Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
... and if you're not stopping in every podunk suburb, those two hours one-way commute need to cover the time to get to the station as well as the time on the train.

Under a fully integrated rail solution, with park-and-ride space for electric vehicles (and as a back-of-the-envelope guesstimate), you'll have 100 km between each HSR stop, 10-15 km between each 100 kph cruise speed commuter rail stop, 1-3 km between each light rail/rapid rail stop and the rest covered by bikes, foot traffic, buses and/or electric cars.

That gives you a maximum distance for a two-hour commute of ~400 km, but that's if you live right on top of the HSR station. You want people to stack together on top of the HSR station - that's precisely the opposite of sprawl.

If you sprawl people out to a moderate distance of, say, 30 km from the HSR station (which really isn't that sprawling - that's roughly European density), you'll be looking at more like 250-300 km. And that's assuming you've got ship-shape infrastructure. In the real world, you'll be lucky to pull 200. Genuine sprawl? Fuggetaboutit, the economics are gonna kill a sprawl-catering HSR line stone cold dead before it even leaves the drawing board.

So HSR won't give you sprawl in the middle of the boonies because it connects NYC with the boonies - because it won't connect NYC with the boonies. It'll connect NYC with other major population centres. Now, this may cause those population centres to grow, and be able to sustain sprawl of their own... but that's a very different story, and one that would not be an unmitigated disaster.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jun 1st, 2011 at 05:35:27 PM EST
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