Where High Speed Rail Makes the Most Sense

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 Co-founder and Editor at Large of CityLab.com and Senior Editor at The Atlantic. He is director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto and Global Research Professor at NYU. More

Florida is author of The Rise of the Creative Class, Who's Your City?, and The Great Reset. He's also the founder of the Creative Class Group, and a list of his current clients can be found here.

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