18 June 2011

Doing What Most Americans Can't

I'M TAKING A high speed train to Paris in the morning. Most Americans can't do that. Not go to Paris, but take a high speed train. I read an article about the lack of train usage in the US and found the following among the interesting parts:
Ohio and Florida—both of which unfortunately rejected rail funding—are about as dense as France, a world leader in high-speed rail. Illinois, Virginia, and North Carolina sit one density level down, but are on par with Spain and Austria, both of which host high-speed rail.
The chart I included is hard to read, but is basically represents this: the top two panels show population density where the darker the shade of blue the more people there are per square mile. The bottom two panels reflect areas where this is a network of high speed trains.

The US is far bigger and spread out than Europe, that is for sure. But it seems clear there are regions that mirror European geography and demographics where rail could be a real solution to the transportation problems that plague many parts of the country. Of course, much of it comes down to culture and we are not train travelers anymore. Much like we do not take buses unless we absolutely have to. What a shame.

I'll be in Paris and Grenoble for a week marking the written Bac and examining students in the oral phase of the exam. Always a very tiring, but fun time.

No comments :