Reports to Congress

Assessment of the Potential for Magnetic Levitation Transportation Systems in the Unite States: Report Supplement

  • 01
  • Jun
  • 1990
KEYWORDS: Railroad Technology, Economic Analysis, Development Plan
ABSTRACT: The Supplement of this report to Congress includes a more detailed discussion of technological, economic and legal issues involved in advancing a U.S. maglev system. Chapter I of the Supplement describes generic maglev concepts, the history of U.S., German, Japanese, and other maglev development as well as future plans and potential applications. Chapter II describes the current state of maglev technological development, based on available information on the German attractive electro-magnetic system (EMS) suspension, the Japan Railways repulsive superconducting electro-dynamic system (EDS) suspension, the Japanese High Speed Surface Transportation (HSST) EMS maglev system, the U.S.-designed Magneplane system (EDS), and other design concepts. Chapter III assesses the technical feasibility of maglev in the United States and discusses the potential for a U.S. role in advancing development of maglev technology, particularly in the areas of guideway technology and vehicle and levitation/propulsion system design. In assessing the financial feasibility of maglev, Chapter IV forecasts net revenues and capital cost coverage based on ridership and revenue forecasts from projections of fares, travelers and trip times for maglev and competing modes, and estimates of fixed facility and vehicle costs. The potential for social, economic, and environmental public benefits are estimated, and possible "spinoff benefits" to other industries are suggested. Chapter V reviews ways to assist U.S. industry efforts to assume a leadership role in maglev, including funding for research and development, incentives and disincentives to private investors, new financing options that may be attractive to pursue, and legal and institutional issues involved in construction and operation of maglev systems. This chapter incorporates input from FRA's extensive discussions with senior executives of firms that can be expected to participated in a maglev development program.