143. ALTERNATIVES TO CARS AND AIRPLANES
The vast majority of journeys are less than 400 miles; in fact most journeys are less than 5. In Britain, for example, 72% of car journeys are less than 5 miles, where cycling, buses or battery cars could replace journeys. Better still 50% are less than 2 miles where walking and cycling could replace virtually all journeys – indeed this is the reason why cars are a wasteful form of transport, they promote laziness!Source
And weight gain, costing health authorities billions.Source
Most other journeys are intercity journeys and for all but the ones that are over 400 miles or over large bodies of water, high speed rail (with speeds up to 220mph for conventional rail and 300mph for maglev) is a perfectly good replacement for the car and airline in many cases. Indeed time is money. The time savings between city centres and the ability to work while travelling (with access to internet wi-fi) is a powerful draw in Europe and Japan. Power can be taken from hydro, nuclear (the norm in France) and even renewable sources, bypassing the need for liquid oil transport.
High speed lines have very little difference in construction to highways - apart from they take less space. Typical maximum gradients are 1 in 28 (3.5%). France, Japan, Germany, Belgium, Italy, The Netherlands, UK, Korea, Spain and China have already built lines. Spanish railways refund your ticket if their AVE high speed train is more than 5 minutes late, but then 99.82% arrived on time in 2000. Source
-- by Wildwell