The Constellation Plan
“Look toward the stars but keep your feet firmly on the ground.”
- President Theodore Roosevelt
The Constellation plan for high-speed rail in the USA is a collection of progress by others and a national vision to inspire reasonable and practical local development of electrified passenger train corridors in all fifty states.
Download the high-
Want to see The Constellation Plan in all of its detail at a national level? Please follow the link below to our Flickr account where you can download a high-resolution version to explore, print, and republish for articles or your blog.
“The United States of America is the third largest carbon polluter in the world. About 60% of our carbon emits from our transportation systems such as cars and trucks on the interstates and airplanes in our skies. Our continent-spanning country can not solve this problem overnight, but individual states can organize themselves to reduce congestion and expand opportunities from big cities to smaller cities. America doesn’t have to wait for Washington D.C. to solve all its problems. Nevertheless, senators, congressmembers, and a responsible administration could do more to help states invest in sustainable infrastructure.
Almost 10 years ago, I created 50 twitter accounts for high-speed rail in each state in the country. I left the grassroots and professional organization of actual high-speed rail programs up to other Americans in those states, because I am just one individual. However, it eventually occurred to me that I was not leveraging my architectural, planning, geographic, interactive, and graphic design training and 20 years of experience. I could make a greater, more intentional impact by proposing a plan.
My vision for a high speed rail system encourages individual states to “Renovate Our Interstates” in an organized way so that, eventually, we can have a national high-speed rail system. The Constellation Plan is focused on avoiding the current political climate of gridlock in our nation’s capital. It empowers state legislatures, industry leaders, local professionals, and governors to be motivated to create clean tech jobs and plan for smarter growth patterns. It also aspires to inspire grass-roots organizations to advocate for infrastructure and plan for growth locally. States like California, Florida, Texas, Illinois, and Washington are already leading the way. While I do support these individual efforts, I have some suggestions on improvements in the phasing, or timing of some corridors.
The light of America’s cities, shining like stars
The Constellation Plan is called this because the U.S. from night appears as a network of cities that look like stars. Each state has enough cities (or stars) that connecting them with high-speed rail could look like a constellation from above. I chose fast-moving state animal symbols to represent each state high-speed rail plan for non-partisan inspiration and motivation.
The Constellation Plan also utilizes a two-phase concept: Immediately focus on short lines connecting big cities to nearby smaller cities (shown in thick bright green), and plans to eventually build a line that reaches towards the coast or cities in other states (shown in light dashed green).
High-speed rail will never replace a cross-country road trip, or a bi-coastal flight. It can, however, alleviate traffic on major interstates, and spur economic opportunity throughout a state, not just in the big cities, like Seattle, San Francisco, or New York.
Costs and benefits of this plan
In the months and years ahead, look to this website for detailed descriptions of all 50 state concepts for limited, yet strategically organized, constellation plans for high-speed rail in the USA.
Follow @HSRUSA on Twitter and Instagram if you are interested in the Constellation Plan for high-speed rail in the USA and want to help organize and make it become a reality, soon, and eventually. I look forward to a lively and productive discussion in the days, months, and years ahead.
Tana Green, CEO
Blur Rail, Inc.
The Sea Turtle Constellation connects Charleston with Columbia, and eventually Greenville.
The Right Whale Constellation connects Boston with Springfield and Pittsfield afterwards.
The Thrush Constellation connects Burlington and Montpelier. Secondly it extends to White River Junction and Swanton.
Constellations with state
animal scientific names
We decided to add to the sophistication of the plan, similar to antique star maps, by representing every constellation by its scientific name in latin. The genus and species of the official state animal is identified for every state. If you have students in your family studying latin, biology, or who love astronomy, and trains, you might want to download this and print it as a poster for your child, niece, nephew, or grandchildren.