Map Shows What US-Wide High Speed Rail Might Look Like

US High Speed Rail Map
CC BY-SA 3.0 California Rail Map

We Can Dream, Can't We?

Alfred Twu, a high-speed rail activist and mapmaker, has created the map above, showing what a cross-country high-speed rail network might look like in the United States. Mr. Twu describes his map-making process this way:

Having worked on getting California's high speed rail approved in the 2008 elections, I've long sung the economic and environmental benefits of fast trains.

This latest map comes more from the heart. It speaks more to bridging regional and urban-rural divides than about reducing airport congestion or even creating jobs, although it would likely do that as well.

Instead of detailing construction phases and service speeds, I took a little artistic license and chose colors and linked lines to celebrate America's many distinct but interwoven regional cultures. (source)

You can see a high-resolution version of the map here, and there's a PDF version here.

Compare it with what is currently being planned in the US, according to the Federal Railroad Administration:

FRA/Public Domain

Of course, it's easier and cheaper to dream up maps than to build an actual high-speed rail network, and there are arguments against building high speed passenger rail in areas of low population density (if you're going to build something, it might sometimes make more sense to beef up cargo rail, since a lot more goods can be stacked up in a train than passengers), but the current US rail system is definitely inadequate and needs massive investment.

Via California Rail Map, Federal Railroad Administration, FastCompany

See also: Beautiful Time-Scale Transit Maps by Peter Dunn

Tags: Trains | Transportation