By Andrew Nusca
Posting in Aerospace
According to a new report, high-speed rail will improve job creation, market access, connectivity, travel time savings and business sales. Here's how.
The economic impact of high-speed passenger rail in the U.S. is positive, according to a new report (.pdf) by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, improving job creation, market access, connectivity, travel time savings and business sales.
According to the rather rosy study, high-speed rail "could significantly increase jobs and business sales" if fully implemented as planned by 2035.
The key? Drop travel times between cities to under three hours.
The report, which was prepared by the Economic Development Research Group, used four cities -- Los Angeles, Chicago, Orlando and Albany -- to analyze the potential economic impact of high-speed rail.
1.) HSR service can help drive higher-density, mixed-use development at train stations. In Chicago and Los Angeles, that means new construction near each city's Union Station. In Orlando, that means a new "Medical City" technology park near the airport. "The local development stakes are high in each city," the authors write.
2.) HSR service can increase business productivity. Cuts in travel time, reduced road and air congestion and greater access help business get better.
3.) HSR service can boost tourism spending. Ridership increases are predicted from new tourism, conference and business trips, as well as local riders traveling further from home. By 2035, the authors estimate an additional $255 million for Orlando, $360 million for Los Angeles, $50 million for Chicago and $100 for greater Albany.
4.) HSR service can broaden regional labor markets. With a greater area that can be reached within a two- to three-hour trip, skilled workers have greater mobility. That means Los Angeles can exchange more workers with Palmdale and San Diego, Chicago can exchange more workers with Milwaukee and Madison, Albany can exchange more workers with New York City and Orlando can exchange more with Lakeland and Tampa.
5.) HSR service can support the growth of technology clusters. With greater regional access, there can be more exchange and collaboration among research universities. Albany can export its nanotechnology expertise; Orlando can export its aerospace, security, national defense, pharmaceutical and healthcare expertise; Chicago can export its clean energy and biotechnology expertise; and Los Angeles can do the same with its national defense technology firms.
Ultimately, high-speed rail can benefit cities of all sizes, according to the study -- and despite its ability to make long-haul trips more palatable, actually does better to reinforce regional and local exchange of people and ideas.
The authors write:
While telecommuting and Internet conferencing are growing, long-term trends also show growth of long-distance tourism, professional convention business in major cities, as well as exponential growth in airplanes and urban delivery vehicles servicing overnight parcels.
Changes in trade regulation are also resulting in new domestic and global markets and supply chains. The development of high-tech clusters and the need for professional interaction is also creating new travel demand patterns. These and other trends will place additional burdens on the nation's transportation infrastructure. High-speed rail can help cities and metropolitan areas meet these challenges while also being a significant catalyst for economic growth and job creation.
Ultimately, the most congested, car-dependent cities stand to benefit the most. Will yours?
Jun 14, 2010
If you try to find advantages today, probably you won't find many looking to the actual background and analyzing the project ROI. But is necessary to look forward and imagine how will be the world tomorrow. Tom Cochran states in the report "we need to make tomorrow's transportation infrastructure more energy efficient... less reliant on foreign oil." Honestly ride a car in the USA is very cheap. For how long it will be like that? Don't you think "The Undeclared Oil War" is an expensive subsidy for the less energy efficient transportation modals? On my opinion the politicians are being very smart.
Because anything less isn't sexy or expensive enough to motivate people to justify the billions to tax dollars they want to spend on this pork bonanza. Think ordinary "trains" and people think "Amtrack"; hardly an image of efficiency or success or anything we'd like to fantasize about the future being.
Why does it have to be "high speed rail?" In Europe thousands of people use small train transportation to go to and from work, travel for pleasure, expand their shopping area, go to and from school, and perform other everyday travel task. The trains themselves are inexpensive, comfortable, run almost invariably on time, and are even fun to ride. Couldn't we try a similar experience here?
Who is going to build it bu Amtrack the gov't ageny that can't run what passenger railroads are left in the US? Just another money pit for congress to pee money into!
I live in Italy and now I use High speed train to move from North/Milano to south Rome-Naples areas where my clients are.There is non great difference in costs and time compared to aircaft: the savings are in overall "Stress". For safety reasons boarding procedures are time-consuming and wasting. On the train you can do something, beside work and you can carry with you AT THE TIME BEING, even a full bottle of water! . This until something like "external" event happen. In France is known that people commit suicide by simply throwing themselves under the high-speed trains that travel on dedicated, protected railway. Connections and logistic is another story. At this time benefits for me In Italy are more. I've been exensively travelling for business and leisure through the U.S. When and if available today I'd prefer the high-speed-train. TODAY I repeat. Maybe, in the future for my personal safety reasons i'll go back to my car, or drastically reduce business travelling by using more and more teleconferencing and similar, or go back to horse riding. Best! Emilio Odescalchi MILANO ITALY.
Yes yes yes. Right now traveling on trains between cities is a mess. It's easier to drive or fly. The investment would be worth it, especially if the trains coordinated with the airports both with links and with pricing.
On the surface, I love the idea of high-speed rail. Whenever in Europe, it's my favorite mode of transportation. I often fantasize what it would be like to travel in the US like that. Then I wake up. Once you scratch the surface and look at the real numbers and practical realities of it, you see that perhaps for certain limited routes, it makes little economic sense here in the US. Most of our major cities are too spread out. High-speed lines are extremely expensive to build, and even more expensive to maintain. Current estimates for a Los Angeles/San Francisco route (one of the most competitive proposals out there from a demand point of view) would cost over $82-million per/mile just to build. In order to justify such an expenditure, one-way tickets would have to cost 2 or 3 times what a first-class ticket on an airline would. Whatever "convenience" there'd be compared to air travel would be neutralized once the TSA takes over security. And of course "mayors" and "governors" are all for it, because they fantasize that the billions it will take to build these lines will be coming from somewhere else. This kind of thing are always more fun on someone else's dime.
No sooner had I written the above when I get a message from the CA HSRA touting this study on their website. Tell me this wasn't a self promoting piece of PR.
I know our mayor wasn't part of this. She knows better. My guess is only those that stand to gain were invited to take part in this study. Like you said, it is a "rosy" study.
It all soounds so great when you sit around thinking about it. The reality however, is very different: It will be too expensive; Most places, people will have to drive to the stations, where parking will be a problem, or you need a great many stops; Speed will be reduced in crowded areas after the first accedent our legal system will make it so the trains must reduce speeds (as happens now) and the trains will take forever; Building the trains above ground will also result in lawsuits from businesses coplaining about the loss of sunshine (as happened in Seattle); In Japan it only works because of the $300 + toll on the road, forcing the people to take the train. Most places that in the US that have trains for commuting, the public end up paying so much per person, that if the taxpayers paid each rider $200,000 a year to stay at home, and didn't have the trains, they would save millions. How many times do we need to try bad ideas before we learn and try something else: Americans will never ride trains in the numbers needed!
Hi, look at this http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/index.jsp? vgnextoid=f4e43bf7c819a110VgnVCM100000 3f16f90aRCRD I'm living in Slovenia (next to Italy) and know that many people in Italy now prefer to use train instead of air-travelling. Kind regards, Igor
They tried rail in Seattle. It ended up costing millions per FOOT. Rail is a waist of taxpayer money.
I am puzzled by all the negativity around high speed rail. I grew up in a city with multiple forms of public transportation -- including commuter trains. That's how I got from my home in the "inner city" to my college in the suburbs. I loved it. I could rest, study, play cards, etc. I also could take a regular train and be in NYC within 90 minutes. We would see a matinee, shop a bit, maybe even see an evening performance, then take the last train home -- all without the inconvenience of trying to drive & park in NYC. Now, I also think we may not be thinking of all angles. We talk so much about our "aging population." High speed rail would be a huge benefit for older adults who are still mobile but who don't want to drive in heavy traffic or for long distances. And, let's have a little creativity. About those "final miles to your destination:" I can certainly envision car rental agencies having locations near the stops of the high speed trains. So, you get there and you rent a, hopefully, fuel efficient car for the rest of your trip. Finally, about those subsidies: a lot of tax dollars go into highway construction & maintenance!
I'm also not sure HSR can do what the advocates claim, not only because of extremely high capital costs, but because HSR needs shielded/fenced tracks to keep unwanted obstacles of all types off the tracks. They also need bridges and/or tunnels to avoid cutting roadways, otherwise they cannot go fast. Such systems are available in Europe and Japan, and highly subsidized due to excessive fuel taxes, but not here.
High Speed Rail works! Any subsidy would be less than that for airports or for the automobile. The economy? Sure, some retail outlets might have to move from Interstate interchanges to rail stations, but they could survive if they were alert and flexible. The individual - think of the reduced costs as a pay raise. Another thing, if you fall asleep behind the wheel of a car, it could be a disaster. Fall asleep on the train and you save time. If you travel in a business class seat, think of all the work you could get done that you can't while piloting your car around.
I agree with the above response that the costs are too high to create these rails in urban areas particularly with potential lawsuits due to safety issues. We have several people on the Milwaukee/Chicago train try to commit suicide by jumping in front of the train. This basically shuts the system down for an extended period of time. The train from Milwaukee to Chicago is great but the ticket price is heavily subsidized. It will generally only work between large urban areas because of issues with getting the last miles to your destination.
Due to the extremely high construction, maintenance and operational costs for high speed rail in the U.S. it will never be economically viable in most areas. High speed rail works in Japan and parts of Europe where population densities are high because it covers relatively short distances and trains are mostly full. Compared to air travel, where airport connections add time at both ends, rail works for shorter trips ? given sufficient ridership levels. But for longer distances - which is what we have mostly in the US - air travel will remain the faster and less expensive mode of transportation because airports already exist and the high construction costs of high speed rail make it unviable. Also consider the maintenance and security of high speed rail lines. How do you effectively secure hundreds of miles of track through remote areas (like you see in between LA and S.F.)? How do you prevent sabotage or terrorist attacks anywhere along such routes? Air travel is much more secure in this regard. In high density corridors - such as the DC - NYC - Boston routes - high speed may very well be an economical alternative. But for longer distances with lower ridership levels elsewhere it does not make any sense.
Maglevs can indeed have magical effects on an economy but according to our models they have been beyond the financial ability of the United States (nationally or as separatre states) to pay for for several years. A second consideration is that it is almost impossible to get the lines built into existing urban centers unless one elevates above existing public lands such as freeways. A third problem is that economic feasibility really depends on freight, not passengers. Our website, www.imagsts.com, has a fair amount of material on maglevs and supurbs (super urban areas). Peter Zoll email@example.com
Increased access? Shorter commutes? I do think the answer is clear, but I don't necessarily think it involves trains. If you need to take a train to work, you probably need to find a job closer to home. Or move closer to work. Those options should be plan "A". Much more environmentally friendly. gary