Magnetically levitated ground transportation, or "maglev," is an advanced mode of
surface high speed transportation whereby a vehicle gliding above a guide track is
suspended, guided, and propelled by magnetic forces. Because they never touch the guide
track causing friction, maglev vehicles can be designed to travel at extremely high speeds,
500 kilometers per hour (300 miles per hour), or more!
Americans traveled 3.2 trillion passenger kilometers (2 trillion passenger miles) by
car, truck, bus, and public transit, and 9.8 billion passenger kilometers (6.1 billion
passenger miles) on Amtrak. As populations have grown the traditional systems have
become stressed. Congestion on highways and at airports not only wastes time and fuel
and increases pollution, but constrains mobility to the extent that economic growth and
productivity are adversely affected.
Increased demand. Between 1980 and 1990, with deregulation and consumer
demand for fast inner-city travel leading to lower airline fares, commercial air traffic has
increased by 56 percent. Adding to the congestion and delay is increased commuter and
regional air traffic. Those short distance flights take valuable landing slots that could be
used for larger planes on more profitable, longer flights. With the maglev vehicles the
shorter trips excluding access time can be cut a lot. With a study of 16 major corridors of
travel, less than 300 miles in length, they studied how well the maglev vehicles could help,
and in 10 out of the 16 the time could be cut at least slightly. Also the cost of a maglev
trip will be less so that even with the longer trips where the maglev vehicles don't have the
time advantage they will have the cost advantage.
Because land is costly and scarce, adding more highway lanes and building new
airports in or near our larger cities is becoming increasingly difficult. For example, adding
new highway capacity in urban areas typically costs more than $15 million per land mile,
and a new Denver airport is estimated to cost $3 to 4 billion.
Current transportation technologies are petroleum dependent, accounting for 64
percent of total petroleum use. Without transportation alternatives that reduce petroleum
dependency, transportation related petroleum use is expected to remain high--36 percent
above our own US petroleum production, so we will have to get the oil from other
countries which will raise taxes on oil imports, possibly creating national security
High speed ground transportation systems are capable of approaching the speed of
airplane flight while offering some of the flexibility of the automobile, such systems can
provide added capacity in dense corridors around the world. Because of its very high
speed, it will be more likely to attract medium distance air travelers and highway drivers
than high speed rail.
Electrically powered, maglev will be virtually independent of petroleum based fuels
decreasing our need for foreign oil products. Maglev networks will help decrease air
pollution and lessen US dependence on foreign oil. Also, maglev systems will complement
existing transportation systems-by lessening the air traffic, highway traffic leaving the
extra routes free for businesses to use.
The American government has already put billions of dollars into the maglev
projects and prototypes. I believe that we should just go ahead and spend a little bit more
and work with the countries like Japan and Germany and build a maglev transport device
for America. I believe with the plans to run maglev tracks along heavily traveled
highways and along highly traveled air corridors. This will cut back the congestion of the
airports causing less of them to be made at a large cost to America.
One of the problems that we found was a low frequency hum caused by the
maglev vehicles running along the tracks. Which has not been proven. It is describes by
the hearers near the tracks in New Mexico as a low frequency hum that annoys them late
at night when the air is still. Another is the cost many people think there is no reason to
spend so much money on something that may not even take off in the American public nut
there have been unpublished surveys of people asking if they would switch to maglev
transportation if I was easier and will cost less than conventional travel methods that we
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