Why a High Speed Rail Network Would Supercharge the Emerging Maker Economy Why a High Speed Rail Network Would Supercharge the Emerging Maker Economy
The GOOD Life

Why a High Speed Rail Network Would Supercharge the Emerging Maker Economy

by Alfred Twu

March 8, 2013


Low cost next day delivery can expand the market for secondhand goods and on-demand manufacturing by reducing the total cost to the buyer. To give an example, I've made the U.S. High Speed Rail map available as a print on demand poster, made in San Jose, CA.  For a $25 item, shipping is $6 for delivery in one week, $14 for 2 day, and $23 for next day.  What if next day shipping was only $10?


Today, high speed trains carry mail and express cargo in Europe. Similar and additional opportunities abound for high speed cargo in the U.S. Need something repaired? Put it on a train headed to the factory today and have it back tomorrow. Farmers could get local produce to markets 150 miles away without having to leave town at 5 a.m. Need medical samples analyzed? Working on a prototype with a team located in a different city? Want to rent a specialized tool or formal wear? These industries and more can all benefit from low cost same day and overnight long distance delivery.  

In the 19th and 20th century, delivery of small parcels via railway express agencies enabled the growth of the mail-order business. Bringing speeds up to the pace of the 21st century would allow this efficient, high-capacity form of transport to continue creating innovations in retail and maintain its leading role at the cutting edge of the economy.

Alfred Twu is an artist and designer, and created the U.S. High Speed Rail system map based on proposals by various government agencies and advocacy groups. He has also led the creation of a map of existing mass transit in California and is currently fundraising for a similar map for the Northeast U.S.

 
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Why a High Speed Rail Network Would Supercharge the Emerging Maker Economy