Thursday, May 14, 2009

Alternative Transportation ... ALL ABOARD!!

Just finished reading Plan B v. 3.0 by Lester R. Brown from the Earth Policy Institute. It was an interesting book, and he puts emphasis on certain points that are interesting to me. While taking a look at the usage of energy, consumption of consumer products, and transportation he also addresses ways that the States can change its ways to become more energy efficient, produce less consumer waste and use alternate energy in a fashion which will reduce reliance on oil & gas.
I especially was interested in the alternate transportation. In Alberta (aka. Canada’s Texas), we have a large reliance on automobiles. Our cities are designed around them and sprawl could be the alternate name for both Edmonton and Calgary. The true waste is using the best farmland in the world to put ugly homes upon. This is one of the oldest arguments in Edmonton and Calgary and the Michael Phair’s / Tooker Gomberg’s have used this argument time and time again, but big (housing) industry wins out all the time.
But I digress. Alternative transportation technology is here, and can be possible at this very minute, and while Europe and Asia is utilizing this technology, North America is lagging behind. So much for “west is best”.

High speed trains have the capability of running over 500km/hour speeds. Average speed time in Europe and Asia is roughly 250km/hour. This means that travel between Edmonton and Calgary could be accomplished in less than 1 ½ hours including embarking and disembarking. Existing tracks can be used AND a stop between in Red Deer is feasible. Next thing you know is high speed transit between Edmonton and Vancouver, and Vancouver to Ontario using existing track.

Map Between Edmonton & Calgary ... 298km of wasted time

View Larger Map

Often, the complaint is that people want to use their cars to get around once in the other city. However, if the train stations are set-up in a way to be accessible to city public transport in the same station, ease of getting around will be increased. This may have an added benefit of increased tourism, as people can relax and read the paper & have coffee on the train and then take the light rail transit or busses to their final destination. No longer would there be 3-5 hour long car trips and then the navigation of strange cities.

I can imagine it now….
A relaxing train trip from Edmonton to Calgary while reading a book to my little seedling. Getting there and taking the bus to the zoo. Visit family afterwards for supper and then taking the train back home in time to get seedling to bed and watching the new Criminal Minds on TV...

No comments: