America's transit challenge: Part 1 of 5

In the U.S. and around the world, urban transportation is evolving, changing, facing new challenges, and having to find new ways to move the ever-growing numbers of people in metropolitan areas. The future holds more disruptions: self-driving cars, microtransit, mobility as a service, hyperloop, electrification, automation, and perhaps other innovations as unknown now as Uber was in 2008. In this five-part series, Trains sets out to explore these changes and how they affect rail transit — and how rail transit is adapting and thriving.

Missteps lead California high speed rail to crisis

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – “A new statewide train system, over 700 miles in length, capable of travel at speeds up to 200 mph,” reads a 2005 brochure published by the California High Speed Rail Authority. The system will “carry as many as 68 million passengers annually by 2020.” Those dreams are stalled somewhere in the arid San Joaquin Valley between the oil derricks of Bakersfield and the cattle ranches of Merced.