European vs American Travel

Discussion in 'Commerical Transportation' started by Carcus, Dec 29, 2018.

  1. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    Comparing European and American Transport
    "Americans visiting Europe often come away feeling that Europe made some very different choices regarding transportation, with a wistful notion that life would be better in the United States if we followed their example. The reality is a lot grimmer, at least for Europeans. ......"

    The Antiplanner thinks the American way is better for three reasons. From an environmental viewpoint, it makes more sense to use railroads for freight than for passengers. A 50-ton freight car can hold 100 tons of freight, so the energy cost of moving the dead weight is low. But a 50-ton passenger car normally holds less than 10 tons of passengers, so the energy cost of moving all the dead weight is high.

    Second are the financial benefits: American freight railroads require almost no subsidies, while local American roads and streets are partly subsidized but state and interstate highways are nearly all paid for with user fees. In contrast, urban and intercity passenger trains in both the United States and most of Europe require subsidies to cover half or more of their costs. Private or use-fee-funded transportation imposes a discipline that prevents costs from getting too high.

    The biggest advantage of the American way is mobility. The average American travels twice as many miles/kilometers per year as the average European. Per capita shipments of freight in the U.S. are also nearly twice those of Europe. Europe’s high taxes on fuel depress total travel while its subsidies to rail don’t come close to making up the difference.

    European trains are great for visitors. But personally, I would rather have twice the mobility than more subsidized passenger trains."
    Interesting read. Lots of points I didn't know, or hadn't even thought of.
    /btw, I think this article is mostly dealing with intercity travel, so intracity (trolley, light rail) would be a different story
    08EscapeHybrid likes this.

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