What I’m Reading
Of course I’ve read a lot of coverage and commentary about Elon Musk’s fanciful tweets yesterday saying he got “verbal govt approval” to build a New York to DC Hyperloop. Sorry, Elon, there is no such thing as verbal approval from the government. It’s a lot more complicated. And while I wish luck to those trying to promote revolutionary new transportation technologies, I strongly believe that we have to walk before we can run when it comes to developing a world-class multimodal transportation network. We have to work our way towards where western Europe and Japan are now first.
There is a lot of outside-the-box thinking in the travel space that I applaud, however, such as this outdoor “zero-star” hotel in Switzerland’s Appenzell region, which enchanted me when I visited in summer 2015 (the region, not the hotel). Innovators like this force the industry’s old guard to make consumer-friendly enhancements.
As an evangelist for greater blending of the natural world with the urban environment, this CityLab post felt like a challenge to my worldview. In reality, though, it does not disprove a link between access to nature and human well-being, but shows that this subject, like most in social science research, is very complex and context-dependent.
Finally, this photo gallery of ten of the “world’s quirkiest train rides” is certainly piquing my wanderlust. The only one of these I’ve ridden is the Wuppertal suspension railway. The others are on my bucket list. Sweden’s Inlandsbanan sounds particularly intriguing.