Two-Thirds Of Americans Would Utilize High-Speed Rail If It Was Available

Nearly two-thirds of all Americans would use high-speed rail if it was available, based on the findings of a new survey from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). To be more exact here, 63% of those surveyed stated an interests in utilizing high-speed rail service if it was available.

Also worth noting here is that this number jumped 4% to 67% when survey respondents were given information detailing cost + time savings benefits accompanying high-speed rail use.



“People want high-speed rail in America and we are seeing support among various ages and in different regions of the country regardless of political party,” stated APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy. “In addition, the millennial generation and younger adults will lead the way with their preferences to have a multi-modal transportation system that supports their lifestyle. It is critical that we include implementation of high-speed rail as we look to plan for the nation’s future transportation needs.”

The survey — conducted by TechnoMetrica — found that:

  • 71% of Millennials (18-44 in age) were interested in using high-speed rail from the get-go.
  • This figure jumped to 76% after detailing potential cost + time savings.
  • 58% of self-identified Republicans were interested from the get-go. This figure climbed notably to 65% after detailing potential cost + time savings.
  • A similar jump held true for self-identified Independents — with an initial figure of 61% that climbed to 67% following an explanation of potential cost + time savings.
  • This jump was less true of self-identified Democrats — who tallied initially as 73% interested, and 75% following the provision of potential cost + time savings information.

“A high-speed rail network will have a tremendous benefit to our entire transportation system,” stated Melaniphy. “It will enable America’s air, rail, bus, ferry and highway systems to each function effectively and efficiently as we face a dramatic population growth that adds more travelers than our current capacity can accommodate.”

The survey also found that 71% of those surveyed are in support of the reduction of regulatory hurdles for the development of real-estate development near high-speed rail.

“High-speed rail not only provides a great transportation option, but the public’s interest in amenities near high-speed rail stations is another way to create economic growth and jobs in local communities across the country,” stated Melaniphy. “If we have strong investment in high-speed rail, it will be an opportunity to generate real-estate and land use income for the private sector as well as local tax revenue for communities for decades to come.”

The survey comprised 1,005 interviews, with those selected via a random digit dial sample of both landline and cell phone numbers.

21 thoughts on “Two-Thirds Of Americans Would Utilize High-Speed Rail If It Was Available

  1. You can get people to agree with you if you lie to them. Time and cost savings compared to what? Add in time to drive to station, wait margin, car rental and drive to destination, and savings evaporate to about 80 mph average speed for 300 mph high speed rail. Meanwhile, plane is more than 130 mph average speed AND cost less. Tell the truth that high speed rail will be slower and lot more expensive AND they’ll pay for it with taxes whether they ride or not year after year (like Amtrak), and they wouldn’t want it.

    Far better would be to have smart EV highway. I don’t know why many in US continue to want to emulate backwards Europe and Asia with tons of money. Instead, we should look forward when we clearly have superior technology: EV.

    1. Um, no. Absolute nonsense.

      High speed rail is significantly faster than airplanes for short hops between big cities, which is what most people do most of the time — on those short hops, your airplane trip is *dominated* by time spent getting to and from the airports at each end, with another hour lost to security. Time to drive to the station is typically much, much shorter, because train stations are typically located in cities, while airports are located out in the middle of nowhere.

      Versus cars, the advantages of high speed rail are (a) you don’t have to drive, and (b) you are not caught in the endless congestion surrounding major cities. And the congestion is permanent: you can’t get rid of it, you can’t widen the roads fast enough.

      High speed rail is not useful for rural areas. And it is not terribly useful for very long distances (like NY to LA). But for LA-San Francisco or New York-DC or Detroit-Chicago or Houston-Dallas or even NY-Chicago, it is very useful, faster than driving, competitive with flying and more comfortable, and will be exceedingly popular if built.

      1. Did you read my post or are you just regurgitating brainwash? If you think LA-SF is quicker with train than plane, especially when the train must make dozen or more stops, obviously you have no clue. And just one bomb going off in high speed train or tracks will cause just as much pat downs as in airports.

        As for China and other countries, most are losing money on high speed rail, not to mention most of their cities are not car dominated like in US. To emulate transport suited for such high density to US is nonsense. As you point out, it doesn’t make sense for rural areas, and much of US urban areas (aka sprawl) is like rural Asia / Europe, especially west of Mississippi river.

        Even worse, HSR diverting money and attention away from truly beneficial transport will result in more harm to the environment and dumbing down of our collective intelligence. High speed rail is 19th century technology; been there, done that. Even hyperloop is 19th Century. EV with smart EV highway is the future with planes for long distance travel.

      2. “High speed rail is not useful for rural areas. And it is not terribly useful for very long distances (like NY to LA)”

        Well – I guess that depends on what type of high speed rail you’re talking about. If you want something that would be useful for cross country travel then a Mag – Lev system would be awesome – I would elevate it right over the interstate highways and sell it as a luxury travel option – see the country from treetop level whizzing by at 350 mph. I believe it would spark a lot of interest.

        1. “see the country from treetop level whizzing by at 350 mph” is fine as a Disneyland ride. But if it costs $1,200,000,000,000 to build (roughly $4000 per person), and each ride cost more than driving / plane, I doubt you’d want to have it. There’s also the danger from terrorists (eg. Tim McVey) damaging the such wide expanse of a rail system, which will require far more expensive solutions than planes.

          All that money could be better spent elsewhere as I outline in my blog post.

          1. Admittedly – cost is a big concern as it was when they built the Panama Canal but that didn’t stop them and costs can be subsidized or deferred over decades. Japan already has Mag/Lev lines up and running – they managed to get them built so why can’t we?
            The idea is not to compete with the airlines for long distance travel (because that would be stupid) but to offer non business travelers, tourists and families a more attractive alternative than slow crowded and inconvenient bus rides and almost as slow and slightly more convenient train rides – assuming that these people have already decided against travelling by camper or car.
            Something much faster than either bus, car or train and while not as fast as flying , something much more hassle free at around the same cost as flying or slightly more.
            Whether this could be accomplished is anybody’s guess … just an idea.

          2. Comparing high speed rail (HSR) to Panama Canal is wrong. Since planes are faster, more apt comparison would be

            Plane = power ships, 40 knots
            Train = Sailing ships, 10 knots
            Cars = Horse/buggy, 10 knots
            HSR = Sailing ships with more sails, 12 knots

            Smart EV highway = Panama Canal

            Rail is old tech, regardless of how many sails are put on it.

            Contrary to propaganda, HSR is comparable speed as cars when you factor in drive from/to station, wait margin, etc. See my blog to see why that’s the case.

            If HSR has significant ridership, it will attract nutjobs with bombs. If (when?) one bomb goes off in HSR, it will result in as much security lines as airports. Worse, entire length of the track will have to be secured at far higher cost. It’s a gift that you keep having to pay more and more.

      3. A short hop is Chicago to Minneapolis – the “high speed rail” proposals I have seen for that come out to about 7 hours for the trip. By the time you make a dozen stops along the way. Same as driving except more expensive, less comfortable, and you don’t have a car when you get there. Same as flying except so much slower and probably more expensive (Amtrak certainly is). Factoring in waiting for the train, delays, and the TSA checkpoints (they WOULD be coming), it is even worse.

        Nobody is talking about putting in a mag lev anywhere, not even on the eastern seaboard. They are talking about heavy rail using existing amtrak routes and branding it as “high speed” because it sounds better than the amtrak garbage nobody uses now.

        1. This is it exactly. The speed is at best comparable to travel by car, so what is my time savings? Is that how they defined high-speed before asking people?

          Cause I “would be interested in high-speed rail”, but only if I could get from Columbus to Chicago in something like three hours (I can be generous and allow four as a ceiling), for something on the order of $15 a ticket.

          Otherwise, with a family of six, it’s cheaper for me to put everyone in our van, tank up the car twice, and not have to worry about a rental when I get there, and the drive is only about six hours.

  2. Lets get real America, let the young minds take their place and the old farts go find a ricking chair. I would use it to go out to Pacific Northwest. Move On America

  3. Really?? — Now would this be a high-speed rail system that would charge passengers for the true cost of the service? OR, would this high-speed rail system be tax-payer subsidized like EVERY other high-speed rail system in the world???

        1. For cars, public road and traffic lights are subsidized, just to name a few.

          But most people use the road to drive and walk and so on. Passenger rail, high speed or not, are not used by most people. In fact, even rail users must use cars and roads to get from/to stations while car users don’t need passenger rail at all. ALL the needs of rail passengers can be served by planes, cheaper and quicker.

          Then why have high speed rail? At least in CA, it comes down to paying politically connected cronies. While the political left cry about the evils of Wall Street, many actively champion equally (or more) evil high speed rail.

          1. Right….and all the road use, gas and diesel taxes are used for??? General Fund? NOoooo….the Highway Trust Fund subsidies many non-highway uses as designated by crooked politicians for the benefit of their cronies….The only cars I know that are subsidized was the insane Cash for Clunkers scam, and the wonderfully failed electric car scheme….But hey, please do continue living in Liberal La,La land.

          2. Regardless of source, roads etc are subsidized. Another subsidy is to oil producers while taxing the consumers (more you than me). While overall effect on gas price may be benign, something doesn’t sit right when money is taken from individuals to give to oil companies. But then, that’s the sour taste we may have to live with to reduce paying ISIS and Putin when we use oil.


            If you think people who don’t want to support ISIS and Putin to be liberal, I’m firmly in La La land. Meanwhile, since you like paying them, perhaps you should consider cutting out the middlemen and move to Syria, Russia, or Venezuela.

            Failed EV? Growth of EV have been pretty spectacular. There was 0 EV only 4 years ago.

  4. I would use it. On a smaller scale the Federal government offered the state of Louisiana money to build a high speed rail between Baton Rouge and New Orleans and the governor turned the money down because he doesn’t like President Obama.

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