Americans love their cars more than baseball and apple pie combined; although President Barack Obama’s 2009 proposal for a truly national high-speed rail system never came to fruition, one graphic artist and mass-transit advocate is keeping the dream alive.
Alfred Twu devised an elegant map of the US, with all major cities linked by trains going 220 miles per hour. The possibilities are almost endless for the plane- and car-averse: New York to Los Angeles, in roughly 18 hours. Miami to Houston, six hours. A direct line from Quincy, Illinois to Toronto, Ottowa and Montreal. A party train from Vancouver to Tijuana.
Twu created the first version of the map in 2009, updating it in 2012 with more cities and a time scale.
Twu told Slate that the response to his map, “has been far above and beyond my wildest expectations… I think it may have touched a raw nerve in the national psyche as four years later, most of the planned projects from 2009 have fizzled out.” He’s leading a WhiteHouse.gov petition to make a nation-wide rail system a reality, asking for “220-mph trunk lines with nonstop expresses between major cities and high speed regional service for other places in between. Link up to less populated areas with 110-mph service.”
It’s an ambitious proposal, considering that US infrastructure is skewed towards the automobile; in the fiscal year of 2010, Congress spent more than $40 billion on highways, more than the $37.9 billion spent on Amtrak in 40 years, according to PolitiFact.
Even with the long road (rail?) ahead for national mass transit, you can still look at Twu’s ideal map below, and buy a copy for $20.