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.

50 state programs

Every American should have the opportunity to access safe, reliable, clean, and efficient transportation in their state. Even if more rural states may not develop a high-speed rail program any time soon, we want to show a vision for the future in which everyone can participate.

United by Amtrak

America has a regular-speed national interstate passenger rail system! Amtrak serves almost every state, but not every major city. New state rail lines should easily connect with our national interstate rail network.

Connect with airports

Every state has a major airport, and many are international. These new corridors give smaller cities quick access to the major in-state airport without relying on a short and inefficient connecting flight or a long drive across the state.

Connect with transit

Every new corridor should easily connect with every city’s metropolitan transit network, whether that is subway, light rail, water taxis, or busses.

Go as fast as renewables allow

Let’s design our high-speed rail network to start at reasonable speeds that the North American electrical grid can allow. As we upgrade and improve the renewability of our electricity generation and storage, electrified trains can go faster. Let’s not build new coal, oil, or nuclear plants just to power American bullet trains

Named for fast state animals

We named each state constellation after an official state animal, especially those that move fast and efficiently. We need an easy, friendly way to describe each program, and who doesn’t love our local animals?

Should be non-partisan

The plan is shown at night, and imagines the land rendered in a twilight purple. This avoids the red state/blue state oppositionalism that has paralyzed our political process for too long. There a benefits and methods to high-speed rail development that can attract the left and right, progressives and conservatives. We should work together to build great things better than ever before.

Renovate our interstates

Acquiring the land for new corridors is no easy feat, but the most readily available land to states are the interstate highways, since they already own it. Our highways need renovation, and we can include in that renovation an elevated, trenched, or adjacent system of 2 or 4 tracks. This provides the least disturbance to privately owned land, though elevated viaducts over ranch and farm land also has minimal impact on local transportation infrastructure and agriculture.

Download the high-
resolution map

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.

Executive Summary

“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 past three years, I have refined this plan, and made individual maps for states that are crowded enough that high-speed rail can help reduce congestion and carbon emissions. The initial phase of 4,328 miles will cost about $566 billion, sparking as much as $5 trillion economic growth nationwide. That’s 2/3rds the cost of the Wall Street bailout of 2008, and less than 1/10th the cost of U.S. wars since 9/11. I will be publishing these maps over the course of 2020 and 2021 to inspire discussion about the future of our country, and individual state growth.


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.


Featured Constellations

Nevada - The Lahontan Trout Constellation

The Lahontan Trout Constellation connects Carson City and Reno, and eventually Fernley.

South Carolina - The Sea Turtle Constellation
South Carolina

The Sea Turtle Constellation connects Charleston with Columbia, and eventually Greenville.

Massachusetts - The Right Whale Constellation

The Right Whale Constellation connects Boston with Springfield and Pittsfield afterwards.

Vermont - The Thrush Constellation

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.