Commentary: Last Century’s Transportation Ten Years from Now

Personally, I love passenger trains, but the fact is that they are obsolete. They are expensive, requiring large amounts of infrastructure which must be precisely maintained at great expense. They are inflexible, so if travel patterns change they are left in the dust. They take years to plan and build, and no one really knows what transportation will be needed a year from now much less a decade from now. Unlike highways and airports, high‐​speed trains could never be expected to pay for themselves. Whether high‐​speed or conventional‐​speed, passenger trains are a technology we can live without.