Interstate High Speed Rail Competitors

Global Economic Competitors are building their version of Interstate High Speed Rail and Rapid Transit systems faster than America. They do so because it yields massive economic and other benefits today and for generations unborn. America delays HSR and Rapid Transit construction at its competitive peril.

Throughout history, transportation advances have accelerated economic growth for cities, regions and nations. In 1811, England pioneered the first practical train service between cities and seaports. In 1863, London built the world’s first Metro Rail subway system. Both transportation advances helped England’s economy outpace every other nation.

People traveling within regions power their economies as much as freight movements. When passenger travel is delayed due to traffic congestion, it taxes their economy. Transportation efficiency matters in today’s competitive global economy. Millions of jobs are at stake.

Our Global Economic Competitors accelerated construction of high-capacity HSR, Regional Rail, Metro Heavy Rail and Trams (Metro Light Rail), which minimizes their need for highway and airport expansion, while increasing economic efficiency. This short video illustrates their timeline progress building HSR, the apex of ground transportation infrastructure. Note: 100 kilometers equals ~62 miles.

By comparison in 2022, America will only have 1000 miles of 124-160 mph High Speed Rail (HSR) and 90-110 mph Regional Rail. Only 4 metro areas are expanding Metro Heavy Rail. Though 35 American metro areas are building Metro Light Rail, too many systems have fewer intersecting lines than they need and fewer over/underpasses than they need.

We should not be surprised that in 2019, INRIX analysts reported that roadway congestion cost the average American $1348 per year — higher than our Global Economic Competitors in Western Europe and Eastern Asia.

Global Economic Competitors Enjoying More Passenger Rail Benefits

America’s Global Economic Competitors have an abundance of HSR and Regional Rail for these massive Transportation benefits:

1. Faster, High-Capacity & Space-Efficient Alternative to Highways: One HSR route can transport the equivalent of 20-60,000 daily solo-drivers on 3-lane Freeway.

2. High Capacity Alternative to Regional Flights: HSR can transport 10 times more regional travelers per hour than commercial airplanes.

3. Alternative to Regional Flights: HSR converts most regional flyers in the same corridor to riders.

4. Let’s Airports & Airlines focus on Longer Distance Flights: Reduces need for taxpayer-funded airport runway expansions.

5. More Jobs: HSR, Regional Rail, Metro Heavy Rail & Trams create more jobs than those lost from reduced Highway widening.

6. Zero Air Pollution: When powered by wind, solar, hydroelectric, nuclear & geothermal electricity, HSR, Regional Rail, Metro Heavy Rail & Trams produce Zero emissions.

7. Safer Travel: HSR, Regional Rail, Metro Heavy Rail & Trams save tens to hundreds of thousands of people otherwise killed or injured by automotive accidents each year.

8. Expand Access to Affordable Housing: HSR, Regional Rail, Metro Heavy Rail & Trams let workers commute from further distances where housing is cheaper.

9. Transportation Oriented Development: HSR, Regional Rail, Metro Heavy Rail & Trams at intermodal transportation centers attract retail, office & hotel development.

10. Less Imported Oil for Transportation: HSR, Regional Rail, Metro Heavy Rail & Trams reduce oil consumption & national trade deficits from imported oil.

Among those benefits, the most compelling is arguably, HSR’s “Space-efficient Passenger Capacity” advantage over Highway & Airport modes as illustrated below.

Global Economic Competitor: CHINA

China opened its first 67 miles of 186 mph HSR service to connect venues for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. By 2021, China leaped to a staggering 24,000 miles of 124-217 mph HSR transporting over 1 billion passengers/year. That nation continues investing $46 billion/year in HSR, with the goal of 43,000 HSR miles by 2035. By then, China plans to anchor a Trans-Asia HSR Network spreading to India, Southeast Asia, North Korea, Russia and Turkey.

China High Speed Rail Network 2020

China High Speed Rail Network 2020; source Wikipedia

Global Economic Competitor: JAPAN

From 1964-2021, Japan’s Shinkansen HSR system has grown to 1718 miles operating at 162-199 mph. It has transported over 10 billion passengers through earthquake and typhoon country with zero passenger fatalities. An angel’s abundance of Regional Rail, Metro Heavy Rail and Trams transfer riders to Shinkansen train stations. In 2024, Japan plans to introduce the ALFA-X train with features that better adapt to weather extremes and earthquakes. Though ALFA-X can reach 249 mph, it will likely operate commercially at 211-217 mph on the straightest routes to save on energy and maintenance costs. Around 2032, anticipate completion of the Shinkansen HSR system.

Japan HSR Map 2017

Japan HSR Map 2017; source Wikipedia

Global Economic Competitor: SOUTH KOREA

In 2004, South Korea opened the first HSR line between its two largest cities, Seoul and Busan. In 2023, South Korea expands to 763 miles. By 2035, South Korea will have over 1000 miles of 155-217 mph HSR blanketing the nation’s population corridors.

Global Economic Competitor: EUROPE

Visitors are amazed by the transportation lifestyles in Europe, where residents are equally likely to ride airplanes, trains, rapid transit, buses and Uber/Taxi. That’s just the opening act.

France: In 2021, France has 1740 miles of 186-199 mph HSR. TGV will likely operate up to 211-217 mph in its fastest routes by the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics. By 2035, France will blanket its nation with over 2700 miles of 186-217 mph HSR connecting with thousands of 137 mph HSR and 99-106 mph Regional Rail miles. Hundreds of European cities will be within 3-hour ride from Paris and the other large cities of France.

Italy: In 2020, Italy had 605 miles of 155-186 mph HSR. By 2030, Italy is on pace for 900+ miles of of 155-186 mph HSR spanning the country and connecting to its large coastal cities on the Adriatic Sea, along with a thousand miles of Regional Rail. By 2032, an LGV line under the Alps from France to Italy should open, pushing Italy towards 1000 miles of HSR service. Once all its major cities connected and major tunnels completed, Italy can next upgrade its best HSR routes to support 199-205 mph in commercial operation by 2035.

Spain: In 2020, Spain’s AVE HSR Network reached 2010 miles of 186-199 mph service. By 2035, Spain will blanket its nation with 3045 HSR miles of 186-217 mph service, plus several thousand miles of Regional Rail, Metro Rail and Trams.

Germany: In 2020, Germany reached 1900 miles of 143-186 mph service. By 2035, about 3000 miles of ICE Network will blanket the nation with 143-205 mph HSR service, plus several thousand miles of Regional Rail, Metro Rail and Trams.

Switzerland. In 2020, this small mountain nation opened three lengthy 124-155 mph HSR tunnels through the Alps to shrink 4-6 hour train rides down to 2-3 hours. It now has HSR connections to France, Italy and Germany. By 2035, Switzerland will have over a thousand HSR, Regional Rail and Tram miles.

Belgium & Netherlands: In 2020, these small Dutch countries reached 417 miles of 155-186 mph HSR service. By 2035, Belgium & Netherlands will have over 500 miles of 155-186 mph HSR interconnecting with Regional Rail and Trams.

United Kingdom: In 2020, the UK has 186 mph Eurostar route to Paris and Brussels and a 143 mph HSR route within the UK. Nearly half of its legacy rail has upgraded to 124 mph HSR or 100 mph Regional Rail. London, Liverpool, Newcastle and Glasgow have Metro Heavy Rail systems, while other UK cities are expanding Tram systems. In 2028, the London-Birmingham HSR route opens. In 2033, the London-Manchester HSR route opens. Then newest HSR lines will likely to operate commercially at 217 mph, like Japan, France and Spain. UK is creating well over 1000 miles of 137-217 mph HSR.

Europe High Speed Rail Network 2021

Europe High Speed Rail Network 2021; source Wikipedia

Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Poland, Czech Republic and Turkey have several HSR lines in operation and more projects in engineering or construction stages.

By 2035, Europe will have 25,000 HSR miles and well over 25,000 Regional Rail miles connecting its metro areas. The continent will also have over 2,000 Metro Heavy Rail miles and all metro areas over 100,000 population will have Tram systems. In summary, Passenger Rail will take you practically everywhere you want to go.

Part 3 of this series illuminates more compelling rationale to accelerate construction of HSR, Regional Rail, Metro Heavy Rail and Metro Light Rail/Tram infrastructure worldwide.

Part 3: Interstate High Speed Rail Rationale

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