed to the coasts. That gives you a series of huge, dense population centers, fairly close together, with relatively flat areas in between.

The US is much different. Even our metropolises - Boston, New York, Washington - are relatively spread out, with "metro populations" extending up to 100 miles from city centers. Once you have to take more than an hour just to get to the city center, single train links between cities aren't as effective. Only about twenty percent of the BosNYWash corridor is truly in the high speed rail ridership zone.

The higher-speed Amtrak line that runs from Boston to Washington is a special case. It's better than flying (for many), but if you took out its subsidy (basically, each ticket is more than 100% matched by Federal subsidies, so they're twice as expensive as they seem), ridership would drop like a rock. 

The last thing to consider is... the Internet. People don't need to travel to big cities as much, and we're starting to realize that. For a long time, a high portion of intercity travel was done for business, and a lot of that is going away. Even casual travel is getting away from "going to the big city to shop" because of Internet sales. People are heading to smaller, more-diverse destinations, and concentrated high speed rail is in exactly the opposite direction of that. Look more to small airports with more-efficient commuter-type jets and prop planes. For that, we need to spend money on better air traffic control, not trains that will go to the same places airlines go already.
 
2012-11-27 10:59:45 AM
dragonchild:
So we collect taxes to pay for the roads, and this somehow translates to the roads paying for themselves. Got it.

Yes, since the road taxes are paid by - wait for it - THE PEOPLE USING THE ROADS.

Amazing how that works out.
 
2012-11-27 11:03:53 AM

Mrbogey: Shadowknight: I would imagine it would be a hell of a lot less of a worry, though. It's not like you're going to hijack a train and crash it into a building. At worst, the people on the train are at risk, but since there isn't a worry of using the train itself as a weapon like a jumbo jet full of fuel has with it.

They screen for bombs and weapons on ships because terrorism still likes mass casualties even if they're just the ones on a transport. See Pan Am bombing... See Achille Lauro hijacking.


I don't expect no inspection. But an x-ray of your bag and a metal detector would be plenty.
 
2012-11-27 11:13:02 AM
"The Hyperloop is the code name for [Elon Musk's] plan to disrupt the transportation industry, and maybe to hedge his bets on Tesla (which attempts to do the same in a less revolutionary way), and because of the lack of details speculation runs rampant about what it could be."

Link
 
2012-11-27 11:46:07 AM

cirby: The last thing to consider is... the Internet.


I think this is by far the largest impact, especially for businesses. I know from several large corporations I've worked with, after the flight issues with TSA security problems, flight cancellations and delays, most large corporations which used to make daily flights to most cities practical, have turned to digital alternatives and like really the change. Now, those flights are no longer being scheduled due to loss of demand. I only see this trend increasing in the future as teleconferences become more frequent. That should really affect the declining requirements for travel between cities in the future.
 
2012-11-27 11:50:40 AM

cirby: The US is much different. Even our metropolises - Boston, New York, Washington - are relatively spread out, with "metro populations" extending up to 100 miles from city centers. Once you have to take more than an hour just to get to the city center, single train links between cities aren't as effective. Only about twenty percent of the BosNYWash corridor is truly in the high speed rail ridership zone.


This is why we rely on much more profitable forms of transportation like private run airlines and automobiles. Because we've never had to sustain them with taxpayer money, and they always pay their debts.
 
2012-11-27 11:55:58 AM

pkellmey: I think this is by far the largest impact, especially for businesses. I know from several large corporations I've worked with, after the flight issues with TSA security problems, flight cancellations and delays, most large corporations which used to make daily flights to most cities practical, have turned to digital alternatives and like really the change. Now, those flights are no longer being scheduled due to loss of demand. I only see this trend increasing in the future as teleconferences become more frequent. That should really affect the declining requirements for travel between cities in the future.


I'll see your anecdotal experiences and raise you mine .... that being that the internet has done fark all for alleviating traffic congestion in any of America's major metropolitans, and generally every airplane I've been on in the last 5 years has been completely booked (typically overbooked).
 
2012-11-27 12:02:28 PM

InmanRoshi: pkellmey: I think this is by far the largest impact, especially for businesses. I know from several large corporations I've worked with, after the flight issues with TSA security problems, flight cancellations and delays, most large corporations which used to make daily flights to most cities practical, have turned to digital alternatives and like really the change. Now, those flights are no longer being scheduled due to loss of demand. I only see this trend increasing in the future as teleconferences become more frequent. That should really affect the declining requirements for travel between cities in the future.

I'll see your anecdotal experiences and raise you mine .... that being that the internet has done fark all for alleviating traffic congestion in any of America's major metropolitans, and generally every airplane I've been on in the last 5 years has been completely booked (typically overbooked).


Actually, that fits the discussion. Only those flights that have heavy usage (makes sense economically) are still being scheduled. A lot of the daily flights are no longer available because they no longer make sense economically.
 
2012-11-27 12:05:01 PM

Fark Me To Tears: Lsherm: Americans: is this a good use of our money?

I would be thrilled if they would fix the damned potholes and bumps on the roads, so that my 15 year-old car can last a little bit longer. The last thing I think we need right now is an overly expensive high-speed train that no one is going to use.

But that's just me.


No one would use? A HSR system connecting Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin would get used a WHOLE LOT. The thing that doesn't make much sense is when we talk about public transportation in large urban sprawls. No matter how much public transportation you put in it doesn't change the fact you still need a car or personal vehicle in most cases.
 
2012-11-27 12:14:02 PM

dragonchild: ShawnDoc: Because Japan and America are exactly the same in geography and population density.

It's actually harder to build high-speed rail in Japan because the whole country is mountainous. The Shinkansen goes through an awful lot of tunnels because the rail needs to be relatively straight so just going around a mountainside and blasting it level isn't an option. The #1 reason why America can't build high-speed rail is actually corruption. The auto industry's a dinosaur, but they've still got the public by the balls so there's no political pressure to clean up the transportation department. Even here in Boston where the T is heavily relied on by commuters, the MBTA is a dumping ground of unelected croneys and bad debt.



the mountainous terrain is what makes high speed rail logical in japan.
there wasn't much room flat room to build on, so the population is concentrated in massively dense cities on the coasts, all fairly close to one another, that all happen to be in a line. a megalopolis. 20% of the nations entire population is in Tokyo alone. that would be like NY city with a population of 64 million. plus they purchased a lot of the right of ways in the 1950-60s.



we need electric cars that drop you off at your destination, and trains for cargo.
 
2012-11-27 12:14:44 PM

pkellmey: Actually, that fits the discussion. Only those flights that have heavy usage (makes sense economically) are still being scheduled. A lot of the daily flights are no longer available because they no longer make sense economically.


Exactly. If you're based in Chicago and you're meeting suits from Dallas you very well might book a flight, but if the businesses aren't located in major airline hubs, the video conference is an attractive alternative to wasting two full days just for travel.
 
2012-11-27 12:16:01 PM
3.bp.blogspot.com
 
2012-11-27 12:31:49 PM

Fissile: Japan currently has a population density of 840 people per square mile. New Jersey has a population density of 1,190 per square mile. The population density on the Boston to DC corridor is at least as high, if not higher, than in Japan.


20% of the u.s. population doesn't live in newark. 85% of the u.s. population doesn't live in the northeast corridor.
the problem is you are using a train line in another country that serves the vast majority of an entire nation as an analogy because what you want this nation to subsidize your regional solution to a regional problem.
 
2012-11-27 12:40:27 PM
and I'm not gonna even look in your profile,
but what are the odds you are in a location that would be well served by a federal grant of say 50 billion for high speed rail in the northeast corridor instead in another part of the country where 85% of u.s. citizens reside?
 
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