Monday, May 9, 2011


FIAT Littorina arriving in Eritrea, 1930s.
Frecciarossa. The name means Red Arrow, and it is one of three high-speed trains operating in Italy. The monitor over the door says that we are going 301Km/h somewhere in the plains of Romagna. It will take just under three hours to travel from Rome to Milan, half the length of the peninsula.

Sustainable energy and environmental policies have to include transportation policy. It seems obvious, but vehicle miles traveled by train are cleaner than those by automobile (unless they’re electric) or plane, even with a diesel-electric locomotive like the Frecciarossa’s. And if we can switch local public transport over to sustainable sources of electricity – like Italy’s extensive hydroelectric capacity or growing solar and wind installations – we’ll have a simple recipe for progress without environmental degradation. 
It’s worth noting that the Frecciarossa has separate receptacles on board for trash and recyclables, and its magazine is printed on FSC-certified paper. Sweet. 

No matter how many times I arrive in Milan via Central Station, it is always a thrill. This is how great cities greet visitors. This is how architecture generates civic identity.

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