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The Role of High Speed Maglev in the Future U.S. Transportation Systems

  • 01
  • May
  • 1989
AUTHOR: Richard A. Uher
OFFICE: RPD
SUBJECT: Maglev
KEYWORDS: Railroad Technology, Railroad Research, R&D, Mobility
ABSTRACT: [From the Introduction] There is a forecast of a national transportation crisis around the year 2000. Many say that gridlock will be a common occurrence on our highways and in our airways. It is evident from present data trends that America is losing its mobility. Although more of the population will have access to the highway and air modes, both intercity and intracity trips will take longer because of congestion. The purpose of this paper is to examine the nature of the forthcoming transportation crisis and to suggest that high speed guided ground transportation using high speed MAGLEV technology can be used along with improvements in the highway and air modes to soften the crisis. A proper integration of highway, air and MAGLEV modes could result in a maximum increase of mobility for each transportation dollar spent. This paper is divided into four parts. The first part is an historical reference to earlier developments in high speed ground transportation in the world, with special emphasis on the U.S. program. The second part examines the imminent transportation crisis in more detail. Projections of highway and air system congestion are highlighted. Since highway and air are the principal modes of passenger transportation in the U.S., worsening congestion is an extremely serious problem in terms of national mobility. The third part of the paper summarizes the present state of the art of MAGLEV technology. The technology is reviewed from the point of view of its maturity as a transportation system. Finally, in the fourth part of the paper, a concept is put forward on how this new technology might help meet the approaching crisis.
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