Nowadays, people drive cars or board planes. These long-distance transportation methods are efficient at the expense of air quality. Rising fuel costs and long wait times at airport security checkpoints render these options inefficient. America is in a dire need of alternatives.
One alternative is the California High Speed Rail. In 2008, California voters voted in favor of Proposition 1A. This provides funding for the California High-Speed Railway project. However, the time required to construct California’s High Speed Rail is uncertain. But, it is certainly longer than the time China took to build its high-speed railways. According to Railway Technology, the Beijing-Shanghai High Speed Railway was constructed in 38 months. The maximum speed is currently 300kph. A trip from Beijing to Shanghai now takes 4 hours. California is currently working on its high-speed railway plan. According to the California High Speed Rail Authority, the trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco will take 2 hours 40 minutes. But this alternative does not fully address the problems. So we need a better alternative.
The best alternative is maglev trains. 21st Century Science Tech mentions some advantages for maglev trains. Maglev moves people and freight more efficiently. It is a cheaper and faster option. It can transport many passengers along with many cars and trucks. It costs 3 cents per passenger mile and 7 cents per ton mile to operate. It can last for at least 50 years with minimal maintenance. There is no mechanical contact and wear, which translates into longer service life.
Maglev is also energy-efficient. It consumes electricity, which can be produced at power plants. Energy consumption is 2% of that of a 60 mph car. It emits no pollution because it is energy efficient. This reduces CO2 emissions.
It is also quiet. Maglev uses unobtrusive narrow-beam elevated guideways. So its footprint on land is smaller.
There are also safety advantages. Distance between vehicles and speed is controlled by frequency of electric power fed to the guideway. This reduces collision likelihood, since the guideways are elevated.
An example is Shanghai’s maglev train. The maglev train travels from downtown Shanghai to Pudong airport. The trip takes 8 minutes each way. According to How Stuff Works, it covers 19 miles. Normal service speeds are 267 miles per hour. The average speed is lower due to acceleration and deceleration. The train accelerates to full speed when it departs from a station. It takes time to decelerate when a train approaches a train stop. But maglev transportation is advantageous for America.
But, how so? Let’s tie this to the American landscape. In America, most people drive cars or board planes. These are not clean methods of transportation. It produces CO2 and pollutes the air. It can lead to serious consequences. The altered weather systems come from pollution. New diseases emerge from pollution, too. Food supply gets disturbed. Temperatures increase. Polar ice caps melt. Polar bears become endangered.
Building a maglev train system resolves the problem. It is effective in reducing CO2 emissions. It also simplifies transportation in America. People get to their destinations faster. It is an efficient option.
Try taking a trip from LA to Yellowstone National Park. From Google Maps, type in Los Angeles, CA 90012 in the From field, and Gardiner, MT in the to field. The trip takes about 16-17 hours, and it covers about 1,000 miles.
Using Google Maps, a trip from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City takes 11 hours, and it covers 689 miles. A trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas takes 4 hours, and it covers 266 miles.
Maglev train would make a huge difference here. It would take 60-70 minutes to get from Los Angeles to Las Vegas (at normal speeds, accounting for acceleration, deceleration). But if the train stopped at Barstow, then things would turn different. It would add another 15-20 minutes to the journey time due to time needed for passengers to board and disembark. Then from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City, the trip takes 424 miles. On maglev, the train can cover another 1.5 to 2 hours (to account for accleration/deceleration and stops, if any).
At Salt Lake City, where the nearest train stop is located, we take a shuttle. Then we board an airplane. This takes 1 hour and 30 minutes. Then, from the airport, we take another shuttle which stops at both Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. The journey takes another 2.5 hours.
So, the maglev is very efficient. Maglev takes 3.5 hours, then the plane takes 1.5 hours, and then the shuttle takes 2.5 hours. It adds up to a 7.5 hour ride. The travel time has been cut by more than half. This is not the most ideal model, but it is the best model we can think of, using today’s technology.
I think America can benefit greatly from maglev trains.