One Way To Solve Traffic Congestion: Trains

It has been clear through the past few years that something needs to happen with transportation throughout the United States.

Take California for example.  Despite the most devastating recession in 60 years, California is the world’s eighth largest economy, as of 2011, and has an ever increasing population. City-to-city transportation is becoming more common and crucial for businesses and for the economy.  People in major cities must continually bear gridlocked traffic and overcrowded highways, significantly wasting time, gas and money.

California is not alone in this, and transportation is not the only thing affected by overcrowding.  Many other cities around the United States have these transportation needs that swell into environmental, lifestyle and economic needs.

In a section of an interview on Marilyn Shannon’s “Breaking Free” talk show (see below for excerpt), authors Emy Louie and Nancy Bolts discuss how their book, Fast Trains: America’s High Speed Future, portrays high-speed rail as the answer for many current problems our nation faces. An important thing to remember about the many benefits of high-speed rail is that they are all connected and can easily be solutions for much broader issues.

Solution for environment

“The environmental benefits are huge,” said Nancy. “Climate change is real.  This is a solution.  This is a major solution.”

Emy and Nancy continually stress the importance of taking cars off the road.  Their book talks about these environmental benefits and how they boast a realm of possibilities.  Not only do the benefits stem from the decrease in the use of harmful toxins in cars and airplanes, but also from the possible increase in clean electricity in high-speed rail.

Solution for overcrowded highways and travel related accidents and deaths

“People are just used to sitting in traffic,” author Nancy said. “I think once they see the alternative, they are going to be like, that’s crazy!  Why am I in so much traffic when right over there that train is zipping along over the bridge?”

High-speed rail is the equalizer that will take city-to-city travelers off the major highways and reduce traffic congestion.  Fast Trains outlines how high-speed rail will cut down on automotive accidents and, in turn, save lives.  The authors discuss the various factors that make high-speed rail safe and analyze existing rail systems around the world that serve as archetypes of transportation safety.

Image by Dave Latham from

Solution for economy

“We should be really happy that there will be so many of us needed to build this infrastructure,” said Nancy.

One of the major benefits Emy and Nancy outline in their book is how high-speed rail will create millions of jobs, increase the ease of intercity business travel and do much more to improve the economy.  They disclose how our economy would tremendously benefit from a vigorous HSR system in the United States through examples, narratives and success stories from other countries.

The upgrades and improvements needed in ground transportation and air travel are not going to be easily obtained without the implementation of a new system that decreases congestion.

What if high-speed rail is the rock to be thrown in the standstill pool of transportation innovation, and what if California is where we start it?  The massive ripple effect of interconnected benefits one after the other would spread throughout United States and inspire other states to do the same, making us question how we ever lived without it.

That is what the book Fast Trains so passionately portrays, that we are a nation in need of a solution, and we have the resources, drive and ability to make it happen.

Rachel Lewis
Guest Blogger


About Rachel Lewis

Rachel Lewis is a public relations practitioner for Bolts Creative Communications and social media enthusiast. She recently graduated from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication specializing in Public Relations, and she enjoys helping people stay connected and informed.
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