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While railroads were once the backbone of American transportation, the nation has since become notoriously car-centric, an arrangement that many modern urban planners and environmental advocates alike decry as inefficient, polluting, and conducive to sprawl.

A number of recent proposals, from upgrades to urban and commuter transit to an ambitious push for inter-city high speed rail from the Obama administration, have endeavored to change that. But many have encountered resistance, and some have fallen victim to budget cuts, political blockage, or other obstacles.

What's the sustainable path for America's transportation network, and how can we get back on it? That's the question the Sustainable Cities Collective explored in this webinar. Listen to the recording to hear how our panelists responded when asked:

  • How does passenger rail compare in energy efficiency to other modes of transportation? Is there a real opportunity to reduce CO2 emissions through rail transit?
  • Which projects or proposals offer the best opportunities to both improve efficiency and meet the needs of travelers? Which have the best chance of success?
  • What are the limitations of rail, high-speed or otherwise in the U.S.? Are there environments in which rail simply won't work?
  • What are the biggest obstacles to improving rail infrastructure, and why is rail seemingly controversial in the U.S. as compared to other regions?

On the Panel

  • Deron Lovaas, Federal Transportation Policy Director, Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Al Engel, Vice President, High Speed Rail, Amtrak
  • Steve Robillard, Vice President, High Speed Rail, Siemens

Mr. Engel and Mr. Lovaas shared the following presentations:

All Aboard! Getting America Back on Rail