Survey says: 79% of travelers would pick high speed rail over air travel when possible

In a recent poll of global travelers by SilverRail Technologies, 90% of respondents said they would like to see rail options displayed alongside flights when searching for travel. Rail is suddenly a hot topic (again) as the Obama Administration has pledged $53 billion to create several new high speed rail corridors in the country.

High speed rail is a very realistic alternative in Europe and Asia, but in the US there are very few routes that can currently be replaced by rail transport. When asked whether they would pick rail over air when available:

  • 79% would choose train over plane if high-speed rail options existed.
  • 61% would choose rail over air if the cost was the same or better.

The hassles involved in air travel have also helped increase interest in rail alternatives:

  • 86% of people would accept having the entire time from door-to-door be longer to avoid the process of checking in, security and boarding.
  • 66% would willingly add an hour or more of total travel to their trips to avoid the hassles of long lines, airport security and baggage fees.

Just how bad is the packing situation? Some people actually pack underwear in their laptop bag to reduce the weight of their main bag:

  • 89% of people take action to avoid paying bag fees, planning packing days in advance and stuffing carry-ons to maximum capacity to avoid checking bags.
  • 19% of people surveyed say they pack underwear in a laptop bag to avoid checking bags.
  • 61% are frustrated with extra costs added to airline ticket prices and wanted to be secure that the ticket price they paid is the total price.

And finally, when asked about how air travel has changed in recent years, 72% say waiting in the various lines is the #1 hassle:

  • Waiting in line is the #1 air travel hassle, according to 72% of people.
  • While waiting in line for a pat down, 47 % dream about the easy travel of yesteryear
  • 36% wanted family and friends to be able to accompany them to the gate, an impossibility with air travel