Where High Speed Rail Makes the Most Sense

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The ongoing debate over high-speed rail generates heated passions on all sides. Those opposed see high-speed rail as too costly and the U.S. as lacking the density to make the numbers work. Those in favor argue that high-speed rail is a way to move the U.S. to smarter, more energy-efficient transportation alternatives. My own take is that high-speed rail offers a mechanism to both expand and intensify the use of urban space leading to what geographers call a new "spatial fix" - required, I would add, to spur long-run economic recovery.

Here's some useful analysis by America 2050 which can help advance the dialogue. Its new  report uses six factors - population, economic output, distance between cities, quality of local transit networks, highway congestion, and mega-region designation - to rank the top 50 routes across the U.S. (via Planetizen and Infrastructurist).

high speed rail routes.gif

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Richard Florida is Senior Editor at The Atlantic and Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto. See his most recent writing at The Atlantic Cities. More

Florida is author of The Rise of the Creative Class, Who's Your City?, and The Great Reset. He is founder of the Creative Class Group.

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