For the first time in the United States, there will be a private, high-speed train service — and it’s coming to Florida. This $3 billion project by Brightline express could drastically improve crowded roadways by taking as many as 3 million cars off the streets. It will run along a route that is traveled by about 6 million residents and tourists, according to estimations.
John Renne, director of the Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions at Florida Atlantic University, said to Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson at NPR, “It’s the first time that it’s happening, being built by a private company. And that’s kind of a game changer for this type of model.”
Brightline trains will begin service service in December. The private, high-speed train service will run from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale, and service is expected to expand to downtown Miami early next year. In the future the trains will likely run to Orlando, a service which would bound to be a success due to the heavy influx of tourists.
This transportation could save millions of people the added time and risk of attempting to navigate the crowded highways of Florida by car. To give you an idea of the speed of this train: it typically can take up to five hours to get from West Palm Beach to Miami and back again in a car, but the rail system would take about 60 minutes each way. And from Fort Lauderdale to Miami? Only 30 minutes.
Additionally, taking millions of cars off the road every day could, over time, help the U.S. to curb its carbon emissions. And, if this system proves successful, more could be built around the country, fractioning travel times and reducing carbon footprints by having potentially billions of people rely on public transportation as opposed to their own vehicles.
The continued introduction and adoption of high-speed rail systems could revolutionize transportation as we know it. Many eyes will be following the success of Brightline express during the coming months.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to note that the time needed for the trip from West Palm Beach to Miami in a car is round trip and not one way.