Saturday, April 18, 2009

Why don't we have this in the States yet?

Peeps have been talking about this for ages and I've been on the bandwagon for a minute. But after taking a high speed train last weekend I'm now in bopper mode.

Using the Shinkansen, or high speed bullet train, I was able to travel about 350 miles (~distance from SF to LA, NY to Boston) in under 3 hours, all while being able to eat, sleep, drink, use the bathroom, walk around, listen to music (was finally able to peep Sanguine Sunday's Episode 8, Transportation, which fit the task at hand) take pictures, read and have (slightly overpriced) food sold to me.

While a bit pricey, it's still cheaper than an airplane. Plus you don't have to put up with security check (or grumpy security check workers), checking luggage (or losing luggage), restrictions on phone and electronics or not being able to carry liquids on board. And you can also buy just before boarding without having to worry about an inflated price.

There's benefit to society too. According to the very credible, afore-linked Wikipedia article:
The Shinkansen has had a great effect on Japan's business, economy, society, environment and culture. The time savings alone from switching from a conventional to a high-speed network have been estimated at 400 million hours, an economic impact of ¥ 500 billion per year. Shinkansen connectivity has regenerated rural towns such as Kakegawa that would otherwise be too distant from major cities. Travelling Tokyo-Osaka by Shinkansen produces only around 16% of the carbon dioxide of the equivalent journey by car, a savings of 15,000 tons of CO2 a per year.
No seriously, why don't we have this in the states yet? It's not like it's new. They've been around for over 40 years now.

Thankfully Obama is also on the bandwagon.


  1. No secret as to why. In Japan, oil execs don't lobby government officials against advancements in transportation.

  2. Supposedly Obama is looking to get the ball rolling on this in the states. It will be a few years out tho.

    - G.

  3. @Omagus - Preach!

    @Anonymous - Yeah, it'll take some time but we gotta start somewhere!