Here is where it falls down: No creativity in terms of looking at broader developments, it simply assumes that high speed rail is needed, not entirely surprising given who wrote it. Here is the actual answer: This is a 5 seat variant but enlarge such a thing to 20 seats and ranges of 600-1000km are achievable with current batteries. Short haul airlines are generally cheaper than railways per mile at the moment, electric aircraft are going to be transformative to the cost of flying as the parts such as motors, controllers and batteries are all commodity items and people like McLaren have got the cost per kg of carbon fibre structures down to levels acceptable for medium volume production. Operational costs are low as these vehicles have very few moving parts. Why would anyone want to build a piece of expensive fixed infrastructure when you can fly point to point? This one is being developed by a Boeing subsidiary, this is just electric without attempting VTOL too. Air traffic control issues are being solved by IP based systems and are being tested on drone deliveries right now. These things are much quieter than helicopters and rapidly move to forward flight on the wings where they are very quiet due to not having an engine. Also most helicopter "noise" is actually annoyance at the people using them, once people are able to actually fly in these things expect public acceptance to go up greatly. I imagine some will be saying "but it will never happen", here is a prototype flying earlier this year, the rate of progress is high and the regulator is on board.