What Travel Could Look Like if the U.S. Had High-Speed Rail

Jens Schlueter - Pool/Getty Images
Jens Schlueter - Pool/Getty Images / Jens Schlueter - Pool/Getty Images

In terms of train infrastructure, the U.S. is behind the rest of the world. The Industrial Revolution was built on railroads, but by the time the interstate highway system came along, trains were left in the dust. Amtrak currently only has one high-speed rail route, the Acela Express between Boston and Washington D.C., and that has a maximum speed of just 150 miles per hour—with an average speed less than 70 miles per hour. That means it's slower than all but the most law-abiding cars on the freeway.

Meanwhile, Shanghai’s bullet trains can travel at speeds of up to 267 miles per hour, and Italian high-speed trains go up to 220 miles per hour. Much of Europe is connected by various high-speed train lines that can shuttle people across borders in just a few hours.

As exciting as it is to dream of a Hyperloop, the technology to make rail travel far more convenient already exists, and other countries have been implementing it for years. What would it look like if the U.S. had this kind of transportation network? Perhaps a little something like this:

Screenshot via Business Insider

Business Insider

illustrates how high-speed rail could criss-cross the country in the graphic above, using a plan from the US High Speed Rail Association. The association proposes a 17,000-mile network of bullet trains connecting the country's biggest metropolises.

You can check out BI's full animation on the potential future of high-speed rail here

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