For starters, most places with successful high speed rail networks are much smaller geographically than the US and Canada are.
Like it or not, different modes of transit are economically workable at different distances. For example, look at the concord jet ... sure, supersonic
speed aircraft you would think would be a winner for all routes, but the reality was that it was only economical for certain distances and certain
routes. So the concord never caught on for more than a few flight paths.
High speed rail may simply be the same way.
Not only that, but successful transit depends on finding a high concentration of people who want to go from point A to point B. If you don't have
that, then your transit system has to be heavily subsidized, and in fact, most US mass transit systems are. Quite frankly, because the road and
highway systems are so well developed, people can more easily get into a car and go precisely where they want to instead of hopping on a bus, train,
or plane even and going approximately where they want to and then having to make further transportation arrangements (often rent a car), to get where
they are going once there.
This is another example of the sheer size of the US working against the heavy development of such systems. The scale of places like Europe and Japan
are much friendlier to mass transit systems because spaces are much more compacted. At the end of your mass transit run, you have less distance to
figure out for yourself than you would in the US.
Just keep in mind, it's not uncommon for a single US state to be as big as an entire European country.
My husband also points out that while the US may have roughly equivalent land mass to Europe, they have twice our population packed into that area --
something like 741 million to the US's 350 million. It's much easier to find your concentrations of people who need to go from point A to point B with
those population concentrations than it would be in the US. For example, while places in the desert southwest and Great Basin regions have population,
what would be the point of making the expenditure to extend high speed rail to those areas? There simply wouldn't be the people. Roads, however, are
far more economical than building an entirely new infrastructure, and they can reach everyone with little effort, even down to the simple dirt
edit on 13-7-2019 by ketsuko because: (no reason given)