High-Speed Transportation

By: Scott St. Lifer

Planes, trains and automobiles remain the primary means of transportation internationally. But imagine traveling 125 mph from Miami to Orlando on a high-speed rail line. Other countries offer high-speed rail, so why not the United States?

In Japan, maglev trains travel as fast as 370 mph. The key to the high speeds comes from the lack of tracks. Rather than using tracks to guide the trains, maglev trains use magnetized guideways that keep the train afloat. This friction-less movement allows the trains to reach higher speeds.

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A bullet train, known as “shinkansen” in Japanese, travels in Japan. The trains travel up to 370 mph. Photo from Gizmodo http://gizmodo.com/why-japan-s-bullet-train-will-finally-bring-high-speed-1707615418?sidebar_promotions_icons=testingoff&utm_expid=66866090-67.e9PWeE2DSnKObFD7vNEoqg.1&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com

European countries also have high-speed rails but not to the speed of the trains in Japan. Most of the trains in Europe travel around 130 mph, but some reach close to 200 mph. The trains offer quick travel to people in most of western Europe and extend into Sweden and Hungary. Costs to ride the train range from five to 30 Euros (approximately $5.30 and $31.80 respectively).

Vast geography within the U.S. and lengthy distances make it difficult to build here. The American rail lines such as Amtrak lack in comparison to that of its high-speed counterparts. The trains travel over 100 mph but not to the speed of the bullet trains in Europe and Japan. Lack of government funding from states has made it difficult for high-speed trains to make ground in the U.S. Some states such as California, Florida and Texas have proposed plans to build high-speed rails through private funding. The plan in Florida is to have a rail from Miami to Orlando traveling around 125 mph. This service is expected to begin in 2017, according to CNN.

I believe high-speed rails in the United States would make for easier travel with less hassle than traveling through an airport. They would also save time in comparison to traveling by car. The technology is available, as seen in Europe and Japan, now it is time for the U.S. to embrace it.

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