Car Style Mass Transit Mag Lev System
Posted on October 19, 2009 Comments (12)
Skytran is a very cool sounding transportation option. It promises, individual transportation modules traveling at 100 miles per hour within the city nonstop to many more points than light rail can service. The current non-solutions we have been attempting for decades of building more and more roads is not working.
The costs is estimated at much cheaper than other alternatives. It would be great if something like this could actually make it (it is much easier to dream about possibilities than to bring them into the world).
From the SkyTran web site:
It works like a taxi that picks you up and drives you to your destination. You travel only with people you choose to, in personal-sized vehicles. The electric vehicles are automatically driven at a constant speed on the main guideway. Like on a freeway, you travel non-stop until taking an exit-ramp at your destination. Also like a freeway, instead of intersections PRT has over-passes so you truly never have to stop… vehicles are lined up waiting for you at boarding stations, and after you get out, they either line up to wait for another rider, or go park themselves and wait for peak periods when they’ll be needed.
At 60 mph the electricity for SkyTran would cost less than 1 cent per mile (at current electricity costs of 11 cents per kWhr). By comparison, buying gas for a 30-MPG car at $2/gallon costs more than 7 times as much.
The site estimates the cost at$10 million per mile for one-way track and $15 million per mile for two-way track. Fundamentally, SkyTran track can be cheaply built because all of the components are very light-weight. Weight is why roads and trains cost so much… In comparison, SkyTran’s guideway only needs to support one 1000 pound (loaded) vehicle at a time… See the detailed cost evaluation page.
At 100 MPH, SkyTran is 10x more efficient than a typical car. Similar to most cars, SkyTran’s most efficient speed is about 55 to 60 mph (see efficiency page). However, SkyTran is not limited to any maximum speed – aerospace engineer Doug Malewicki says that with subtle modifications, SkyTran vehicles could carry passengers at 200 or 300 MPH.
SkyTran is probably the quietest transportation system ever invented. All the noisiest parts of conventional vehicles are replaced by no-contact magnetic levitation and linear electric motor drive. There is no engine and no tires; hardly any moving parts at all except the car riding its magnetic cushion down the guideway.
SkyTran uses a passive levetation design based on Inductrack from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories. The design requires no electromagnets and no superconducting magnets, making it quite cheap by comparison.