Intercity and Transcontinental systems of today
High-Speed Rail, Short Haul Aviation and Intercity Highways are the today’s systems of choice for fast intercity and transcontinental travel. They each have their individual ranges of operation and advantages but also their particular inadequacies.
High-Speed Rail is a modern version of the original railway of the 19th Century by George and Robert Stevenson. They can reach operational speeds of around 350 km/h. Paradoxically, they lack the high speeds required to compete as distances increase. They are interesting for short and medium intercity distances and for freight.
Short Haul Aviation is popular on intercity and transcontinental relations, often due to a lack of competitive alternatives. It requires trips to/from airports and this reduces the average travel speed significantly (slower than high-speed rail). Passengers are required to transfer from one system to another, the task they hate most. In addition, aviation is not sustainable. It has no foreseeable alternative for the combustion engine and oil. Bio fuels conflict with the growing world population and the goals of the World Food Program of the UN and cannot solve important issues such as noise, energy efficiency or emissions.
Intercity Highways permit travelers to go to the exact address in any chosen city but the speeds on highways are limited for safety reasons (120 km/h). They have similar disadvantages as short haul aviation (oil, CO2, noise, environment, etc.) and are only attractive on very short intercity relations.