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American Transportation Pie:

"So my, my US transportation pie...took my Chevy to the levee as an autonomous drive. Electric planes that whisk and wine, thinking this how I really want to fly. Oh this is how I really want to fly....singing my, my, all those days that I drive..."

Meeting Details:

Next meeting: Nov 16th: 8pm Central


Question of the Week:

1) What is going to be the transportation techs that change how we travel

2) What are going to be the transportation networks of the future?



  • Faster Headlines

  • Infrastructure Bill Update

  • Hubtropolis: Shanghai

  • Tracking the American Transportation Pie


Faster Headlines


KTLA5 / Los Angeles Times



Mass Transit

Mass Transit

Government Technology


The Texan

Business Insider



Simple Flying



Infrastructure Update:

For the latest on the infrastructure, check out a dedicated webpage:


The Hub-Tropolis: Shanghai Hongqiao Airport

Shanghai is China's most populous city, with over 23 million residents.

If you fly from the United States, you will typically arrive at the new Shanghai Pudong Airport:

  • Opened in 1999

  • 104 airlines

  • 74 million passengers in 2018

  • End of the line for the Shanghai Maglev

    1. 18 miles across the Pudong to the outskirts of Shanghai

    2. Top speed of 268 mph

    3. Oldest commercial maglev in operation

However, it's the old airport that is the real story.

  • Opened in 1923

  • Military airport from 1937 thru 1963

  • Was the main International Airport until Pudong opened in '99

  • Today just serves domestic flights, and flights to Japan & South Korea

  • 40 million passengers in 2016

  • 7 busiest in China, 45th busiest airport in the world

But is not the airport that is the story....

In 2005, the Shanghai Rainbow Development Corporation was formed to redevelop the whole area surrounding the airport into the Hongqiao Comprehensive Transportation Hub. During this process it was realized that the airport could not be expanded to meet Shanghai's needs. So it was decided to turn the new terminal into a "Super Hub" of transportation.

The original airport had`1 runway, with 1 terminal and 27 gates

Then In 2010, the new inter-modal terminal opened:

  • Connected terminals that consolidated everything under one roof:

  • Airport Terminal 2: 50 wide-body gates, 4 hardstand positions

  • Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station: 30 platforms, 16 platforms for high speed rail

  • 2 underground Metro Stations, serving 3 metro lines

    • You can actually take the metro from the airport side to the railside in the same building

  • Shanghai Maglev Station (currently unused)

  • Regional bus station served by 20 bus lines

Hongqiao 2010 new terminal complex

It is only a 10 minute walk from the airport terminal to the railway station.

Hongqiao Railway Station:

Opened in 2010, the railway station itself is one of the largest in the world. In 2019 the station served an average of 210,000 passenger a day/ 76.5 million passenger a it twice the capacity of the airport it is part of.

The station serves the high speed lines:

  • Shanghai–Nanjing intercity railway

  • Shanghai–Hangzhou high-speed railway

  • Beijing–Shanghai high-speed railway

  • Nantong-Shanghai railway

  • Shanghai–Huzhou high-speed railway (under construction)

The station will also serve the Shanghai Metropolitan Area Intercity Railway lines:

  • Jiamin line (under construction)

  • Airport Link line (under construction)

  • Jinshan railway (proposed extension)

This model appears to be so successful that China is replicating this super hub concept in other cities such as Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Hangzhou.

Shanghai Airport website:


Feature: Tracking the Transportation Pie:

By Isaac Eskind, Wisconsin School of Business

When thinking about transportation it is helpful to look at it as a large pie because each technology is mutually exclusive - moment to moment. For example, nobody is driving their car while they are on a cruise ship. Nobody is walking while they are biking. So, can transportation be looked at as one large pie. If you increase the size of High-Speed Rail (HSR) in the transportation pie, you are also probably decreasing the slice size of cars and flights as well, simultaneously.

High-speed Rail (HSR), in the case of the United States, is a breakthrough technology. Right now it has a very very small slice of the transportation pie. However, we believe this will change and thus change the entire transportation system.

However, HSR is not the only technology that is looking to breakthrough in the U.S. To get a full picture of the impact HSR we must also look at the future transportation as a whole. In my opinion, there are two additional technologies that will make a profound difference in the next thirty years. First, is air taxis and the second is autonomous vehicles.

Air taxis:

  • Overview: One study sees air taxis beginning in 2022 in Dubai and expanding with a compound annual growth rate of about 46% to more than 430,000 units in operation by 2040. In addition, Morgan Stanley forecasts the global air taxi market at $1.5 trillion dollars by 2040.

Company 1: Lilium.

Lilium (NASDAQ: LILM) is creating a sustainable and accessible mode of high-speed, regional transportation for people and goods. Using the 7-Seater Lilium Jet (One pilot, six travelers), an all-electric vertical take-off and landing jet offering leading capacity, low noise and high performance with zero operating emissions, Lilium is accelerating the decarbonization of air travel. Working with aerospace, technology and infrastructure leaders, and with planned launch networks announced in Germany, the United States and Brazil, commercial operations are projected to begin in 2024. The planes go 186 miles per hour. The range is ~155 miles.

They just announced that Stuttgart airport will be their hub in Germany.

Here is Lilium’s proposed map for Germany.

To compare, here is the Herman HSR map.

They also have plans to expand in the U.S. - citing Florida as their first state:

“Nearly all 20 million Floridians will live within 30 minutes of our vertiports and the 140 million annual visitors to the Sunshine State will have a high-speed option available to travel to their destinations,” said Lilium COO Remo Gerber.

This has a planned start in 2025.

Company 2 - Joby Aviation.

Their planes

Joby aviation planes have one pilot and four passengers. They go 200 mph with a range of 150 miles.

Autonomous Vehicles:

Autonomous vehicles have a couple of comparative advantages when viewed against other forms of transportation. First, you do not need to do anything, you simply get in and ride. Second, there are no capital expenditures, they are extremely safe, many of the largest and most powerful companies are buying in, and they have little environmental impact.

So the question is what roll will all these new technologies have in the new transportation pie. Will each find its own niche, or will they compete with each other? That is the question we are asking.


Counter Position: Baking a bigger transportation pie

by Mike Schlicting

Why is each transportation mode looked at as exclusive? For example, there is the widespread belief that autonomous vehicles will replace high speed trains, or that electric planes will replace the airlines. That simply is not true.

What is unique about the American transportation pie is that is more of a shepherd's pie or pot pie (two of my favorite), rather than a homogeneous apple pie (oh, bring on the dutch apple!). This is because it is about transportation networks. After all, a Boeing 777 doesn't show up at your door to take you to Asia. First you transfer to automobile or public transit, then walk to the terminal (don't forget those two legs are transport too). Then after stopping at the Auntie Anne's Pretzels, or the United Club, you board your plane. At the destination you repeat the process (minus the pretzels and club). It is not one form of advanced transport over another, rather is multiple forms of transport that create the FASTEST route.

After all, autonomous vehicles will never travel 200 mph. While Joby Aviation's plane will just fly at 1/3 the speed of a Boeing 787. The problem is a Boeing 787 can't meet you at your door, like an autonomous vehicle can.

So rather than looking at the slices, look to the pie itself. With this advanced forms of technology we are looking at the transportation pie getting bigger. After all, as productivity increases so will the amount of trips. For example, today an executive in Chicago must sit in an hour of traffic just to get to the airport, then must wait 1 1/2 hrs for the plane to board for the flight to Los Angeles. This time driving and waiting time is frustrating and unproductive. So the executive only travels once a week to meet other employees or customers.

However, with an electric airplane United Airline picks up the executive at the companies front door. The plane then lands 10 minutes later at the airport. After a quick security search the executive boards their flight to Los Angeles. Total time saved: nearly 2 hours. With this ease of travel and time savings, the employee can now make multiple trips per week and be more productive. That is why this technology will actually increase the American Transportation Pie.

So rather than saying one form of advanced transport will replace another, why not look at how the advance transports will work together. After all, last I checked walking and biking are still in fashion, just like they were in 1850.


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