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View Diary: Sunday Train: A Vision for Rail in Sustainable 21st Century Transport (41 comments)

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  •  Different perspective in one area..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder

    You write:
    Trips of 100miles to 300miles between medium sized cities, and to or from large urban centers and medium size cities will be dominated by electric Rapid Passenger Rail technology operating at 90mph – 110mph – 125mph.

    Disagree for many reasons.  We now have an alternative to physical proximity, which is now cost virtual face to face contact by internet, such as Skype, which can be enhanced to a conference setting.  This can be expanded, and will become the norm just as mail has become obsolete by email.

    If face to face contact is desired, we are near self driving cars, that will not require the auto travel to and from the rail station and the limits of schedules.   The individual can relax while the car is on autopilot direct to the door of the location.

    Efficient auto pilots with wireless communication of traffic will also allow less congestion.  California's attempt is instructive, as there is almost no private investment, which is an indication that those with the funds to invest agree with my perspective.

    Freight is a different issue, yet new rightaways are now through very expensive land, which must be added to the equation.  Canal construction made great sense, right up to the mid 19th century when a new technology, railroads, made them obsolete.  Now it is railroad's time that is up.  

    •  Until someone comes up with a cheaper way (7+ / 0-)

      Rail is king. Ya just cant move 100 pounds 100 miles cheaper.

      300mph trains may some day take UPS freight 747's out of the sky. At that point there will be fewer planes in the sky, passenger and freight.

      The Delta shuttle from DC to LaGaurdia is DOA when we get a 170-200 mph train. Logan in Boston to JFK or LAGuardia will lose passengers.

      The millennials are growing up with without the same need for personal transportation. By 2050 this impact will be massive.

      .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 07:10:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually you can (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roger Fox, Bronx59, DavidMS, indres

        Canals still have a big part to play in bulk delivery. Far better to have a few barges deliver, for example, gravel for construction, than huge convoys of trucks. (The 2012 Olympics Park in London was built this way due to congestion in the surrounding roads.) Large sections for Airbus planes travel by barges and are transloaded onto seagoing ships for the journey from Britain to France.

        We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

        by Lib Dem FoP on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 07:47:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, we rely on substantial .... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roger Fox, triv33, psyched

          ... barge transport for bulk delivery, and could well become more important over the coming decades in those parts of the country and those freight markets where its available, but for the markets that dominate freight transport by value, it does not offer the speed required to out-compete the reliability and time to market of diesel truck transport.

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          by BruceMcF on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 07:55:55 PM PST

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          •  The more obvious problem with canals (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            psyched, BruceMcF, Roger Fox

            is the environmental destruction they cause. Canals need much wider and flatter (except at locks) right-of-way than the largest highways (for example, compare the Tenn-Tom Waterway with Ontario's Highway 401).

            For cities like London and Pittsburgh located along natural waterways, taking the ships right in makes sense. But you're not going to be able to get barges to Zurich or Denver (at least this American doesn't think you can).

            warning: snark probably above

            by NE2 on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 09:31:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Denver and the Rockies ... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              NE2, Roger Fox, spacecadet1

              ... is a substantial part of the problem of viewing canals as a silver bullet solution to freight.

              Europe is essentially a cluster of peninsulas coming off of peninsulas at the western edge of Eurasia, so most of Europe is much closer to the ocean than a lot of the US, especially when considering connections between the West or East coasts and the middle of the country.

              But when shifting to a multi-mode perspective, barge freight evidently does and will continue to have an important role to play.

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              by BruceMcF on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 10:09:48 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Well, point by point ... (5+ / 0-)

      ... when you quote:  

      Trips of 100miles to 300miles between medium sized cities, and to or from large urban centers and medium size cities ...
      ... and then say that "We now have an alternative to physical proximity, which is now cost virtual face to face contact by internet, such as Skype, which can be enhanced to a conference setting." ...
      ... that's not disagreeing with the quoted statement.

      "If face to face contact is desired, we are near self driving cars, that will not require the auto travel to and from the rail station and the limits of schedules."
      Though not the energy efficiency for the higher demand corridor, so the most sustainable system would allocate driverless cars to lower demand corridors.

      "Efficient auto pilots with wireless communication of traffic will also allow less congestion"
      Driverless cars does not change the gross spatial inefficiency of cars sufficiently to make make an auto-dependent transport system substantially more compatible with walkable neighborhoods in an urban setting.

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      by BruceMcF on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 07:25:55 PM PST

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      •  I'm too old for a walkable neighborhood. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        psyched, spacecadet1

        Perhaps if I had had that available for the last 30 or 40 years I could still do it. An electric city car would be the best option for me as it would keep me out of the weather.

        The deep south just is too hot and humid for walking. I remember taking my car in for service in Houston back in the 80s. It was only about a mile from work, so I walked back. The first thing I noticed is that even in the heart of the city the sidewalk was intermittent. By the time I got to work my clothes were saturated with sweat and I was near collapse.

        I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

        by Just Bob on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 09:02:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  When I was in East Texas in the ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Just Bob, Calamity Jean

          ... 80's in the summer, the air was like boiling water, ... but a mile is well beyond the distance considered a normal walkable radius around a transit stop, in any weather, and streetcar & trolleybus spacings would be closer together than that.

          Of course, one thing that the wide multi-lane streets and massive amount of space dedicated to parking does is to push origins and destinations further apart, so what would be a half mile in a walkable city often becomes a mile in a car-oriented city.

          Changing from a one size fits all car-dependent transport system ~ which doesn't fit everyone and is a major part of why we have a footprint far in excess of our country's biocapacity ~ doesn't mean everyone shifts to dependency on a single different mode of transport, it means that we develop modes that work together and each serve their part of the transport effectively and energy efficiently.

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          by BruceMcF on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 10:03:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Driverless cars should be for the last mile only (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BruceMcF

            And they shouldn't be something that most people own themselves. They should pick people up at the station and take them to their final destinations (4 to a car please). And then they should toodle off and give someone else a ride.

            I don't drive from VA to Long Island because I enjoy long ball buster drives up I95. I do it because I need to get around when I get there. If I'm confidant that I'll have a ride once I get to Westhampton Station then I'll choose the train in a heartbeat.

            “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.” Lyndon Baines Johnson

            by spacecadet1 on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 12:38:41 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I refrained from saying they ... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              spacecadet1

              ... should only be used for the last mile ~ will in the nature of intercity trips, the large majority of trips occur along lines of travel that larger numbers of people are using, there are likely to be some trips where the direct trip will be shorter than the "first mile" trip to the closest common carrier route and the "last mile" trip from the closest common carrier route.

              Those are by definition trips in the tail of the distribution of trip demand, since the higher you go up in the distribution of trip demand, the more the higher per person operating costs cover higher up front capital costs to establish the common carrier route. So they are not likely to host a dominant share of trips, but could be a useful element in extending the flexibility and variety of trips supported by the system.

              As far as driverless cars being sharecars, that makes a substantial amount of sense ~ for most people, the trips they make in driverless cars would be relatively infrequent, or a frequent use of a small part of a regular trip, so paying to own a driverless car will not often make as much sense as renting it as needed.

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              by BruceMcF on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 12:58:52 PM PST

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    •  Mail is not obsolete (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BruceMcF, auron renouille

      and won't become obsolete.
      Skyping will not completely eliminate face to face contact.

      .


      For the first time in human history, we possess both the means for destroying all life on Earth or realizing a paradise on the planet--Michio Kaku.

      by psyched on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 09:59:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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