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Disrupting Real Estate w High Speed Transportation

Meeting Details:

Nov 28th, ZOOM, 8pm:


Faster Headlines

Wheels on Steel:

Youtube | Fox 40
(Very cool graphic on the building)
South China Morning Post
CNN Travel
The Seattle Times
Orlando Business Journal
The Points Guy

In the Tube:

silicon republic

Up in the Air:

Interesting Engineering


The Real Estate Value Disrupter - High Speed Rail

The component that gives real estate its value is "linkages". What do we mean by linkages? Well, it is the ability to get to and from a piece of real estate. If you can’t get to that piece of real estate, that spot is worthless. The more people can access that parcel of real estate, the more valuable the real estate becomes.

To see how this works, let's look up towards the moon. Today, real estate on the moon is worthless. Why? Because we don’t have a form of transportation that can get us there.

But then someone develops the anti-gravity Starliner (with warp capabilities – of course). Now people can easily be lifted into space and throughout the galaxy. What happens to the real estate on the moon…well values have gone through the roof! Now the moon is the most valuable piece of real estate in the solar system.

Why? Because real estate on the moon is super easy to access thanks to new transportation. Then with limited gravity, no atmosphere, and plenty of real estate without annoying housing associations; the moon is the place to be. From the moon, it is an easy jump to Mars, the asteroid belt, or even Europa (sorry, not gonna make a Uranus joke here).

So the moon becomes a trading hub where Starliners come and go from across the cosmos. Heck, eventually even Disney decides to build its next Disneyland on the moon and New Orlando is born. The moon becomes the place to be and invest in.

Why has the moon become such a hot real estate market…because transportation technology was invented that gave people easy access to it.

While investing in moon real estate might be far in the future, this has already happened here...and will happen again. However, instead of Starliner….it was airports, sailing ships and railroads.

After all, in 1800 no one lived in Chicago. Heck, the first settler of Chicago, Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, even packed up his home and left in 1799. Why, cause Chicagu was frickin’ hard place to get to. There were no railroads, roads, or even waterways (the Great Lakes were not yet linked to New York). So no one wanted to live in the onion and garlic swamp today known as The Loop. Then in 1828, the Erie Canal opened giving Chicago access to New York City and the Atlantic. Then 1848 the Illinois and Michigan Canal opened giving Chicago access to the Mississippi. In this timespan from 1800 to 1850, the population had grown from zero to nearly 30,000 (and someone finally pulled those onions).

Then in the 1850s, the railroads arrived in Chicago. By 1860, 30 different railroad lines ended in Chicago meaning from Chicago one could travel all over the Midwest, east, and south. Chicago was now a transportation hub and the population exploded to nearly 300,000 by 1880 as a result.

But it wasn’t just about passenger transport. The ability to move freight to and from a piece of real estate is just as (or more important) than passenger travel. Because….

In 1870 the refrigerated box car was created, which livestock could be slaughtered in Chicago and transported from Chicago to the world. Once again, this made the population explode to 1.7 million by 1900. Chicago became the transport hub of the US. As a result, what was muddy onion-infested swamps was now some of the most valuable real estate in the world.

This brings us back to high-speed rail. How would High-speed rail increase real estate?

Because it increases access!

Meaning more people would be able to access a piece of real estate and use it. This competition for a piece of real estate then drives up real estate values.

For example, imagine being in Sturtevant, WI today. The population is only 7,000 and land is pretty cheap. Chicago is 90 minutes south, and Milwaukee is 30 minutes north.

This means it takes a lot of time to get somewhere from Mount Pleasant, compared to say...Evanston, IL (a rich suburb 30-minute drive north of downtown with a population of 77,000).

However, now imagine a 220 mph bullet train is built from Chicago to Milwaukee with a stop in Sturtevant. Making Sturtevant now only 21 minutes from downtown Chicago.

Yes, Sturtevant is now closer (in time) to downtown Chicago than Evanston. What does this mean, well…it means Sturtevant now has access to a lot more. But it is not just commuters moving up to Sturtevant, but businesses too.

After all, why would a corporation with an expensive Chicago downtown office want to pay expensive rent for a back-office operation such as a call center? When that call center could be moved 21 minutes north to Sturtevant where the real estate is a whole lot cheaper, and employees could afford great housing and/or commute from Chicago?

Eventually, a lot of businesses start moving their back-office work to Sturtevant. Then other businesses follow to serve those businesses that previously moved (hello Starbucks and Hilton). Then the cycle just keeps building and building until Sturtevant has formed into Wisconsin’s newest city. All because a new transportation technology was built which increased access to a former cheap piece of real estate.

So if you believe Starliners are in the future….then I would like to sell you some real estate on the moon. Until then we have this opportunity with high-speed rail to change real estate values here on Earth.


Miami World Center

Still not convinced that high speed rail will disrupt real estate values?

Well, here is an example. In 2010, the location of Miami Central Station was a surface parking lot. The area surrounding the station was once a polluted brownfield site no developer wanted to touch. Then in 2012 All Aboard Florida laid out their plans for new passenger railway and mixed-use station complex and things never were the same.

The station was opened in 2018 with the launch of passenger rail service. This then set up a real estate development frenzy that some are referring to as the new downtown of Miami.

In all, the new 25-acre development anchored by Miami Central Station on the west, will include:

  • 12 new high rise buildings

  • 2,100+ residential units

  • 300,000+ square feet of retail

  • 1800 room hotel/convention center

  • 3 high rise office towers

Total investment is estimated at about $4 billion!


Tales of Traffic Jams

Last weekend was the busiest travel weekend of the year and there is a certain beauty to the flow of traffic....till you realize all of the lives and anger brewing in that beautiful traffic.

So we decided that we are gonna find our favorite traffic delay videos and articles. Enjoy!

ABC News

Inside Edition


Now overall the airline operations were relatively non-eventful this weekend...but you never know what is going to delay your flight. So here is a list from Reader's Digest which makes you wonder "does this plane have enough toilet paper"?

Reader's Digest


The Faster Badger is produced by students at the University of Wiscosin-Madison to help break through the misconceptions of high speed rail and high speed transportation. This blog is for educational purposes only and all opinions presented are of the students.

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