Saturday, April 18, 2009

Governor Rendell: Let's end air travel under 500 miles

[Thanks to the Infrastructurist for the tip]

The future of transportation is high speed rail of trips under 600 miles that feed into airports, so the airports can handle international trips and the 1500 - 3000 mile trips (which are far more profitable than the little short haul trips for the airlines and thus the airports as well).

Obama understands the future which is why he's put $8B into high speed rail (and our very own Rick Harnish was at the press conference in D.C. on Thursday -- very cool!).

And Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell also understand the future of intercity transportation, and he was bold enough to say that we should end all air travel under 500 miles.

That would be great for airports and airlines.

And one federal law we ought to change, to hasten the integration between high speed rail and air travel, is the prohibition on using federal passenger facility fees on building rail stations at airports. The smart airports will build rail stations so they can keep the profitable long-haul flights and shift the short-haul flights to rail. Unfortunately, federal law prohibits that, and hopefully that will change.


Blogger Elliott said...

The new plan must include a maglev design that mirrors our existing Interstate Highway System. The whole continental U.S. must be linked by one uniform, lightning-fast network. If the new high-speed rail plan remains fragmented (and encompasses outdated, traditional high-speed technology), America will never realize the expected benefits of a new system. The investment will only pay off if the job is done right. See this blog:

3:15 AM  
Blogger plaws said...

Maglev technology got off the drawing board in the 1970s-80s meaning that it wasn't just models but it was actually a system you could construct and move people. I think the underlying principles were known as far back as the 1930s.

Since then, people have absolutely flocked to maglev technology, just like they did within 20-30 years of the initial development of the airplane, the automobile, and the train.

Oh, no. Wait, there are no commercially viable maglev systems ... anywhere. Because they are very expensive, required dedicated rights of way, and can only move limited payloads.

Maglev for intercity ground transport is like the monorail for intra-city transport: A non-viable solution held up by proponents of the status quo in order to thwart any real changes in our surface transportaion systems.

Maglev: The technology of tomorrow - always has been, always will be.Sorry to burst the bubble.


11:03 AM  
Blogger BruceMcF said...

A very substantial benefit of Express HSR using steel wheel on steel rail technology, which is not appreciated as much in the US where we have no experience with Express HSR, is the ability to have a conventional rail class of track, a Rapid Rail class of track, and a Express HSR class of track, and once track is electrified, the Express HSR can use any of that track.

Now, under FRA rules it won't be able to "mix" with heavy freight, but its possible to allocate access by time, so the same track can still be shared, just not used as the same time of day.

That means we can build downtown urban stations with rail corridors that can serve both local and regional rail and Express HSR running at regional rail speed, and the focus of the Express HSR construction can be in the spaces between the big cities.

It also means that if we have a second tier of "Regional HSR" ... the Express HSR can run to the end of the Express HSR track, and then continue on the Regional HSR track.

That ability to share infrastructure is what is missing with Maglev. Either it has to have all Maglev track all the way from downtown to downtown, or else the Maglev station is like an airport miles away from anything.

11:10 AM  
Blogger Kindle said...

I agree with Elliot. It sounds very familiar to ALT's standpoint: why not use the federal funding coming out for high speed rail for use in a national system located along and within the Interstate Highway System already in place? We already own that land...

Going one step further, I think ALT is right in arguing that we complement the train infrastructure with that needed for a smart grid that spans the country, one that can actually accept renewable energy sources efficiently.

I read the blog Obama For Maglev and it said it right: that we need to invest in the best technology available. I think ALT's idea with regards to the infrastructure is true innovation.

1:54 PM  

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