Sunday, September 6, 2009

Need for Speed

I can't stop myself. Srsly.

After reviewing my first try at designing a HSR network, I realized I was somewhat over-eager in drawing lines. I decided to represent the top cities visually instead of working off a list.

Cities are colored as follows:

  • Red - top 20 metro areas, 37% of the population, cutoff at 2.67m
  • Cyan - next 20 metro areas, 50% cumulative total of the population, cutoff at 1.32m
  • Green - next 20 metro areas, 56% cumulative total of the population, cutoff at 830k
  • Magenta - next 40 metro areas, 65% cumulative total of the population, cutoff at 500k
  • Brown - next 100 metro areas, 75% cumulative total of the population, cutoff at 200k
  • Orange - next 82 metro areas, 80% cumulative total of the population, cutoff at 132k
  • Yellow stars - state capitals that are not top 100 cities
  • Cities in Mexico and Canada are classified according to where they would fit into the American rankings.

Rail lines are colored as follows:

  • Red - core national lines, track built to full HSR standards (180mph)
  • Cyan - important national lines, track to HSR standards wherever possible, MSR standards (110mph) otherwise (changed from blue)
  • Green - regionally important lines, track to MSR standards wherever possible, SSR standards (79mph) otherwise
  • Magenta - spur or infill lines, track to MSR or SSR standards

This map shows only the top 100 cities and the national lines. Most of the changes are in the Southeast, where one core line was relocated and several national lines were downgraded to the the third tier.

Here is a closeup of the Northwest from a map with all 282 metro areas and all four classes of lines. The main change in this region was the upgrade of the eastern Washington line to tier 4.

The main changes in the Southwest were the addition of a spur to Reno and an upgrade of the central coast line. There were several priority changes in the mountain region, but the segments remain isolated.

The relocation of the core route through Spartanburg instead of Columbia and Augusta was the biggest change in the Southeast. The Piedmont region saw a lot of changes, and it still remains in flux as I have more to learn about the physical geography in the area.

Routing in the Northeast was little changed aside from some priority alterations.

For comparison, I overlaid a map of the US national lines with a map of France at the same scale. French HSR lines are shown in dark blue, along with the Channel Tunnel and HSR1 in the UK. The comparison really underlines the scale of the undertaking that would be needed to build out a HSR network in the US. The distance from Lille to Marseilles is roughly the same as from Sacramento to San Diego, and Raleigh to Boston compares to the journey from Marseilles to London.

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