Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Future of Transportation

Ford builds a car that gets 65mpg but won't sell it in the U.S. for "marketing" reasons. Ford will sell the car in Europe where gas prices may now be the equivalent of fifteen United States dollars per gallon. That's almost five times more than the average here in America, even though the U.S. uses much more barrels of oil per day. Europe uses much less fuel in cars because they have an amazing public transportation system and many people don't even own a car. Buses, subways, trams, trolleys, and high speed railroads are all in use in Europe, and have been around many years.

Why doesn’t this type of public transportation exist in America? The biggest cost in constructing a high speed railway system in America is the infrastructure. The civil engineering. Buying all of the land for the tracks to run on. Most people will be surprised to hear that this crucial step has already been completed. So where is all this land the railway tracks will go? Easy. Four-lane divided highways are the perfect solution. Take half of that divided highway and convert it to two tracks for bullet trains going opposite directions. Take the other half of the highway and paint a double yellow line down the center of it for whatever remaining cars there are and for service vehicles to use. Now Americans can pay their yearly travel pass of $2500 to $3000 and travel anywhere in America. At first $2500 to $3000 is a pretty steep upfront fee. But think about it and how much money would actually be saved by doing it this way: no car insurance, no gas, no car repairs. You could take several trips from coast to coast if you wanted. The possibilities are endless.

What keeps this from happening right now? Money. Not the cost to build the
system, but the money that people have invested in the oil and automobile
industries. The rich will do anything to stay that way and keep other people from becoming rich. The businessmen who have tons of money invested into oil pay lawmakers to keep these railroads and such from happening because it would make them bankrupt.

However, the day will come when a change will be forced upon America. Extremely high gas prices ($15/gallon) or lack of oil/gas altogether, whichever comes first, will force American's to quite driving and invest in public transportation methods. This will happen in our lifetimes.

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