Opinion: American Dream?
America is renowned for its love of the car but as some start talking of transport sustainability, Roger Williams, chairman International Rail Catering Group (IRCG), asks could highspeed rail be the new American Dream?
In America there seems to be a constant conundrum – big businesses are maintained by and rely on burning fossil fuels, including the massive air and road transport industries. But whilst many recognise that can’t continue they also don’t want to damage the economy or jobs.
That's where Andy Kunz comes in. He's the president and ceo of the U.S. High Speed Rail Association and has been making the case for spreading high-speed rail across the U.S. His vision for sustainable transport includes a 17,000-mile national network to be completed by 2030. Is that a pipe dream or could it really be the new American Dream?
Recently he set out his top 10 reasons for the change ranging from being carbon neutral through to safety, job creation, city and housing regeneration and using rail development as a tool for economic growth. In short, many of the things countries and communities have already benefited from with highspeed rail in Europe and many other parts of the world.
2030 is the end game but planning starts now - so my message to Andy is don't forget the additional benefits of a great customer experience and good design in the space, and build in capabilities early on in your process.
The reduced stress and improved well-being that passengers experience when properly looked after in transit, in stations and onboard is always underestimated but makes such a difference to customer satisfaction. It's a factor forgotten at our peril and often the distinction between commercial success and failure in any new enterprise.
The rail hospitality industry, led by members of IRCG, is well equipped to help define the best onboard service solutions, with experts in the design of retail and catering concepts, brands, supply chains, service areas, equipment, technology and logistics; so plan early for a great passenger experience and it will pay dividends for the future success of any new high-speed rail operations and the customers alike! •
Plan early for great customer experience onboard and it will pay dividends in the future for U.s. rail operators