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  • Writer's pictureDoug Howarth

Fast Trains

“I knew I was going to take the wrong train, so I left early.” Yogi Berra So, what’s the right train? Specifically, what are the most appropriate specifications for new trains we need to move people about here in the United States? Happily, the world already has some blueprints for success. With over 50 years of experience and a perfect safety record, Japan has been using high-speed rail for some time. They’ve blazed a trail followed by Europe and later by China. Any new railroad project should consider the Shinkansen. In 2011, I had a look. I found the Value (sustainable price) of a Japanese train ticket as a function of its trip length, MPH, and seat area (all P-values < 0.001) with a 91.3% adjusted R2. Tripling the distance traveled and speed pushed prices up by 88% and 27%, respectively. The added fare for distance made sense, but the speed change seems low. I used net speed, however, which likely understated the Value of the train going fast when it could. Interestingly, as seat square area increased 47% from unreserved (A) past reserved (B) and green (C) to gran (D), ticket prices went up 88%. What is the demand for this service compared to its Value? See the next post for some insights. #innovation #technology #travel #strategy #tips
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