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What US High-Speed Rail Should Look Like (Map)

US high-speed rail (HSR) is a dream of many, including President Obama and Vice President Biden. The Obama administration and Congress dedicated a good bit of funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 for high-speed rail in locations across the US. This excited a good number of people, but there’s no denying that the funding was probably a few decades late and far too little to get US transportation systems to where they need to be. Could Obama have gotten Congress to put more into HSR? Who knows. But at least he got what he did.

Billions of dollars are now being used or will be used to help upgrade and expand rail lines in the US. The overall, generalized vision, as presented by the Obama administration, is this:

vision-for-high-speed-rail-united-states-of-america

Better than what we have, that’s for sure. But high-speed rail advocate and map creator Alfred Twu recently decided to create a US high-speed rail dream map that paints an even much more ambitious picture. Here’s that map:

US-High-Speed-Rail-System-by-FirstCultural-2013-02-03

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Writing in the Guardian, Twu comments:

I created this US High Speed Rail Map as a composite of several proposed maps from 2009, when government agencies and advocacy groups were talking big about rebuilding America’s train system.

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.

For more reflections from Twu, his recounting of some of the many reactions to the map that he has read, and some high-speed rail mythbusting, check out the Guardian piece: A US high speed rail network shouldn’t just be a dream.