Author Topic: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.  (Read 21461 times)

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Offline livehard

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #175 on: November 04, 2011, 02:01:17 PM »
yes but not on the taxpayers dime.  Let the market decide whether its worth it.  Besides the collective intellegence of a compatetive market is far greater than that of a commisioned study by a beurocrat.

Offline bosk1

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #176 on: November 04, 2011, 02:04:52 PM »
...If people don't use it, it's a waste of money.

Exactly, which is (as I've been saying) why I am skeptical.  Again, I'm excited about the prospect of something like this too.  I'm just extremely skeptical about whether it could work here, and I've heard little (inside this thread and in the real world) to lead me to believe it would.  "People would use it because Europe!" is a stupid argument that completely overlooks the fact that there is little evidence sufficient people here would use it to justify the cost. 

Going back to the OP yet again, no, high speed rail is definitely NOT dumb.  It's an awesome idea.  But that is not the same thing as it being an economically viable, useful means of transportation in every area.  In some places, it just isn't because people wouldn't use it, whether it be the cost, the logistics, or whatever.  And my fear is that the present S.F.-L.A. line is one of those instances where it just won't end up working and will be yet another project our financially-ruined state threw money away on.  But I really hope I'm proven wrong on that.
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Offline bosk1

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #177 on: November 04, 2011, 02:11:12 PM »
In terms of capacity, it's cheaper to build a high-speed rail line than a highway (assuming of course, typical geography: things get pricey real quick once lots of tunnels and bridges get involved).  And they turn a profit.  It would be a fast, environmentally friendly and sustainable, and safe way to bring American cities closer together.

Your efforts are wasted with him there, dude.

You know, normally, I wouldn't jump in since Tempus is a grownup who can defend his own posts.  But since he isn't there, I will get involved this time.

S.D., I am giving you one and only one warning on this subject:  Argue by the rules, or go argue somewhere else.  You are deliberately twisting Tempus' views on environmental issues to take an indirect shot at him rather than making an argument.  He has been very clear about his stance on environmental issues, and it should be clear to anyone who has given half an effort to reading any of his posts on the subject that he has singlehandedly done more for the environment than you or I, or most (if not all) of the people on this board.  Just because his idea of government environmental policy may not be your idea of government environmental policy doesn't give you an excuse to deliberately twist what he has said on the subject.  We've already had a couple of P/R bans in the last 24 hours, and your name already came up as someone who is likely to get one if you keep taking shots at people you disagree with.  Knock it off and stay on topic.
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #178 on: November 04, 2011, 02:27:17 PM »
yes but not on the taxpayers dime.  Let the market decide whether its worth it. 

What about for those of us who don't agree that the market is going to answer every desire? If a project won't make a significant profit, sometimes investors won't be interested. It's not that the project will not make a profit, it just may not make enough for them to be interested in. We had to give rural area's in this country electricity and phone lines because electrical and phone companies didn't see it in their profit interests to build the relevant infrastructure.

All the private roads in this country are back east (least, I've never ran into any back in the west), meaning they came about when the country was young, and land was still very open. A private investor is going to have a LOT of people to deal with in getting the land rights, and that right there is going to stop a lot of people from moving forward. The government has eminent domain.

Offline bosk1

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #179 on: November 04, 2011, 02:33:03 PM »
All the private roads in this country are back east (least, I've never ran into any back in the west), meaning they came about when the country was young, and land was still very open.

No, there are plenty out here in CA.
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #180 on: November 04, 2011, 03:02:36 PM »
All the private roads in this country are back east (least, I've never ran into any back in the west), meaning they came about when the country was young, and land was still very open.

No, there are plenty out here in CA.

Really? Guess I've never ran into them.

Statement retracted.

Offline bosk1

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #181 on: November 04, 2011, 03:11:32 PM »
At least here in CA, they tend to be more in rural areas.  Not sure how it is back east.  And I'm assuming you didn't mean private highways.  If we have any out here, they are few and far between.
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #182 on: November 04, 2011, 03:23:49 PM »
At least here in CA, they tend to be more in rural areas.  Not sure how it is back east.  And I'm assuming you didn't mean private highways.  If we have any out here, they are few and far between.

Ah, and not just like a private road up to their ranch, or whatnot?

Ya, I guess I wasn't thinking of something like that. I meant in terms of actual transportation, highways, etc. There are some private toll roads back east, are there not? Or am I thinking way back to the early 1800's?

Either way, I would still imagine that eminent domain plays a role in preventing a purely private enterprise into HSR.

Offline GuineaPig

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #183 on: November 04, 2011, 03:35:55 PM »
There have been a number of proposed privately-run HSR lines (outside of Japan), but to my knowledge, none have come to fruition.

In Japan, all the Shinkansen lines are run by various companies, that were broken up into pieces and sold off in 1987 for chump change due to Japan's economic crisis.  Further investment there (including what's sure to be the most costly HSR line built for the next 50 years, the Chuo Shinkansen) has been mostly by corporate dollars.
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Offline bosk1

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #184 on: November 04, 2011, 03:41:33 PM »
At least here in CA, they tend to be more in rural areas.  Not sure how it is back east.  And I'm assuming you didn't mean private highways.  If we have any out here, they are few and far between.

Ah, and not just like a private road up to their ranch, or whatnot? 

Depends.  There are all kinds.  For example, there are several communities near where I live where even the paved main roads in and around those communities are private and the residents pay for the construction, upkeep and maintenance of those roads.
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #185 on: November 04, 2011, 03:46:08 PM »
At least here in CA, they tend to be more in rural areas.  Not sure how it is back east.  And I'm assuming you didn't mean private highways.  If we have any out here, they are few and far between.

Ah, and not just like a private road up to their ranch, or whatnot? 

Depends.  There are all kinds.  For example, there are several communities near where I live where even the paved main roads in and around those communities are private and the residents pay for the construction, upkeep and maintenance of those roads.

Interesting. I wonder what the cost comparison is, and if the roads are in better condition, as well as what other kind of agreements are in place (as in, if the owners have the ability to say deny access to certain individual).

Offline bosk1

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #186 on: November 04, 2011, 03:54:59 PM »
Interesting. I wonder what the cost comparison is, and if the roads are in better condition, as well as what other kind of agreements are in place (as in, if the owners have the ability to say deny access to certain individual).

Not really sure, but I imagine it varies considerably.  As far as the right to restrict access, I'm sure that varies considerably as well.  For roads that lead only to a residence/farm or a small group, the landowners can probably deny access to anyone they choose except law enforcement and other governmental authorities.  For bigger roads, if they aren't gated communities, I would imagine they have probably granted easements to the municipality, county, and state to allow anyone to drive on those roads.  But, again, I'm not 100% sure.
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Offline Fiery Winds

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #187 on: November 04, 2011, 04:35:08 PM »
Regarding predictions of profit and ridership numbers, I'm hesitant to believe them based on the "success" of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART).  While BART is a great service in principle (and I've used it countless times to save money and time) it simply is not as successful as it was made out to be. 

Take a look at this map of the routes and see how great it looks on paper. 



Their last addition to the rail was connecting Daly City to SFO.  They said the increased revenue would pay for itself AND pay for the extension from Fremont down to San Jose (not shown).  That was in 2003 and the SFO section hasn't even been paid off yet, let alone the Fremont-San Jose extension which has recently started construction.
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Offline rumborak

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #188 on: November 04, 2011, 09:10:44 PM »
I have to wait in line, I have to wait for the train, I have to go through security

As I said, other than Barcelona I've never had to go through security for an HSR. If that's what the 3C line was suggesting, they were doing it wrong. One of the big allures of HSRs is that you show up 5 minutes before the train leaves and you're on it.

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Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #189 on: November 05, 2011, 04:22:29 AM »
With that argument the Interstate system would never exist.

rumborak

You mean if the government used my argument?  Well thats not necissarily true.  There are private roadways.  The government building of the interstate system affected whether the private market did so.  I think if there was sufficient demand for such a thing (which I believe there was), it would have been built.  And more importantly the costs would have been distributed to those who use it, isntead of the current inefficient system.

Actually the fact that such highways exist disproves your certanty.
Not really.  You said that if there was sufficient demand for such a thing, which you believe there was, it would have been built, with costs distributed to those who use it.  But that wasn't done, the government had to do it.  Sure there is demand NOW, because everyone uses Interstates.  But there wasn't THEN.  The government built it, and now it gets used.

Your last line there makes no sense.

One big difference to point out to the proponents of this plan is that, from what I know of Europe, with most of the cities connected by HSR, it is relatively easy to get around without a car once you step off the rail.  It isn't that way with cities in America.  Travelling within a large city without a car here in America is either a pain in the ass, expensive, or both.  For that reason alone, many people in America will continue to drive those particular journeys rather than take the rail.  Even if the travel time between cities is quicker and more comfortable on the HSR, travel within the cities is easier with your car.  Where the difference would lie is with people who travel by plane, because they would face the same difficulties WITHIN the cities as the rail riders.  So if the HSR would be cheaper, faster, and more convenient than a plane ride, then it would be successful.

My two cents, from someone who lives in a small NC town which will never, ever have to deal with this particular issue.
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Offline GuineaPig

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #190 on: November 05, 2011, 07:25:55 AM »
I wouldn't be surprised if later in the HSR development they add suburban stations to LA, San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego, etc. and make them with plenty of parking space.  The fastest HSR services would skip those stations, but then slower services that make every stop could still serve those commuters/travelers. 

Japan (unlike France, or Germany, or other HSR services) has lots of suburban stops because of their population density, and an absolute ton of commuters (because of how expensive downtown Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka are).  So they roll out these suckers; 1,600 seats per train, about the equivalent of 1000 cars worth of commuters.  I can see a service like that being desirable. 
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Offline Super Dude

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #191 on: November 05, 2011, 07:41:57 AM »
The Chunnel is awesome. Just sayin'.
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Offline livehard

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #192 on: November 05, 2011, 10:59:47 AM »
Not really.  You said that if there was sufficient demand for such a thing, which you believe there was, it would have been built, with costs distributed to those who use it.  But that wasn't done, the government had to do it.  Sure there is demand NOW, because everyone uses Interstates.  But there wasn't THEN.  The government built it, and now it gets used.

Your last line there makes no sense.

No, the existance for interstates doesn't create demand for people to travel great distances...  It allows people to do so... but it doesn't create demand.  You can't possibly think that there wouldnt have been demand for highways when people started to get cars...?

My last sentance makes perfect sense.  He said the interstate system would not exist if we were to only have private enterprise build highways.  I said the existance that there are private highways shows that it is most definitely possible that a private interstate system could exist...

Quote
One big difference to point out to the proponents of this plan is that, from what I know of Europe, with most of the cities connected by HSR, it is relatively easy to get around without a car once you step off the rail.  It isn't that way with cities in America.  Travelling within a large city without a car here in America is either a pain in the ass, expensive, or both.

Not really... If youre talking about the capitals, but take a look at NYC- everybody uses the subways.ng a car pretty much inhibits your ability to get around... 

Quote
So if the HSR would be cheaper, faster, and more convenient than a plane ride, then it would be successful.

Ya ive been saying this all along.  If the costs (Dollar cost, time, convenience) are lower people will take it...

But take a look at the monorail Miami built.  They thought that was a great idea, they touted is convenience, how many jobs it'll create/bring, basically all that crap you hear politicians say about these projects.  However, it was almost an immediate failure. NOBODY uses it.

Offline GuineaPig

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #193 on: November 05, 2011, 11:13:39 AM »
Wow, Miami has pathetic public transport.


I just looked this up, and it's sort of sad: Montréal (3.6 million metro population, 854/km^2 density) has the third highest gross public transit usage in North America, after New York City (19 million, 1085/km^2) and Mexico City (20.5 million, 2784/km^2).  Miami's metropolitan population is 2 million more than Montréal, but their single day record for metro ridership is one-tenth of Montréal's daily average.  That's pathetic.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2011, 11:18:41 AM by GuineaPig »
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Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #194 on: November 05, 2011, 02:50:59 PM »
No, the existance for interstates doesn't create demand for people to travel great distances...  It allows people to do so... but it doesn't create demand.  You can't possibly think that there wouldnt have been demand for highways when people started to get cars...?
Well, yes that's what I think.  Because that is what history bears witness to.  There was no interstate system for over 50 years after the invention of the automobile, and even then it wasn't because demand caused an entrepeneur to produce it, it's because the government built it.

My last sentance makes perfect sense.  He said the interstate system would not exist if we were to only have private enterprise build highways.  I said the existance that there are private highways shows that it is most definitely possible that a private interstate system could exist...
Yeah, you said that, but it doesn't make any sense, because there is no evidence for it.  If a private interstate system could exist, it would.
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Offline eric42434224

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #195 on: November 05, 2011, 04:39:22 PM »
Oh shit, you're right!

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Offline rumborak

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #196 on: November 05, 2011, 09:22:27 PM »
No, the existance for interstates doesn't create demand for people to travel great distances...  It allows people to do so... but it doesn't create demand.  You can't possibly think that there wouldnt have been demand for highways when people started to get cars...?
Well, yes that's what I think.  Because that is what history bears witness to.  There was no interstate system for over 50 years after the invention of the automobile, and even then it wasn't because demand caused an entrepeneur to produce it, it's because the government built it.

My last sentance makes perfect sense.  He said the interstate system would not exist if we were to only have private enterprise build highways.  I said the existance that there are private highways shows that it is most definitely possible that a private interstate system could exist...
Yeah, you said that, but it doesn't make any sense, because there is no evidence for it.  If a private interstate system could exist, it would.

This, yeah. The German Autobahn system (after which the Interstate system is modeled) had existed for over 20 years, with no private entity doing a similar road system in the US. Eisenhower then started a federal program that inaugurated the Interstate system.
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Offline livehard

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #197 on: November 06, 2011, 08:20:50 AM »
My last sentance makes perfect sense.  He said the interstate system would not exist if we were to only have private enterprise build highways.  I said the existance that there are private highways shows that it is most definitely possible that a private interstate system could exist...
Yeah, you said that, but it doesn't make any sense, because there is no evidence for it.  If a private interstate system could exist, it would.
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Offline Dark Castle

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #198 on: November 06, 2011, 11:21:44 AM »
My last sentance makes perfect sense.  He said the interstate system would not exist if we were to only have private enterprise build highways.  I said the existance that there are private highways shows that it is most definitely possible that a private interstate system could exist...
Yeah, you said that, but it doesn't make any sense, because there is no evidence for it.  If a private interstate system could exist, it would.
There private highways!
Which are grossly outnumbered by non-private highways.

Offline Super Dude

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #199 on: November 06, 2011, 11:22:48 AM »
I thought we just established the interstate is government-created?
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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #200 on: November 06, 2011, 11:25:57 AM »
I thought we just established the interstate is government-created?
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Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #201 on: November 06, 2011, 03:45:07 PM »
My last sentance makes perfect sense.  He said the interstate system would not exist if we were to only have private enterprise build highways.  I said the existance that there are private highways shows that it is most definitely possible that a private interstate system could exist...
Yeah, you said that, but it doesn't make any sense, because there is no evidence for it.  If a private interstate system could exist, it would.
There private highways!
Which is not a private interstate system.
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Offline livehard

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #202 on: November 06, 2011, 04:23:08 PM »
In a free maket the fact that it would cross state lines doest mean anything a road is a road.

Offline Scheavo

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #203 on: November 06, 2011, 05:08:32 PM »
 :facepalm:


The free market didn't create an interstate system, and it showed no signs that it would create an interstate system. In the real world, it DOES matter if roads cross state lines, because it's extremely relevant to our economy, and the interstate highway system.

Offline livehard

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #204 on: November 06, 2011, 06:13:02 PM »
:facepalm:


The free market didn't create an interstate system, and it showed no signs that it would create an interstate system. In the real world, it DOES matter if roads cross state lines, because it's extremely relevant to our economy, and the interstate highway system.

Why do you think i said it created an interstate system?  The fact that the private market hasnt created a competing i-95 doesnt mean that if there was no i-95 the private market wouldnt create an alternative

Offline Scheavo

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #205 on: November 06, 2011, 06:22:29 PM »
I never said that you said it created an interstate system... I said that the free-market didn't create an interstate system, which is why we had to create one. There was no i-95, and the market did not create an alternative.


Offline GuineaPig

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #206 on: November 23, 2011, 08:11:54 AM »
Just doing a little research, and I found a very good reason why governments should invest more in rail lines than highways:

The capacity of a double-tracked segment of rail for commuter purposes (1,300 capacity/train, 30 trains/hour) is 39,000 people/hour/direction.
The capacity of a double-tracked segment of rail for high-speed purposes (1,600 capacity/train, 15 trains/hour) is 24,000 people/hour/direction.
The capacity of an eighteen-lane highway (nine lanes each way, 1.2 people per car) is 20,000 people/hour/direction.
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Offline El Barto

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #207 on: November 23, 2011, 08:25:24 AM »
Just doing a little research, and I found a very good reason why governments should invest more in rail lines than highways:

The capacity of a double-tracked segment of rail for commuter purposes (1,300 capacity/train, 30 trains/hour) is 39,000 people/hour/direction.
The capacity of a double-tracked segment of rail for high-speed purposes (1,600 capacity/train, 15 trains/hour) is 24,000 people/hour/direction.
The capacity of an eighteen-lane highway (nine lanes each way, 1.2 people per car) is 20,000 people/hour/direction.
That doesn't take into consideration the greatly improved capacity of the highway system around the same time the rail lines are completed. 
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Offline bosk1

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #208 on: November 23, 2011, 08:30:11 AM »
Just doing a little research, and I found a very good reason why governments should invest more in rail lines than highways:

The capacity of a double-tracked segment of rail for commuter purposes (1,300 capacity/train, 30 trains/hour) is 39,000 people/hour/direction.
The capacity of a double-tracked segment of rail for high-speed purposes (1,600 capacity/train, 15 trains/hour) is 24,000 people/hour/direction.
The capacity of an eighteen-lane highway (nine lanes each way, 1.2 people per car) is 20,000 people/hour/direction.

Again, all well and good, but still does nothing to prove that people would actually use it anywhere near capacity.
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Offline Super Dude

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Re: Why "high-speed rail" is dumb.
« Reply #209 on: November 23, 2011, 08:55:54 AM »
I mean, I don't know anything about California and its populations, but if the MBTA is any indication, it can over time become a convenience that eventually no one will imagine they lived without it.
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