The number of countries running high-speed rail is expected to double over the next few years, according to new research by the Worldwatch Institute. By 2014, high-speed trains will be operating in nearly 24 countries, including China, France, Italy, Japan, Spain, and the United States, up from only 14 countries today. The increase in HSR is due largely to its reliability and ability to cover vast geographic distances in a short time….
It was an easy walk from our downtown Madrid hotel to the train station. In less than 3 hours on high-speed rail, we crossed the country to Barcelona. I looked out the window as we traveled at 185 miles per hour leaving the hot plains for the cooler Mediterranean. Traveling car free made the vacation relaxed, talking with locals easy, and neighborhoods a joy to walk. Exciting new last mile transit solutions are used by millions including bicycle sharing, P2P car sharing, personal rapid transit, and pilots of new urban mobility
People take hundreds of million electric rides each year in California. The big news is not the electric car drivers or those happily screaming on Disneyland rides; the larger story is network of connected electric rail, buses with cutting edge electric drive systems, and electric cars. Currently California leads the nation with 25,000 electric cars on the road and thousands of new electric charge stations are scheduled for installation. Hundreds of millions of rides are taken on electrified light-rail and commuter rail. Zero emission buses are on the roads. Renewable energy is growing by gigawatts.
In the United States, we embarrassingly have more vehicles than people with driver’s licenses. AAA estimates that it costs $8,000 per year for each car owned, which creates a financial burden on cash-strapped Americans. To the rescue are 10 positive trends that helped Americans scrap 14 million cars in 2009, while only buying 10.5 million new ones. Ownership is declining because of 10 factors including urban density, transit, employer programs, and intermodal intelligence.
As London readies for record numbers for the 2012 Olympic Games, Heathrow airport is installing a personal rapid transit in the form of six seat cars that take you from terminal to parking garage on dedicated pathways. By 2015, San Jose plans to have a more extensive PRT system that connects major hubs within two miles of the airport including connections to VTA bus rapid transit, Caltrain rail to Silicon Valley and San Francisco, major hotels, major employers, and the Kiss N Ride lot. By the end of the decade, connections will be added to BART and the new 800 mile California High-Speed Rail system.
The transportation industry is beginning the biggest transformation since Henry Ford started making cars affordable for the mass market. Engines powered by petroleum fuels are being replaced with electric motors powered by renewable energy. A growing amount of goods movement is by rail and moving people by high-speed rail. A portfolio of companies that participate in these long-term trends comprise the portfolio of Invesco PowerShares Global Transportation.
A central transportation hub in California is the Diridon Station in San Jose. In ten years, the Diridon Station is likely to see high volumes of travelers as high-speed rail shuttles people to and from San Francisco in 30 minutes. Intermodal transportation is likely to include light-rail, bus rapid transit, zero-emission buses, people-movers, and electric vehicles.
Despite falling gas prices and an economic recession, increasing numbers of Americans took 10.7 billion trips on public transportation in 2008, the highest level of ridership in 52 years and a modern ridership record, according to a report released today by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).
Fiona Ma was nervous about getting on a train that was about to set a world speed record. Just before Easter 2007 in the countryside outside Paris, she saw the people lining the green and flowered route. The French were flying flags, waving, and cheering. Less reassuring were those of faith who crossed themselves as the new train accelerated past 200 miles per hour. The people blurred into a collage of spring time colors. The train vibrated much as when a jet plane roars down the runway and starts to ascend. Fiona hoped that this train would not leave the tracks.