Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
where the US leads we follow
(Orlando November 2010)
I made my first trip to the USA in November and I was VERY impressed. It was much cleaner, friendlier and, surprisingly, greener than the UK. Dozens of new tram systems have opened up there in the last ten years and rail is seeing a big revival. Most US freight is already carried by rail. The US did of course have a superb rail network - both steam and electric (interurban) until about the 40s, but then cheap oil and the car took over.
Cheap oil is now vanishing and the US is leading the way in the switch from road to rail. See below for a tangential view of this development.
This from today's Whiskey and Gunpowder (an investment site)
Auto-suburbia is losing its utility and its desirability. More from "The Echo Boom: A New Wave of Market Change":
One overlooked issue in particular about the Echo Boomers will have a meaningful impact on all forms of real estate…they don’t drive.
According to a report by Kiplinger, motorists aged 21 to 30 now account for 14% of miles driven, down from 21% in 1995. As quoted in that report, William Draves, president of Learning Resources Network pointed out, "This generation focuses its buying on computers, BlackBerrys, music and software and views commuting a few hours by car a huge productivity waste when they can work using PDAs while taking the bus and train."
This certainly doesn’t bode well for the automotive industry, but it also may not help real estate strategies that rely on communities and suburbs that can only be navigated by car. The Baby Boomers fueled the growth of cities that revolve around cars, but the Echo Boomers are likely to flock to places where they don’t have to drive every day. This could be a significant drag on low-density communities without mass transit and a boon to older, more compact cities.