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View Poll Results: Should the US build or improve it's HSR network?
Yes 249 89.57%
No 29 10.43%
Voters: 278. You may not vote on this poll

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Old August 11th, 2012, 07:49 PM   #3421
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Old August 11th, 2012, 08:26 PM   #3422
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I think perhaps air/oil companies would like to start a High Speed Rail company.
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Old August 12th, 2012, 02:04 AM   #3423
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smooth Indian View Post
Sure but they also withdrew a fully capable electric car allegedly to satiate oil companies. I think the Volt was introduced after repeated bailouts and a bankprutcy proceeding followed by an uproar about GMs style of functioning and its product line. The fact that the govt held a major stake in the company also played its part since the govt was for insisting on making more environmentally friendly cars.
Actually the Volt prototype was first shown in 2007, well before any bankruptcy stuff. It was developed under the advanced vehicle manufacturing program signed into law by Bush, seperate from the bailouts that followed. Perhaps GM Execs realised that they withdrew the loss making EV1 too early, as Toyota suddenly started selling a lot of Priuses in markets like California. The Volt beats the Prius hands down in real fuel economy and drivability in my experience.
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Old August 12th, 2012, 03:12 AM   #3424
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 33Hz View Post
Actually the Volt prototype was first shown in 2007, well before any bankruptcy stuff. It was developed under the advanced vehicle manufacturing program signed into law by Bush, seperate from the bailouts that followed. Perhaps GM Execs realised that they withdrew the loss making EV1 too early, as Toyota suddenly started selling a lot of Priuses in markets like California. The Volt beats the Prius hands down in real fuel economy and drivability in my experience.
Back in the 90s the EV had caught the fancy of people in areas it was introduced and still it was scraped. Even the volt could have gone the way of the EV if the govt (bush and later obama) had not cajoled/forced GM into actually bringing it to the market. Rising gas prices and some public disenchantment also played their role.
The point that Stainless made and I agree upon is that GM would tried to stretch the status quo and avoid change until it was absolutely forced to do so. Even when it had the resources and ability to bring more favorable products to the market.
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Old August 12th, 2012, 11:19 AM   #3425
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Well, electric personal vehicles surely solve the pollution problems (especially local pollution), but they don't solve the congestion problems.
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Old August 12th, 2012, 05:30 PM   #3426
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Well, electric personal vehicles surely solve the pollution problems (especially local pollution), but they don't solve the congestion problems.
Exactly, there are many more problems with cars.
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Old August 12th, 2012, 05:34 PM   #3427
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XAN_ View Post
Well, electric personal vehicles surely solve the pollution problems (especially local pollution), but they don't solve the congestion problems.
That's what I've been thinking about lately (after watching some videos and reading up on Tesla's new models...). I think we're about at the tipping point where we have the technology to make intercity travel with EVs a reality, but what will that mean for public transport? Though, I guess it will still be another decade before it's all as affordable as a basic combustion-engine vehicle.
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Old August 12th, 2012, 10:57 PM   #3428
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The cars are probably within a decade of being ready, but the infrastructure will take time, and in that time, investment. A lack of willingness to invest in any kind of transportation infrastructure seems to be a serious problem in way too many localities.

Not to mention, until cars can drive autonomously, and in a fool-proof way, they will always be less safe than trains. Though of course I have to concede that we're nearly there with that, too.
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Old August 13th, 2012, 11:43 PM   #3429
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It would work in select regions, but the US is far too large and the population centered in certain areas to go blanket the country like Europe has.

From New York to Chicago it would work with tens of millions of people in the area. The distance is roughly the same as it is going from London to Rome or Berlin to Rome.

From Chicago over to San Fran/Los Angeles though is around 3,400KM and not many people at all. That's like taking a train from Madrid to St. Petersburg, Russia and having it go through low population areas of deserts and high mountains. People would much rather just fly.

I talk to Europeans sometimes and I feel like many don't realize just how large the USA really is.

Miami to Seattle is 5,300KM - like going from Paris to Tehran.

New York to Los Angeles is 4,500KM - like going from Gibraltar to Moscow.
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Old August 14th, 2012, 01:06 AM   #3430
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Not sure what you mean about the cars being within a decade of being ready...
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Old August 14th, 2012, 02:17 AM   #3431
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I don't think anyone is deluded enough to propose a transcontinental HSR system in the US
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Old August 14th, 2012, 03:51 AM   #3432
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sopomon View Post
I don't think anyone is deluded enough to propose a transcontinental HSR system in the US
I agree. I've seen a lot of Americans dismissing HSR out of hand, imaginging that people are advocating building a direct link from Miami to Seattle or from San Diego to Anchorage or something like that. There is obviously no point in this, just as in Europe we don't run direct HSR services from Malaga to Arkhangelsk.

I threw together this in about half an hour which gives a very rough idea of the sort of thing I think might just happen if there was a HUGE shift in transport policy within the US government.

http://goo.gl/maps/9f8CY

In case it's not clear:
RED routes would be (IMHO) the most likely candidates
YELLOW routes would be moderately feasible
GREEN routes would be unlikely unless the US embraced a European style transport policy with great fervour and determination.

It should be borne in mind, that HSR is just one part of the jigsaw. The reason even the NEC/Acela ins't as widely embraced in the US as it would be in Europe isn't so much distance or population (the NEC covers distances and populations comparable to the more populous areas of Europe, and far more so than areas such as Spain) but connections. European cities have far better connections for onward travel from the HSR terminus, i.e. commuter rail, regional rail, bus, tram, metro etc.

If HSR is to be successful in the US, it will need more than new lines, regulations in rolling stock. It would need a massive change in not only urban, but most crucially sub-urban and regional public transport, particularly commuter and regional rail.
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Old August 14th, 2012, 04:04 AM   #3433
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NEVER! unfortunately...I miss Europe...
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Old August 14th, 2012, 04:08 AM   #3434
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neb81 View Post
I agree. I've seen a lot of Americans dismissing HSR out of hand, imaginging that people are advocating building a direct link from Miami to Seattle or from San Diego to Anchorage or something like that. There is obviously no point in this, just as in Europe we don't run direct HSR services from Malaga to Arkhangelsk.

I threw together this in about half an hour which gives a very rough idea of the sort of thing I think might just happen if there was a HUGE shift in transport policy within the US government.

http://goo.gl/maps/9f8CY

In case it's not clear:
RED routes would be (IMHO) the most likely candidates
YELLOW routes would be moderately feasible
GREEN routes would be unlikely unless the US embraced a European style transport policy with great fervour and determination.

It should be borne in mind, that HSR is just one part of the jigsaw. The reason even the NEC/Acela ins't as widely embraced in the US as it would be in Europe isn't so much distance or population (the NEC covers distances and populations comparable to the more populous areas of Europe, and far more so than areas such as Spain) but connections. European cities have far better connections for onward travel from the HSR terminus, i.e. commuter rail, regional rail, bus, tram, metro etc.

If HSR is to be successful in the US, it will need more than new lines, regulations in rolling stock. It would need a massive change in not only urban, but most crucially sub-urban and regional public transport, particularly commuter and regional rail.
IL , and MN are very aggressive with their Rail Projects so I do see the Midwestern being built by 2035....at least most of it. MI , IN , and MO are moving somewhat slowly as well. Their system will mostly have lines between 80-124mph , and 5 lines of 220mph. Then you have the Northeast which will restore its regional and intercity Rail network mostly by 2035... The Rail is also embraced and ingrated into daily life in the Midwest and Northeast , so its an easier sell here then the West Coast or South.
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Old August 14th, 2012, 04:28 AM   #3435
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The only thing close to true high speed rail in this country is the Acela - Which also happens , in my opinion, to be in the best suited region of the US for true high speed rail - the BoshWash corridor. Who knows what the future holds!.. would love to see it realized in my lifetime though!
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Old August 14th, 2012, 06:46 AM   #3436
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 33Hz View Post
Not sure what you mean about the cars being within a decade of being ready...
Because battery technology is so essential in a lot of different fields, it's advancing quickly, and we're frequently seeing capacity doublings every other year or so from the most advanced chemistries. Considering that we're already at 100 miles per charge for most of the electric cars, it'll be about 5 more years for range comparable to most petroleum-powered cars. Toss in the extra five years for improving longevity and charging flexibility, and we're good to go. There's a lot of pressure on battery technology to advance quickly, and so it's beginning to.

Anyway, this is all OT.
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Old August 14th, 2012, 07:12 AM   #3437
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The closet thing to high speed rail I have seen is that Desert Xpress or XpressWest high speed rail project from California to Las Vegas in that it seems to be going though the most smoothy granted it could get shot down like a deer at any moment. The California high speed rail project most likely will go belly up by the end of the year.
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Old August 14th, 2012, 09:30 AM   #3438
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I personally see no difference between 100,000 human-driven cars stuck on a freeway during rush hour and 100,000 computer-operated cars stuck on a freeway during rush hour.

Interstate freeways are approaching/already past capacity and new infrastructure is needed.


EDIT: That Americans think that this is a viable solution for the future (30+ years ahead) is saddening.
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Old August 14th, 2012, 09:35 AM   #3439
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So I guess the car in my garage that has cut my petrol usage by 90% is a figment of my imagination then

We don't need some wonder battery to make massive savings today. A modest battery and small engine to take the car past 50 miles means 98% of journeys can be electric with no compromise on range.

As for infrastructure - http://zap-map.com/


Sorry for the OT. Perhaps to get it back on, 50 miles is enough to get to the nearest rail station in many cases, so your whole trip can be electric.
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Old August 14th, 2012, 03:52 PM   #3440
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Swordsman View Post
I personally see no difference between 100,000 human-driven cars stuck on a freeway during rush hour and 100,000 computer-operated cars stuck on a freeway during rush hour.

Interstate freeways are approaching/already past capacity and new infrastructure is needed.


EDIT: That Americans think that this is a viable solution for the future (30+ years ahead) is saddening.
Ideally, automated driving will make traffic history by allowing driving that's too dangerous for humans to do. See . It's terrifying, but you'll notice that no cars stop at intersections so that there is no wasted time, and none crash. That alone is a huge advancement, considering that cars are the only method of transit that has to stop frequently between destinations.

Quote:
We don't need some wonder battery to make massive savings today. A modest battery and small engine to take the car past 50 miles means 98% of journeys can be electric with no compromise on range.
You're right; I was just arguing from the point of view of using no oil at all.

And I agree--as long as we can put a high speed train station relatively close to all major population centers, we're be all set.
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