Looking to the future, hyperloop is one radical idea that could dramatically reduce travel times between cities.
Several businesses, including Hyperloop Transportation Technologies and Virgin Hyperloop One, are developing a hyperloop system. For its part, Virgin Hyperloop One has received $295 million in funding. Its investors include the Virgin Group, GE Ventures and SNCF.
Hyperloop is a form of transportation that uses magnetic levitation to float vehicles above a track. Electric propulsion accelerates the vehicle through a low-pressure tube, with the vessel capable of gliding for long distances at "airline speed" thanks to "ultra-low aerodynamic drag."
In terms of intercity travel, change could well be afoot. "In 10 to 20 years' time I think we're going to see a lot more high speed rail facilities that will allow people to travel long distances but in shorter periods of time," Shaheen said, adding that hyperloop technology was another potential mode of transport for both urban travel and long distance freight.