Just saw a neat PBS NOVA program called, “Why Trains Crash”. If you missed it you can find it on their site, here. As usual, there was a pitch at the end bemoaning how sad the USA situation is and that the ONLY way to right things is for massive government involvement. That argument was bolstered by noting that Japan has many more train travelers and fewer accidents — and they spend much more. However, they did mention that here, some 30 thousand folks are killed annually by autos and only one-thousand by trains.
There’s a competing technology: Self Driving Vehicles. Here is an article describing the advantages (be sure and watch the short video). In fact, there are some folks who predict that kids born today (and later) will never drive a car. Horrors, how can one become a well-adjusted adult without that DMV experience(s)? (and those driver-ed classes) Scary ?
I’ll hedge my bet a bit and say that “kids born after next year, will never drive a car. How about you? Place your bets.
So, if you were (are?) a congressperson (federal, this is a such a big problem requiring LOTS of $) what would you do? Vote for more government spending to improve the trains? Do nothing, or cut back funding, assuming that the private sector will solve the problem with self-driving vehicles? The latter involves violating the “Thou shalt not spend less” government commandment, so probably won’t happen.
As for most things, the market will sort it all out, even with regulators pouring sand and molasses in the economic gears. The self-driving-vehicle revolution is accelerating. It will be fun to watch it all happen. Hey, a way to finally solve the “texting while driving” problem.