High speed rail is the most practical and environmentally responsible way to transport groups of people safely, comfortably and affordably over moderate distances.
The economic and environmental benefits of high-speed rail increase as more people ride trains, making rail a needed alternative to auto and air travel. A single railroad track can carry as many people as a ten-lane highway at a fraction of the cost.
Concerns about climate change, the economy and our dependence on oil have already resulted in greater demand for rail travel. A recent poll found the majority of Americans support high-speed rail and want an alternative to driving or flying.
Passenger rail use has set ridership records in each of the past two years despite recession and gas price fluctuations—even though passenger trains run more slowly today than they did 80 years ago.
Several 21st century realities are revitalizing rail travel.
- Modern trains make travel time productive. Riders can use cell phones and laptops on a train, making it a practical choice for business travelers.
- Air travel is increasingly expensive and inconvenient. Rail is often time and cost-competitive for mid-range distances.
- Fuel prices, road construction and traffic congestion have prompted drivers to seek alternatives to highway travel.
- Rail travel solves isolation issues for rural Americans, who benefit from better access to government, healthcare, education and employment.
- High speed rail improves quality of life by providing a third transportation option that is safe, comfortable and reliable.
- HSR protects our environment by avoiding pollution, reducing congestion, and counteracting sprawl by pulling jobs, people and businesses downtown into our central cities.
At distances of less than 400 miles, high-speed trains can deliver passengers downtown-to-downtown almost as quickly as airplanes, at a fraction of the cost, and can do so in virtually all weather. With wide seats, food service and computer ports, modern trains provide a convenient, productive alternative to cars and airplanes.