A little history for context, as we debate the merits of high-speed rail for California. When the I-5 began in the Central Valley it was called the “road to nowhere” and “too expensive.” But today it’s the backbone of surface transportation, not to mention many a nice weekend away. Also at turtle pace, Spain completed its first high-speed line from Madrid to Seville in 1991 but then had to build the rest of its network in short increments over 17 years. This article urges Californians to consider the benefits of high-speed rail, as well as the consequences if the project is abandoned.
The hidden (and frightening) toll of traffic jams (Wall Street Journal)
Here’s a scary one: Scientists are increasingly linking vehicle exhaust with brain-cell damage and higher rates of autism. Researchers suspect that tailpipe exhaust from cars and trucks — especially tiny carbon particles already implicated in heart disease, cancer and respiratory ailments — may injure brain cells and synapses key to learning and memory.
In Chicago, buses take to freeway shoulders for quicker commutes (Chicago Tribune)
Pace Suburban Bus Service, the transportation agency for the Chicago suburbs, hopes by spring to have twice as many riders commuting on express buses that use the newly widened shoulders of the Stevenson Expressway from downtown Chicago to the western suburbs to maneuver around traffic jams. Officials also hope to take cars off the road by luring commuters with amenities, including free Wi-Fi. The service starts next week so we’ll need to keep watch to find out if it’s successful.