Thursday, December 3, 2009

planes, trains, or automobiles?

Planes, Trains, Automobiles (and Buses): Which is the Greenest Way to Travel Long Distance in the US? A short article about the merits of each. His conclusion about trains versus buses is interesting: trains win for distances under 20 miles, while buses win on longer runs.


  1. Joel, total agreement. But the writer's not knocking those of us who get flown over. He's pointing out that the US needs a new model for the future. Obama's made some acknowledgment of that with his train plans, but whether he'll wimp out on those, too, remains to be seen.

  2. Of course he'll alter those plans, but it won't be wimping; it will be facing physical reality. There's not enough money in all christendom to build enough trains to have any impact on the nation's transportation needs. The area of the 48 contiguous states is 2,959,481 square miles- how could you possibly service that with trains?

  3. It doesn't make sense to service it all with trains--there's a role for cars, buses, and planes in any plan I could imagine. Much as I wish Tucson to Phoenix to L.A. was on Obama's current plan, what's been announced does make sense: target the highest traffic routes first, then consider connecting them.

    Though maybe someday the trolley network will be rebuilt, which would be glorious. I should look up the story about the guy who crossed the country on trolleys.