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Thread: Transportation for America

  1. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc View Post
    Time was, carbon dioxide wasn't counted as a pollutant. Maybe some group still abides by that primordial standard.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjahedge View Post
    When the American Family did not have 1 car for every driver emmisions were less of a problem.
    Fifty years ago, "transportation" was the major factor in air pollution, over 60% by some measurements. Today, it's energy production.

    No doubt that cars are much cleaner today, but internal combustion engines by their nature produce emissions - unburned fuel and the release of various compounds besides CO2. And the increase in efficiency is somewhat offset by the rise in volume. The statistical switch may be more due to the huge increase in energy demand.

    Fifty years ago, how many people in the world were doing what I'm doing right now?

  2. #17
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    Fifty years ago, "transportation" was the major factor in air pollution, over 60% by some measurements. Today, it's energy production.

    No doubt that cars are much cleaner today, but internal combustion engines by their nature produce emissions - unburned fuel and the release of various compounds besides CO2. And the increase in efficiency is somewhat offset by the rise in volume. The statistical switch may be more due to the huge increase in energy demand.

    Fifty years ago, how many people in the world were doing what I'm doing right now?

    Spouting BS???

    (sorry, could not resist).

    I see what you are saying Zip, I was not even getting into energy consumption. When most people had gas stoves and one TV/Radio in the house (as well as being spread a LOT thinner) power was less of an issue.

    But how do you like all the BS being flown around Washington about Nuclear Power? Greenhouse Gasses? Nope, but where do you store all the leftovers? NJ property has gotten too expensive........

  3. #18
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    The spent fuel for Nuclear Reactors remains the troubling issue. It's not yet been figured out.

    Folks think that leaving tons of debt for the grandkids is a problem.

    How about tons of hot stuff, which will remain so and vulnerable for eons???

  4. #19
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Here and Now.

    Same as always. Every institution we have has come down to that, what used to be planned for 20 years hence is now only concerning the next quarter, the next project, the next $.

    Not that everything was always done with much more time of effect being taken into account...

    I think the main problem is that our nation is too large to be able to sucessuflly make a high speed network that would allow easy connectivity around the entire nation that would still be convenient to use, and substantially cheaper.

    Even at 200 MPH, a NON STOP trip from NY to Cali would still take 18 hours to get across, compared to 3 hours on a plane.

    Oddly enough, the one thing Trains can market as being more advantageous was as I said before, bringing your own vehicle with you. That is something planes can never compete with. Being able to bring your own stuff to facilitate a buisness or vacation trip should be focused on otherwise people will either take a plane or drive themselves.

  5. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjahedge View Post
    Even at 200 MPH, a NON STOP trip from NY to Cali would still take 18 hours to get across, compared to 3 hours on a plane.
    3 hours? What are you taking?

    It's a big country. Why use a cross-country trip as the standard? For trips under 1000 miles, rail is competitive with air travel, since the travel time to and security time spent at the airport is a significant percentage of the time you're actually in the air.

    Oddly enough, the one thing Trains can market as being more advantageous was as I said before, bringing your own vehicle with you.
    Strictly a niche market; would not generate enough ridership to spur passenger rail development. I could not see the extra expense of having my car hauled along with me for a week or two vacation. Maybe if I was going on a job assignment of a couple of months or more, but that's atypical.

    The biggest problem is rail capacity. I've mentioned it on some other thread - a higher percentage of the US rail network is used for freight, the opposite of most European countries, where there is more passenger ridership and a smaller percentage of freight.

  6. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    3 hours? What are you taking?

    It's a big country. Why use a cross-country trip as the standard? For trips under 1000 miles, rail is competitive with air travel, since the travel time to and security time spent at the airport is a significant percentage of the time you're actually in the air.
    1000 is still to far. 500 at most. 250-300 even better. The obvious example of this is DC-NYC-BOS. But if you go say NYC-Chicago, it's not going to work given the speeds high speed rail really reaches operationally.

    And let's not talk about the nightmare of getting nice straight rights of way, especially given the fact that cities that would do best with HSR tend to be in the most built-up metro areas.

    A better investment would be point to point rail links from downtowns to airports with singe point check in / security at the downtown embarkation point. Then invest in the airports themselves and ATC system to make sure they have the capacity to avoid delays.

    Strictly a niche market; would not generate enough ridership to spur passenger rail development. I could not see the extra expense of having my car hauled along with me for a week or two vacation. Maybe if I was going on a job assignment of a couple of months or more, but that's atypical.

    The biggest problem is rail capacity. I've mentioned it on some other thread - a higher percentage of the US rail network is used for freight, the opposite of most European countries, where there is more passenger ridership and a smaller percentage of freight.

  7. #22
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Zip, pardon for the 3hr NY to Cali line, I meant Florida.

    Second, my position was not that people would want to use it just for the convenience, but BOTTOM LINE DOLLAR.

    If you literally drove up and PARKED YOUR CAR on the train, got out, and boarded, a few hours extra getting to Florida would matter little if you paid less overall. (How much are rental cars? Decent ones? $70/day? If you disagree with me on that, look up the actual number from Enterprise or Hertz and let me know! ). Add that to the convenience/less hassle (maybe you would not be able to directly park, they would have to check it out, load it and strap it down). If they could get that to run smoothly... That is practically an entire ad campaign for rental cars now, speed and convenience.

    As for the cost, stay a week, $70x7 = $490. So long as you make the package easily seen to cost less overall, as well as being people's own stuff, more would be willing to use it.

    As for buisness trips of that length, no, they wouldn't. You get back to the 500 mile range that BB was mentioning. The day-trip range.

  8. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjahedge View Post
    As for the cost, stay a week, $70x7 = $490. So long as you make the package easily seen to cost less overall, as well as being people's own stuff, more would be willing to use it.
    $490 is high for a weekly rental, but even using that as a basis: Have you estimated the cost of a round-trip ticket for your 3000 lb car?

    Anyway, you're missing the point. Your argument is for whether it's cost effective for ANYBODY, when it should be whether or not it would generate the necessary ridership to make intercity passenger railroad viable.

    There is auto-car service in Europe, but the situation is different. Passenger rail service is already established, and car transport is offered as an option. That is not the case in the US, where intercity ridership is very low.

  9. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by BBMW View Post
    A better investment would be point to point rail links from downtowns to airports with singe point check in / security at the downtown embarkation point. Then invest in the airports themselves and ATC system to make sure they have the capacity to avoid delays.
    While that's a commendable goal, the problem associated with that thinking is that increasingly more funding is poured into two transport modes that are already saturated, while a third (much more efficient than the others) is underutilized.

    Airlines put 3 times the CO2 per passenger mile into the air as trains. Even more than cars.

  10. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post
    The spent fuel for Nuclear Reactors remains the troubling issue. It's not yet been figured out.

    How about tons of hot stuff, which will remain so and vulnerable for eons???
    Shoot it into space. It'll keep going forever.

  11. #26
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    There is auto-car service in Europe, but the situation is different. Passenger rail service is already established, and car transport is offered as an option. That is not the case in the US, where intercity ridership is very low.
    The question is, how do you get it higher.

    My answer is two fold. Make it cheaper than the alternative AND give it some advantages (like having your own vehicle rather than an unknown rental).

    People in the US are VERY posessive about their cars. If you could market it as a way for you to get your own vehicle where you want to drive it, more people would be encouraged to use it.

    If it takes longer than a plane, costs more, and only offers the advantage of your own vehicle, nobody will ever use it.

  12. #27
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc View Post
    Shoot it into space. It'll keep going forever.
    Irony.

    Taking those "clean" fuel rods and sticking them in a rocket, which I suppose burns only LOX and Hydrogen that was made by solar power?

    Not likely. Things like that would probably take almost as much ecological impact to launch them into deep space as burning the fuel for energy inthe first place.

    Hey, but at least it would "create more jobs"!!!

  13. #28

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    Things are looking up. Lots of info here.

  14. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjahedge View Post
    My answer is two fold. Make it cheaper than the alternative AND give it some advantages (like having your own vehicle rather than an unknown rental).
    It's not necessary to make rail the dominant option, just get enough ridership to make it a viable option, taking pressure off the other modes.

    Filtering out mass transit systems, rail passengers in the US account for only one-third of one percent of the total. Typical of Western countries is 5%.

    People in the US are VERY posessive about their cars.
    Those that aren't possessive of their cars have no problem hopping a plane from NY to Boston, or taking rail. Those that are possessive are going to drive no matter what.

    From the link I posted:
    A 2009 survey found that if the cost and travel time were equal, 54 percent of Americans would prefer to travel to cities in their region by high-speed rail, with only 33 percent preferring car travel and 13 preferring air travel. Of Americans who had actually ridden high-speed rail, an overwhelming 82 percent preferred it to air travel.

  15. #30
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    So how many of the 33% would ride the rail if they could bring their car?

    There is a certain limit most have when it comes to driving. Most people have it at about 2 hours, but will go 4 or 6 hours no problem. Once you start to venture out past that (Past, oddly enough, Boston or DC....) then people just are not as likely to want to drive at all.

    I guess what I am trying to find is the sweet spot that most travellers and motorists would prefer. Cross country high speed would only work if you made it part of a tour, stopping at some desirable locations along the way (like a land-cruise), and if you made it too short, people would just say the hell with it and drive.

    So what is the critical distance range, and what would further encourage people to use the rail over air or car for that range?

    (Having been in Florida on a small trip myself recently, I think I would have preferred to just load up the car in the back of a high speed and snooze my way down there, and not have to worry about transport on the other end. You ever try walking in Florida?)

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