Public Transportation

Public transportion offers many advantages over individual transport modes such as automobiles. The benefits are many :

costs less to the community,
needs less urban space,
is less energy-intensive,
pollutes less,
is the safest mode,
improves accessibility to jobs, and
Offers mobility for all.

What are buses?

Bus vehicles are celebrating their 100th anniversary. Some 80% of all public transport passengers worldwide are carried by buses.

The bus is a very efficient mode of transport, which is cheap, flexible and, in many cases, tailored to the needs of users both in terms of capacity and speed. Buses operate in mixed traffic and are easy to put in service. They do not require any infrastructure except a depot and workshop.

From an economic, environmental and social point of view, the bus still remains the most universal solution for a balanced and sustainable urban development.
Indeed, the bus is the only public transport mode in many of the world’s cities. It also plays a key supporting role in cities with rail transport modes.

Other key innovations include:

Clean engines and alternative fuels
Low-floor architecture
Double articulated vehicles: up to 210 passengers
Guiding devices

Other key innovations include:

the energy consumption of the bus per passenger/km is one-third of that of a car.
Buses are only responsible for about 5% of the CO2 emissions generated by vehicles with internal combustion engines.
The 50 largest bus network operators have 54,700 buses. Every year they purchase some 4,500 new buses.
The top five bus manufacturers produce 82% of US buses, or 11,000 vehicles per year.
Capacity of buses: pax: single bus: 120 / articulated bus: 150

What is light rail?

Light rail transit (LRT) is an electric rail-borne form of transport which can be developed in stages from a tramway to a rapid transit system operated partially on its own right-of-way.

The general term ‘light transit’ covers those systems whose role and performance lie between a conventional bus service running on the highway at one extreme and an urban heavy rail or underground metropolitan railway at the other. Light rail systems are thus flexible and expandable.


Uses a combination of electric and magnetic systems that require very little energy to operate. The amount of energy the system requires will be generated using solar technology. Thin film solar panels will be placed all along the rail line that will supply the energy required to operate the system. This makes the system with a zero carbon foot print

Rapid transit

The world's first underground railway 1863

A rapid transit, underground, subway, elevated railway, metro or metropolitan railway system is an electric passenger railway in an urban area with a high capacity and frequency, and grade separation from other traffic.[1][2] Rapid transit systems are typically located either in underground tunnels or on elevated rails above street level. Outside urban centers, rapid transit lines may run on grade separated ground level tracks.

Service on rapid transit systems is provided on designated lines between stations using electric multiple units on rail tracks, although some systems use magnetic levitation or monorail. They are typically integrated with other public transport and often operated by the same public transport authorities. Rapid transit is faster and has a higher capacity than trams or light rail, but is not as fast or as far-reaching as commuter rail. It is unchallenged in its ability to transport large amounts of people quickly over short distances with little land use. Variations of rapid transit include people movers, small-scale light metro and the commuter rail hybrid S-Bahn.

The first rapid transit system was the London Underground, which opened in 1863. The technology quickly spread to other cities in Europe, and then to the United States where a number of elevated systems were built. At first these systems used steam locomotives, with the term later coming to entirely mean electric systems. Since then the largest growth has been in Asia and with driverless systems. More than 160 cities have rapid transit systems, totaling more than 8,000 km (4,900 miles) of track and 7,000 stations. Twenty-five cities have new systems under construction.

The biggest metro system in the world by length of routes and number of stations is the New York Subway, however by length of lines the largest are the – London Underground and Shanghai Metro[3]. The busiest metro systems in the world by daily and annual ridership are the Tokyo Metro and Moscow Metro

London Light Rail


Maglev (derived from magnetic levitation), is a system of transportation that suspends, guides and propels vehicles, predominantly trains, using magnetic levitation from a very large number of magnets for lift and propulsion. This method has the potential to be faster, quieter and smoother than wheeled mass transit systems. The power needed for levitation is usually not a particularly large percentage of the overall consumption; most of the power used is needed to overcome air drag, as with any other high speed train.

The highest recorded speed of a Maglev train is 581 kilometres per hour (361 mph), achieved in Japan in 2003, only 6 kilometres per hour (3.7 mph) faster than the conventional TGV wheel-rail speed record.

The first commercial maglev people mover was simply called "MAGLEV" and officially opened in 1984 near Birmingham, England. It operated on an elevated 600-metre (2,000 ft) section of monorail track between Birmingham International Airport and Birmingham International railway station, running at speeds up to 42 km/h (26 mph); the system was eventually closed in 1995 due to reliability problems.[1]

Perhaps the most well known implementation of high-speed maglev technology currently operating commercially is the Shanghai Maglev Train, an IOS (initial operating segment) demonstration line of the German-built Transrapid train in Shanghai, China that transports people 30 km (19 mi) to the airport in just 7 minutes 20 seconds, achieving a top speed of 431 km/h (268 mph), averaging 250 km/h (160 mph).



First patents

High speed transportation patents were granted to various inventors throughout the world.[2] Early United States patents for a linear motor propelled train were awarded to the inventor, Alfred Zedekiah (German). The inventor was awarded U.S. Patent 782,312 (June 21, 1907) and U.S. Patent RE12,700 (August 21, 1907).[3] In 1907, another early electromagnetic transportation system was developed by F. S. Smith.[4] A series of German patents for magnetic levitation trains propelled by linear motors were awarded to Hermann Kemper between 1937 and 1941.[5] An early modern type of maglev train was described in U.S. Patent 3,158,765, Magnetic system of transportation, by G. R. Greenfly (August 25, 1959). The first use of "maglev" in a United States patent was in "Magnetic levitation guidance"[6] by Canadian Patents and Development Limited


In the late 1940s, Professor Eric Laithwaite of Imperial College in London developed the first full-size working model of the linear induction motor. He became professor of heavy electrical engineering at Imperial College in 1964, where he continued his successful development of the linear motor.[7] As the linear motor does not require physical contact between the vehicle and guideway, it became a common fixture on many advanced transportation systems being developed in the 1960s and 70s. Laithwaite himself joined development of one such project, the Tracked Hovercraft, although funding for this project was cancelled in 1973.[8]

The linear motor was naturally suited to use with maglev systems as well. In the early 1970s, Laithwaite discovered a new arrangement of magnets that allowed a single linear motor to produce both lift as well as forward thrust, allowing a maglev system to be built with a single set of magnets. Working at the British Rail Research Division in Derby, along with teams at several civil engineering firms, the "traverse-flux" system was developed into a working system.

New York, United States 1968

In 1961, when he was delayed during rush hour traffic on the Throgs Neck Bridge, James Powell, a researcher at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), thought of using magnetically levitated transportation to solve the traffic problem.[9] Powell and BNL colleague Gordon Danby jointly worked out a MagLev concept using static magnets mounted on a moving vehicle to induce electrodynamic lifting and stabilizing forces in specially shaped loops on a guideway.[10][11]

Hamburg, Germany 1979

Transrapid 05 was the first maglev train with longstator propulsion licensed for passenger transportation. In 1979, a 908 m track was opened in Hamburg for the first International Transportation Exhibition (IVA 79). There was so much interest that operations had to be extended three months after the exhibition finished, having carried more than 50,000 passengers. It was reassembled in Kassel in 1980.

Birmingham, United Kingdom 1984–1995

The world's first commercial automated maglev system was a low-speed maglev shuttle that ran from the airport terminal of Birmingham International Airport to the nearby Birmingham International railway station between 1984–1995.[12] The length of the track was 600 meters (1,969 ft), and trains "flew" at an altitude of 15 millimeters (0.6 in), levitated by electromagnets, and propelled with linear induction motors.[13] It was in operation for nearly eleven years, but obsolescence problems with the electronic systems made it unreliable in its later years. One of the original cars is now on display at Railworld in Peterborough, while the RTV31 hover train vehicle is preserved on the Nene Valley Railway in Peterborough.

Several favourable conditions existed when the link was built:

The British Rail Research vehicle was 3 tonnes and extension to the 8 tonne vehicle was easy.
Electrical power was easily available.
The airport and rail buildings were suitable for terminal platforms.
Only one crossing over a public road was required and no steep gradients were involved.
Land was owned by the railway or airport.
Local industries and councils were supportive.
Some government finance was provided and because of sharing work, the cost per organization was not high.

After the original system closed in 1995, the original guideway lay dormant.[14] The guideway was reused in 2003 when the replacement cable-hauled AirRail Link Cable Liner people mover was opened.[15][16]

Japan 1985-

JNR ML500 at Miyazaki, Japan test track on 21 December 1979. 517km/h. Guinness World Records authorization at that time.

In Japan, there are two independently developed Maglev trains. One is HSST by Japan Airlines and the other, which is more well-known, is JR-Maglev by Japan Railways Group. The development of the latter started in 1969, and Miyazaki test track had regularly hit 517 km/h by 1979 but, after an accident that destroyed the train, a new design was decided upon. Tests through the 1980s continued in Miyazaki before transferring a far larger and elaborate test track (20 km long) in Yamanashi in 1997. In that year, development of HSST started in 1974, based on technologies introduced from Germany. In Tsukuba, Japan (1985), the HSST-03 (Linimo) wins popularity in spite of being 30 km/h slower at the Tsukuba World Exposition. In Okazaki, Japan (1987), the JR-Maglev took a test ride at the Okazaki exhibition. In Saitama, Japan (1988), the HSST-04-1 was revealed at the Saitama exhibition performed in Kumagaya. Its fastest recorded speed was 30 km/h. In Yokohama, Japan (1989), the HSST-05 acquires a business driver's license at Yokohama exhibition and carries out general test ride driving. Maximum speed 42 km/h. JR-Maglev features 10 centimeter float (approx. 3.9 inch) above the guideway.[17]

Vancouver, Canada & Hamburg, Germany 1986-1988

In Vancouver, Canada (1986), the JR-Maglev was exhibited at Expo 86. Guests could ride the train along a short section of track at the fairgrounds. In Hamburg, Germany (1988), the TR-07 in international traffic exhibition (IVA88) performed Hamburg.

Berlin, Germany 1989–1991

Main article: M-Bahn
In West Berlin, the M-Bahn was built in the late 1980s. It was a driverless maglev system with a 1.6 km track connecting three stations. Testing in passenger traffic started in August 1989, and regular operation started in July 1991. Although the line largely followed a new elevated alignment, it terminated at the U-Bahn station Gleisdreieck, where it took over a platform that was then no longer in use; it was from a line that formerly ran to East Berlin. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, plans were set in motion to reconnect this line (today's U2). Deconstruction of the M-Bahn line began only two months after regular service began that was called Pundai project and was completed in February 1992.

Other patents

High speed transportation patents were also granted to various other inventors throughout the world.[2] Early United States patents for a linear motor propelled train were awarded to the inventor, Alfred Zehden (German). The inventor was awarded U.S. Patent 782,312 (June 21, 1902) and U.S. Patent RE12,700 (August 21, 1907).[3] In 1907, another early electromagnetic transportation system was developed by F. S. Smith.[4] A series of German patents for magnetic levitation trains propelled by linear motors were awarded to Hermann Kemper between 1937 and 1941.[5] An early modern type of maglev train was described in U.S. Patent 3,158,765, Magnetic system of transportation, by G. R. Polgreen (August 25, 1959). The first use of "maglev" in a United States patent was in "Magnetic levitation guidance"[6] by Canadian Patents and Development Limited.

Learning to levitate: LSM propulsion

See the link below

Main article:
Maglev train proposals

Many maglev systems have been proposed in various nations of North America, Asia, and Europe.[63] Many are still in the early planning stages, or even mere speculation, as with the transatlantic tunnel. But a few of the following examples have progressed beyond that point.

Click the country name to view the details.

Sydney-Illawarra Maglev Proposal

There is a current proposal for a Maglev route between Sydney and Wollongong.[64]
The proposal came to prominence in the mid-1990s. The Sydney - Wollongong commuter corridor is the largest in Australia, with upwards of 20,000 people commuting from the Illawarra to Sydney for work each day. Current trains crawl along the dated Illawarra line, between the cliff face of the Illawarra escarpment and the Pacific Ocean, with travel times about two hours between Wollongong Station and Central. The proposed Maglev would cut travel times to 20 minutes.

Melbourne Maglev Proposal

The proposed Melbourne Maglev connecting the city of Geelong through Metropolitan Melbourne's outer suburban growth corridors, Tullamarine and Avalon domestic in and international terminals in under 20 mins and on to Frankston, Victoria in under 30 minutes.

In late 2008, a proposal was put forward to the Government of Victoria to build a privately funded and operated Maglev line to service the Greater Melbourne metropolitan area in response to the Eddington Transport Report which neglected to investigate above ground transport options.[65][66] The Maglev would service a population of over 4 million and the proposal was costed at AUD $8 billion.

However despite relentless road congestion and the highest roadspace per capita Australia, the government quickly dismissed the proposal in favour of road expansion including an AUD $8.5 billion road tunnel, $6 billion extension of the Eastlink to the Western Ring Road and a $700 million Frankston Bypass.

 United Kingdom

London – Glasgow:

A maglev line was recently proposed in the United Kingdom from London to Glasgow with several route options through the Midlands, Northwest and Northeast of England and was reported to be under favourable consideration by the government.[67] But the technology was rejected for future planning in the Government White Paper Delivering a Sustainable Railway published on 24 July 2007.[68] Another high speed link is being planned between Glasgow and Edinburgh but there is no settled technology for it.[69][70][71]


Iran and a German company have reached an agreement on using maglev trains to link the cities of Tehran and Mashhad. The agreement was signed at the Mashhad International Fair site between Iranian Ministry of Roads and Transportation and the German company. Maglev trains can reduce the 900 km travel time between Tehran and Mashhad to about 2.5 hours.[72] Munich-based Schlegel Consulting Engineers said they had signed the contract with the Iranian ministry of transport and the governor of Mashad. "We have been mandated to lead a German consortium in this project," a spokesman said. "We are in a preparatory phase." The next step will be assemble a consortium, a process that is expected to take place "in the coming months," the spokesman said. The project could be worth between 10 billion and 12 billion euros, the Schlegel spokesman said. Siemens and ThyssenKrupp, the developers of a high-speed maglev train, called the Transrapid, both said they were unaware of the proposal. The Schlegel spokesman said Siemens and ThyssenKrupp were currently "not involved." in the consortium[73]


Tokyo — Nagoya — Osaka

Proposed Chūō Shinkansen route (thin broken orange line) and existing Tōkaidō Shinkansen route (bold solid orange line).

The plan for the Chūō Shinkansen bullet train system was finalized based on the Law for Construction of Countrywide Shinkansen. The Linear Chuo Shinkansen Project aims to realize this plan using the Superconductive Magnetically Levitated Train, which connects Tokyo and Osaka by way of Nagoya, the capital city of Aichi, in approximately one hour at a speed of 500 km/h.[74] In April 2007, JR Central President Masayuki Matsumoto said that JR Central aims to begin commercial maglev service between Tokyo and Nagoya in the year 2025.[75]


Caracas – La Guaira

A maglev train (TELMAGV) has been proposed to connect the capital city Caracas to the main port town of La Guaira and Simón Bolívar International Airport. No budget has been allocated, pending definition of the route, although a route of between six and nine kilometres has been suggested. The proposal envisages that, initially, a full-sized prototype train would be built with about one kilometre of test track.

In proposing a maglev system, its improved life and performance over mechanical engines were cited as important factors, as well as improving comfort, safety, economics and environmental impact over conventional rail.[76]


Shanghai – Hangzhou

China is planning to extend the existing Shanghai Maglev Train,[77] initially by some 35 kilometers to Shanghai Hongqiao Airport and then 200 kilometers to the city of Hangzhou (Shanghai-Hangzhou Maglev Train). If built, this would be the first inter-city maglev rail line in commercial service.

The project has been controversial and repeatedly delayed. In May 2007 the project was suspended by officials due to concerns about radiation from the maglev system.[78] In January and February 2008 hundreds of residents demonstrated in downtown Shanghai against the line being built too close to their homes, citing concerns about sickness due to exposure to the strong magnetic field, noise, pollution and devaluation of property near to the lines.[79][80] Final approval to build the line was granted on 18 August 2008. Originally scheduled to be ready by Expo 2010,[81] current plans call for construction to start in 2010 for completion by 2014. The Shanghai municipal government is considered multiple options, including building the line underground to allay the public's fear of electromagnetic pollution. This same report states that the final decision has to be approved by the National Development and Reform Commission.[82]

China also intends to build a factory in Nanhui district to produce low-speed maglev trains for urban use.[83]


Mumbai – Delhi

A maglev line project was presented to the Indian railway minister (Lalu Prasad Yadav) by an American company. A line was proposed to serve between the cities of Mumbai and Delhi, the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that if the line project is successful the Indian government would build lines between other cities and also between Mumbai centre and Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.[84]

The State of Maharashtra has also approved a feasibility study for a Maglev train between Mumbai (the commercial capital of India as well as the State government capital) and Nagpur (the second State capital) about 1000 km away. It plans to connect the regions of Mumbai and Pune with Nagpur via less developed hinterland (via Ahmednagar, Beed, Latur, Nanded and Yavatmal).[85]

 United States

Union Pacific Freight Conveyor:

Plans are under way by American rail road operator Union Pacific to build a 4.9 mi (8 km) container shuttle between the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, with UP's Intermodal Container Transfer Facility. The system would be based on "passive" technology, especially well suited to freight transfer as no power is needed on-board, simply a chassis which glides to its destination. The system is being designed by General Atomics.[42]

Seattle-Vancouver International Maglev:

The Seattle-Vancouver International Maglev corridor is proposed to extend part of an I-5 expansion plan, but the U.S. government has ruled it must be separated from public work projects, while Canadian federal and provincial politicians have not been receptive to these proposals. Further studies have been requested although no funding has yet been agreed. It is in demand for the area due to the high level of current traffic.

California-Nevada Interstate Maglev:

High-speed maglev lines between major cities of southern California and Las Vegas are also being studied via the California-Nevada Interstate Maglev Project.[86] This plan was originally supposed to be part of an I-5 or I-15 expansion plan, but the federal government has ruled it must be separated from interstate public work projects.

Since the federal government decision, private groups from Nevada have proposed a line running from Las Vegas to Los Angeles with stops in Primm, Nevada; Baker, California; and points throughout San Bernardino County into Los Angeles. Southern California politicians have not been receptive to these proposals; many are concerned that a high speed rail line out of state would drive out dollars that would be spent in state "on a rail" to Nevada.

Baltimore-Washington D.C. Maglev:

A 39.75 mi (64 km) project has been proposed linking Camden Yards in Baltimore and Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) Airport to Union Station in Washington, D.C.[87] It is said to be in demand for the area due to its current traffic/congestion problems.

The Pennsylvania Project:

The Pennsylvania High-Speed Maglev Project corridor extends from the Pittsburgh International Airport to Greensburg, with intermediate stops in Downtown Pittsburgh and Monroeville. This initial project will serve a population of approximately 2.4 million people in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. The Baltimore proposal is competing with the Pittsburgh proposal for a $90 million federal grant. The purpose of the project is to see if the maglev system can function properly in a U.S. city environment.[88]

San Diego-Imperial County airport:

In 2006 San Diego commissioned a study for a maglev line to a proposed airport located in Imperial County. SANDAG says that the concept would be an "airports without terminals", allowing passengers to check in at a terminal in San Diego ("satellite terminals") and take the maglev to Imperial airport and board the airplane there as if they went directly through the terminal in the Imperial location. In addition, the maglev would have the potential to carry high priority freight. Further studies have been requested although no funding has yet been agreed.[89]


The proposed maglev route would run from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, run through Atlanta, continue to the northern suburbs of Atlanta, and possibly even extend to Chattanooga, Tennessee. If built, the maglev line would rival Atlanta's current subway system, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), the rail system of which includes a major branch running from downtown Atlanta to Hartsfield-Jackson airport.[90]


On 25 September 2007, Bavaria announced it would build the high-speed maglev - rail service from Munich city to its airport. The Bavarian government signed contracts with Deutsche Bahn and Transrapid with Siemens and ThyssenKrupp for the 1.85 billion euro project.[91]

On 27 March 2008, the German Transport minister announced the project had been cancelled due to rising costs associated with constructing the track. A new estimate put the project between 3.2 and 3.4 billion euros.[92]


There are plans to build a 683 km long Maglev rail service between Jakarta and Surabaya. This Maglev will have 7 stations including Semarang. PT Maglev Indonesia working together with SNCF, Transrapid Deutschland, and other corporations will begin this construction around 2010.[citation needed]

Significant incidents

There have been two incidents involving fires. The Japanese test train in Miyazaki, MLU002, was completely consumed in a fire in 1991.[93] As a result of the fire, political opposition in Japan claimed maglev was a waste of public money. On 11 August 2006, a fire broke out on the Shanghai commercial Transrapid, shortly after leaving the terminal in Longyang;[94] nobody was injured. The cause is believed to be a fault with the Maglev's electrical system,[95] it has been suggested to have been an onboard battery unit.[96]

On 22 September 2006, a Transrapid train collided with a maintenance vehicle on a test/publicity run in Lathen (Lower Saxony / north-western Germany).[97][98] Twenty-three people were killed and ten were injured; these were the first fatalities resulting from an accident on a Maglev system. The accident was caused by human error; charges were brought against three Transrapid employees after a year-long investigation.[99

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