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From America the slowpoke to Life at the speed of rail

CATEGORY: ⚐ EN + competitions + design

The top 10 fastest trains in the world belong to Asia and Europe. Number 10, the MLU00, which ran at a speed of 248.9 mph in 1987 was engineered before I was born. As an American in 2011, it’s pretty embarrassing that our fastest train is Amtrak’s Acela Express, which travels the not-so-far distance between Boston and Washington, D.C. and only reaches speeds of up to 150 mph. On top of this, If I were to take the fastest trip from Boston to Washingtion DC today, a 6 hour, 32 minute journey (I know because I just did the search), It would set me back $235.00, but a 1 hour, 40 minute, heavy-Co2-emitting flight with JetBlue would cost me $149.00 – which is  $95.00 less…

Lets fix this, shall we?

President Obama, at the 2011 state of the union, spoke about America’s falling technologically  behind and has announced his vision for a new high-speed rail network that will connect 80 percent of Americans in the next 25 years.

Now Van Alen Institute is holding a call for images, videos, and creative text visuals that present new perspectives and suggestions about the future of high-speed rail in America. Entry criteria is pretty loose – the competition Q&A page even suggests the submission of comic strips. Winning proposals are awarded $1000 cash prize and will be include in online and print publication. There is, however, an entry fee of $30 per design submitted.  Of course, the competition advisory committee is made up of interesting, important people who will take a look at your designs,  including my recent blogging obsession, Thom Mayne:

Carol Coletta, President & CEO, CEOs for Cities,

Keller Easterling, Associate Professor, Yale University

Christopher Hawthorne, Architecture Critic, Los Angeles Times

Gary Hustwit, Director, Helvetica

Michael Lejeune, Creative Director, L.A. Metro

Thom Mayne, Founder & Design Director, Morphosis

Petra Todorovich, Director, America 2050

Sarah Whiting, Dean, Rice School of Architecture


Competition Deadline: May 21 2011

More information can be found on the online website.

And you can follow competition tweets @thespeedofrail


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