Maglev Consequences Essay

657 words - 3 pages

Magnetically levitated ground transportation, or 'maglev,' is an advanced mode ofsurface high speed transportation whereby a vehicle gliding above a guide track issuspended, guided, and propelled by magnetic forces. Because they never touch the guidetrack 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) bycar, truck, bus, and public transit, and 9.8 billion passenger kilometers (6.1 billionpassenger miles) on Amtrak. As populations have grown the traditional systems havebecome stressed. Congestion on highways and at airports not only wastes time and fueland increases pollution, but constrains mobility to the extent that economic growth andproductivity are adversely affected.Increased demand. Between 1980 and 1990, with deregulation and consumerdemand for fast inner-city travel leading to lower airline fares, commercial air traffic hasincreased by 56 percent. Adding to the congestion and delay is increased commuter andregional air traffic. Those short distance flights take valuable landing slots that could beused for larger planes on more profitable, longer flights. With the maglev vehicles theshorter trips excluding access time can be cut a lot. With a study of 16 major corridors oftravel, 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 maglevtrip will be less so that even with the longer trips where the maglev vehicles don't have thetime advantage they will have the cost advantage.Because land is costly and scarce, adding more highway lanes and building newairports in or near our larger cities is becoming increasingly difficult. For example, addingnew 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 64percent of total petroleum use. Without...

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