Freight trains are our future

Freight trains are our future
“Power Trip” by Michael E. Webber is on sale now.

The following is an excerpt from “Power Trip” by Michael E. Webber.

One of the simplest and most powerful ways to address transportation’s energy challenges is to reinvest in freight railroads. Freight transport is a much bigger part of the nation’s infrastructure than most people realize. In 2013, about $50 billion worth of goods was transported as freight cargo every single day in the United States alone. Trucks move 29 percent of the freight ton-miles, but are responsible for 77 percent of the sector’s emissions. Astonishingly, empty trucks account for about one-fifth of the truck miles traveled. Between the rise of Walmart with its truck-based logistical system and the spread of internet-based retailers such as Amazon, highway freight tonnage grew by 45 percent between 2000 and 2014. According to the US Department of Transportation, the existing population of trucks on congested highways already substantially impedes interstate commerce, and projections suggest highway congestion will get much worse in the coming decades.

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