Tuesday, April 07, 2009

New HNTB Survey - Most Americans Prefer High Speed Rail Versus Other Long Distance Transport When Cost And Time Equal

[Hat tip SustainableBusiness.com]

The HNTB Corporation, an employee-owned infrastructure firm, has just released their latest national "America THINKS" survey that found "more than half of Americans (54 percent) would choose modern high-speed trains over automobile (33 percent) and air travel (13 percent) if fares and travel time were about the same." There's a lot that can be discussed just in that one conclusion - so comment away - but below are some other key findings.

Americans in the survey said that they placed the highest value on more convenient travel (71%), less expensive fares (69%) and faster trains (55%) with the introduction of high speed rail in their region.

The survey found substantial preferences for high speed rail among those who have already experienced it. Experienced riders had lower preferences for car travel to large, nearby cities (41%) compared to inexperienced riders (69%), and experienced riders had higher expectations of greater productivity while traveling high speed rail on business (51% versus 38%).

Peter Gertler, chair of the HNTB's high-speed rail practice, pointed out the importance of educating the public about high speed rail, including its environmental impact, since the survey found only 29% of Americans understand the environmental impact high-speed trains can have versus other forms of transportation, including other rail transportation,

"High-speed rail will benefit the country in a variety of ways, including improved mobility, job creation, reduced usage of fossil fuel and fewer annual greenhouse gas emissions.... High-speed trains use one-third as much energy as comparable air travel and consume less than one-fifth as much energy as driving."

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Blogger John said...

If fares and travel times are equal, then the only differences are comfort, safety, and environmental impacts. It's no surprise that trains win in all of those categories. So what the survey really tells us is that 54% of Americans are capable of rational decisions.

3:09 PM  
Blogger Hiram said...

"So what the survey really tells us is that 54% of Americans are capable of rational decisions."

If we better educate people about high speed rail, then more than 54% will recognize we need it - or, in your terms, more than 54% of Americans will be capable of making the rational decision to support high speed rail.

9:25 AM  
Blogger MvxzW said...

This is good news. I work for the St Louis Metro, and we have 2 light rail lines. Hopefully we can convert them to high speed rail in the future. The problem is capital investment. We have much trouble just sustaining operations as they are. If transit agencies are going to add high speed rail then somebody's going to have to come up with money first. If you want to share ideas I write for Metro's blog at http://www.nextstopstl.org

11:31 AM  

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