Magnetic levitation transport, or maglev, is a modern form of transportation that suspends, guides and propels vehicles (especially trains) via electromagnetic force. This High-Tech method can be significantly faster than wheeled mass transit systems, potentially reaching velocities comparable to turboprop and jet aircraft (550 to 700 km/h) in regular service.
Maglev systems represent a revolutionary transport innovation. At the same time, they can also function as a technology development platform (e.g., superconductors, new materials). They can, in certain cases, bring positive economic benefits through the optimization of spatial networking, travel time reduction and resource efficiency. A meaningful use of the technology also may bring collective social advantages as well as a good image and prestige. The city of Shanghai, China, where Transrapid Maglev has been in use since 2003 for high-speed airport-to-downtown transport, uses these advantages intensively and markets them quite aggressively.
Each maglev system has its own advantages that can be applied for different uses, e.g., in high-speed passenger and freight transport (containers) or as a local urban commuter system.
The purpose of this website is to call for maglev systems to be included – objectively and fairly – in any and all long-range infrastructure planning and planning competitions.
The following points list some major aspects of maglev systems when they are implemented with appropriate planning and implementation.
- Maglev can make rapid transit more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.
- Maglev can replace short-distance air traffic with attractive travel times.
- Intercity mobility will become more economical with maglev.
- Maglev can achieve very high levels of safety and comfort.
- Maglev guideway construction is becoming more and more economical.
- Maglev uses separate routes and avoids slower transport.
- Maglev test installations are a prerequisite for success.
- Maglev provides national economic and social benefits.
- Maglev systems are future-oriented, but realistic and important.
- This website provides relevant information around these statements.
Maglev technologies are not wonderful sweeping innovations that will provide a quick solution for all the mobility problems of the world. However, in specific cases, maglev trains can certainly contribute to the organization of more efficient mobility. This aspect should be tested in individual cases, for specific projects, i.e., in a comparison with wheel/rail and air traffic, and should be objective and fact-based, without technical prejudice or bias.
The German Transrapid Maglev and the Japanese Superconducting Maglev are two of the leading maglev systems in high-speed ground transport. The Transrapid in Shanghai has been in successful commercial use since 2003 and the Chinese Dolphin Maglev, based on the Transrapid system, likewise targets the high-speed segment.
The Japanese Linimo Maglev, the Changsha Urban Maglev and the Korean Rotem Maglev are used for rapid but lower-speed urban transit.