The US is too big
In a discussion with a coworker during lunchtime.
The topic of transportation came up.
As usual, I was complaining about how much it sucks that there are not sufficient train routes between cities.
And as expected, the response was “The US is too big, Europe is small and that’s why they can do that”
Seriously, what is the source of that myth?
This article for example explains how the US used to be train-based until infrastructure spending started being focused on highways instead.
Okay, back to the point here.
The assumption is “flights make more sense, you can’t travel between Seattle and Fort Lauderdale using a train”.
I’ll let you in on a secret.
High-speed rails (as the name suggests) are fast.
It takes less than 3 hours to take the high-speed rail between Madrid and Barcelona.
Look at that price too, it’s cheaper than flights or driving.
Yes, this is not faster than flying but it is a lot faster than driving.
It is also insanely more comfortable than those other modes of transportation.
Trust me, I have driven all over the place a few times.
Sometimes, we’re in a rush
Okay, we established beyond doubt that trains beat driving.
But for long distances, airplanes are a lot faster.
Trains can connect cities like New York and Boston or Seattle and Portland.
How about our previous example? Seattle to Fort Lauderdale?
For the record, I would still take the high-speed rail between those two cities if it was an option.
But of course, some of us would rather get tortured on a plane than enjoy a beautiful train ride.
Guess what, Extra-long flights are not that famous.
According to this article, the busiest air routes are for cities that are very close to each other.
With the exception of 4th route on the list, a high-speed train would be far more efficient and comfortable for those routes.
Add onboarding, TSA, luggage, and all other nonsense to the flight and the high-speed train wins by a mile.
We keep using long-distance flights as an excuse for not having a good train network.
Then we turn around and fly to the neighboring city.