Reihan Salam @ The Agenda - National Review Online: Brad Templeton Makes the Most Compelling Case against California HSR -:
"Brad Templeton, director of the Electonic Frontier Foundation, and chair of the Networks and Computing Systems Track at Singularity University, makes a number of worthwhile observations regarding California’s effort to construct a high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco:
(1) though HSR strikes many Americans as very “futuristic,” it is a 50-year-old legacy technology that may well be rendered obsolete by a number of emerging technologies that are cheaper and better suited to the realities of modern urban travel;
(2) self-driving automobiles have the potential to radically reduce door-to-door travel times, not just downtown-to-downtown travel times that are less relevant in polycentric metropolitan regions, and are compatible with mobility-on-demand models that could more efficiently allocate mobility resources across large, dense populations;
(3) innovation in air travel might center not on increasing speed but rather on making more efficient use of travel time to airports and streamlining security procedures, and self-driving automobiles might complement a dense network of “air taxis” that make better use of currently underutilized air strips;
(4) new rail technologies will almost certainly emerge in the coming decades;
(5) and telepresence, including telepresence robots, might reduce the demand for inter-city travel. (I’m somewhat skeptical, but you never know.)"
Basically, quoting Gretzky, skate to where the puck will be.