Maglev has been typically considered primarily for high speed transport
between major population centers that are spaced hundreds of miles
apart, as described in the M-2000 summaries for Intercity
Passengers and the National Maglev Network and Intercity
However, maglev can play an equally major role in suburban transport.
Here, the important advantages are speed capability, absence of
pollution, reduced environmental footprint, adaptability to varying
terrain and ability to move large numbers of people and goods without
congestion and delays.
A two-way maglev guideway located on a right-of-way less than 50
feet in width can easily move more than 100,000 passengers daily
- more than a 6 lane highway - with virtually no environmental pollution
and noise, and minimal impact on the land.
Large population areas across the US are choking on their own success
as the population in the area grows, traffic speeds slow to a crawl,
the number of high ozone and other pollution days increases each
year, and housing becomes virtually unaffordable to a large fraction
of the citizens. These problems cannot be solved by building more
highways. Light rail transit systems help, but only marginally.
Maglev offers a new and attractive option for large metropolitan areas.
With maglev transport systems operating at moderate speeds, for
example, at 150 mph, new housing developments can be built at a
considerable distance from urban centers, where land and housing
prices are reasonable, while retaining the ability of commuter and
visitors to reach the urban center in a short time, at low cost,
without pollution, and still keeping an attractive, natural environment.
Suburban maglev lines radiating out for up to 100 miles from an
urban center would enable people in dozens of small separated communities
to rapidly access the urban centers and communities in the network.
The maximum travel time would be less than one hour, and the average
would be considerably less. Most of the 30,000 square miles of land
area served by the network could remain in its natural state. Assuming
an average community population of 30,000 people, a metropolitan
region of 10 million people would have 300 communities on the Maglev
network, with approximately 100 square miles of land area per community.
The rights-of-way for the suburban maglev networks are already
available alongside existing highways and railroad lines. Many of
these railroad lines are already defunct or dying. As described
in the summary on the M-2000
MERRI System, a suburban maglev line can be quickly and cheaply
put into place on existing railroad track. Moreover, the suburban
lines can also be used as access stations for high speed maglev
vehicles that travel between major population centers.