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Essay/Term paper: Maglev consequences

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Economics

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Maglev Consequences

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 problems.
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 have today.


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