At the end of 2020, China had 23,550 miles (37,900 K) of high-speed rail. That is enough high-speed rail to cross the United States eight times. The United States has no comparable high-speed rail – zero! In 2004, China introduced the first high-speed Maglev train, suspended five inches above the ground by magnetic levitation and operated free of friction at a top speed of 268 MPH (431 KPH). Since then, Japan has created a maglev train with a top speed of 375 MPH (500 KPH). That is five times the 75 MPH speed limit on Interstate highways and nearly five times the speed of Amtrak.
The U.S. could utilize maglev technology to create a new form of transportation: Very High-Speed Auto Rail (VHS-AR). This technology would allow people to drive their automobiles onto rail cars at the origin of their trip and off rail cars at their destination, eliminating the need to park cars at airports and rent a car at the destinations. VHS-AR would require an entirely new rail system between large cities.
Rail cars might be 160 feet long and 18 feet wide. This would allow seven automobiles to park cross-wise on the bottom level with restrooms on each rail car. If a top level were created, eight autos might be parked up there. The rail car would become enclosed after the cars are parked to reduce air resistance at high speeds.
A trip from New York City to Chicago, which takes 13 hours by automobile, might take as little as two hours by VHS-AR. From Chicago to San Francisco may take as little as six hours, compared to 31 hours by auto. And, VHS-AR is environmentally friendly, running entirely on electricity.