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HSR here will (and already does if you count Amtrak's Northeast Corridor as high speed) serve sprawl. It seems every HSR plan has both downtown stations and suburban stops. But the suburban stops are relatively close to the cities. The sprawl that will be created will be in places that are now well outside of the urban/suburban zone of a given city, places that are generally rural (i.e. cheap).

To me commuters have a time and not a distance limit. The limit seems to be two hours each way. On the New York to Albany line that means the current limit for commuters is about 160 km out (Rhinebeck). Increasing speeds to 300 kph could easily double that distance meaning places that are now rural like southern Vermont are suddenly within commuting range. Sprawl will undoubtly start there since there is nothing containing it unless we fundamentally change our land use policies. If not, HSR is just a tool for real estate development, something rail has done very well here for a very long time.

by Jace on Wed Jun 1st, 2011 at 04:53:00 PM EST
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