December 7, 2012 - More and more pressure is being placed on the Aviation industry to be more environmentally friendly this could result in a shift to alternative technologies such as high speed rail. As the technology improves and the infrastructure is built then this could well be a serious threat to domestic and short haul routes.
The United States is such a large country high speed rail (HSR) would only be a threat to some of the major cities that could be linked by high speed rail line. At the moment trains on average operate around 125mph but future technologies and changes in infrastructure would allow them to increase speeds well over 200mph. China have recently delivered and are operating the fastest HSR at speeds of 217mph. These speeds are much slower compared to aircrafts but HSR has much fewer constraints than air travel does. Currently journeys times under 4.5 hours 400miles or less HSR would be quicker than air travel (see chart below).