Essay on High Speed Rail

Submitted By BurtAshley1
Words: 2170
Pages: 9

Hayden Christenson
Professor Smith
Economics 105
24, April 2013

The production of high-speed rail (HSR) has commenced within the United States; primarily in the Central Valley. The economic contributions are allegedly going to help the U.S. fallout of the national debt; throughout the production of this modern form of transportation. Although, it has worked well in other countries America has different components in its particular economic model, it is unlikely to have the same economic contributions as is it has in the countries listed below.
Europe and Japan, HSR has had success in capturing market share from commercial aviation. For example, rail has captured 90 percent of the air/rail market between Paris and Lyon (a distance of 267 miles, with a fastest scheduled rail trip time of 1 hour 55 minutes), 85 percent of the air/rail market between Tokyo and Osaka (a distance of 320 miles, with a fastest scheduled rail travel time of 2 hours25 minutes), and 74 percent of the air/rail market between Rome and Bologna (a distance of 222 miles, with a fastest schedule rail travel time of 2 hours 44 minutes). (Congressional Digest 2011, pg.101) Although, these countries are modern and advanced countries alike the United States, one major contributor to the use of this transportation method is not present in the US as it is in what is compared. The populations of these nations have a much higher ratio to land then the US; the need for someone who needs to travel practically across the state or providence is not as common in the US as it is has proven in these countries. The idea that Americans will even take use of this form of transportation is not even certain, due to the lack of necessity. In the European and Asian nations it is more expensive to purchase a car than it is here in the US. The price of Petrol is much more in those countries along with taxes for owning a car. In comparison to the US owning a car, it is rather inexpensive and many times it is more cost efficient to drive from San Jose to Los Angeles with a new hybrid and electric cars in the market. Although, this perhaps may be more cost efficient for a person traveling alone when there is another individual going along on the trip. There is no more initial cost in riding in the car, but there is a need to purchase a ticket when traveling by another form of transportation. Thus, the scenario in America varies from that of other nations. The Demand for a new form of transportation is not in America.
One of the most obvious factors that differ from the models in Europe and Japan is that America is a huge country in comparison. In Europe and Japan HSR has worked because the countries are so small; there is a hundred to five hundred mile radius where HSR is more effective then traveling by airline or automobile. This is not something that is very common in the US with the exception from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Though, this will not be a viable means for transportation when moving cross country from Los Angeles to New York. Another factor to bring into consideration is the liberty there is when driving a vehicle. Although, this is not a factor when someone is driving cross-country when it is more cost effective to fly; it is a factor for the 100 or even 200 mile drive you can roll the windows down stop to grab something that is cheap and quick to eat. These are not options that a presented for the individual who is on the transit. HSR also does not bring into consideration how someone will get to and from a station; if someone is traveling to a city where there is no common or convenient way of transportation then renting a car would be the more cost effective for that individual to drive so they have their vehicle on hand? This is a big flaw in the American model versus that of the European and Asian countries, many times it is better to use public transportation or even just ride a bike because it is nearly impossible to drive a car in the dense