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What is MagLev?

Magnetic Levitation (MagLev) is an advanced technology in which magnetic forces lift, propel, and guide a vehicle over a guideway (usually elevated). Utilizing state-of-the-art electric power and control systems, this configuration eliminates physical contact between vehicle and guideway and permits cruising speeds of up to 300 mph, or almost two times the speed of conventional high-speed rail service. Because of its high speed, MagLev may be able to offer competitive trip-time savings to auto and aviation modes in the 40- to 600-mile travel markets-an ideal travel option for the 21st century.

Source: University of Washington

What is MagLev Status?

Current Magnetic Levitation (MagLev) status and information is available at the North American Maglev Transport Institute (NAMTI) website.

MagLev information was distributed at April 20, 2005 SCAG MagLev Task Force meeting.

Agenda / Attachments
MagLev Projects - In the U. S. & Worldwide
LAX / South High Speed Ground Access Study

The Transit Coalition Position

The best equipment and technology for use in public transportation is determined after unbiased research and study. We have strong concerns in starting with a technology or type of transportation vehicle and then working backwards to justify a predetermined conclusion. In all cases, other types of transportation need an adequate review, rather than comparing apples to oranges, which is done to justify the conclusions.

We believe in MagLev when used as intended, but not for short haul trips, which is planned in the Los Angeles Region. California High Speed Rail did an extensive study in using both MagLev and Steel wheels-on-steel technology for rail travel between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The proven Steel wheels-on-steel was selected for the project, even though MagLev had a slightly higher overall average speed.

The proposed MagLev system for the Los Angeles region is being designed with public funds. The construction and operations of the system, which is projected not to have any public subsidy for operation, is to be built and run by the private sector. The fare-box revenue is projected to pay off the revenue bonds and to cover the day-to-day operating cost. The stakeholders (the public) will guarantee the success of the system, or pay off the bonds and take the loss, with the investors not taking a risk or loss; just the profits if MagLev is successful.

Check out News, Information and Photos sections for additional MagLev coverage.

Going Nowhere Really Fast
May 13, 2005 - L.A. Times Editorial

This is an article published in Scientific American, October 1997 issue. The article concluded that the main prospect for MagLev's future, if any, may be as a high-tech tourist ride. The article cited transportation expert Tony R. Eastham, who predicted that MagLev would not be implemented in Germany or Japan in large scale. The abandonment of Berlin-Hamberg MagLev project in 2000 validated his prediction.

This is an article published in Transportation Quarterly, spring 2002 by researchers from University of Pennsylvania. The article concludes that the advantages of MagLev over high speed rail (CSR) are few and small; on the other hand, CSR offers big advantages in terms of construction cost, system network and compatibility characteristics. The article also criticizes US MagLev policy and actions: like in Germany and Japan, it is driven by technology suppliers and sense of political prestige, instead of consumer demand or sound scientific evaluation.

MagLev vs. High Speed Rail: The Debate
by Prof. Vukan R. Vuchic etc.

In its February 16, 2001 issue The Urban Transportation Monitor published a summary of Professor Vuchic’s critical review of the decision by the US Department of Transportation to select MagLev as a High Speed Ground Transportation mode as well as to select the Washington D.C.-Baltimore corridor as one of two locations to develop a pilot project to test Magellan technology. In March 30, 2001 issue, the debate continued as Dr. Vuchic rebutted response from Maryland Mass Transportation Administration.

Shanghai Transrapid Articles

Engineering World - April / May 2005
Transrapid June 2004 Newsletter
The technology is mature, safe, and reliable - by Mr Hong Chong´en
American Society of Civil Engineers Article by Kevin C. Coates and others- Nov. 2004
    •  Full size pictures from ASCE Magazine article
12-8-2004 e-mail sent to the Webmaster regarding MagLev vs. Rail

The Transit Coalition (TTC) disseminates information on this website to promote the exchange of information and ideas. TTC assumes no liability for its contents or use thereof. TTC post articles, pictures, graphs, studies and other material that may differ from TTC's positions. When reviewing this website's contents, TTC urges readers to consider whether these contents are biased, the leanings and motivations of the author(s), valid comparisons to other available information, and the potential inclusion of other information and opinions. Just because something is posted on the world wide web or included on this website for your information does not mean its true or completely accurate. Don't look only at the tangible benefits for any mode of transportation, also look at intangible benefits, such as compatibility with other systems, time to restore service after a disaster, training and other overhead costs.

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