Where HSR Works Best?

A new study from America 2050,  a national initiative to meet the infrastructure, economic development and environmental challenges of the nation as we prepare to add about 130 million additional Americans by the year 2050, recently published a report that looks at city pairs to determine the best locations to utilize HSR.

The whole report can be found here.

An interesting fact concerning trips in the southern California region are:

“There is also significant intercity travel in California; however, it is currently dominated by air and private auto trips. There are nearly 200 daily flights between Los Angeles metro airports (LAX, ONT, SNA) and the airports in the San Francisco Bay area (SFO, OAK, SJC). This is in addition to the scores of other daily flights between other cities in these megaregions including San Diego and Los Angeles to Las Vegas and Sacramento.” (page 4)

The energy savings and pollution that could be mitigated from having a working HSR network between in LAX, ONT, and SNA to SFO, OAK, and SJC seems almost too good to be true.  If it would be possible to reduce the 200 daily flights between the northern and southern California, the cost benefit for a HSR network or maintain the status quo would be very interesting to review.

The report sets forth 5 criteria when trying to determine why the connections between some cities through a HSR is better than others.  Those categories are

1. Metropolitan Size

2. Distance

3. Transit Connections

4. Economic Productivity

5. Congestion

Based off those criteria New York-Washington HSR had a perfect score of 100.

Of the top 50 connections that need to be made, the following were:


City Pair


Los Angeles-San Francisco



Los Angeles-San Diego



Los Angeles-San Jose



Los Angeles-Phoenix



Las Vegas-Los Angeles



Los Angeles-Sacramento


The new rankings show the importance of the Orangline not  just to increase mobility when the north south HSR connection is built, but because it could be the first critical step in creating the Los Angeles – San Diego connection or increase interest for the creation.


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