FTA Low-Speed Urban Maglev Program, Status Report, 4/7/02

The overall objective of Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Low Speed Urban Maglev Program is to develop magnetic levitation technology that offers a cost effective, reliable, and environmentally sound transit option for urban mass transportation in the United States.  Maglev is an innovative approach for transportation in which trains are supported by magnetic forces without any wheels contacting the rail surfaces. 

Maglev promises several attractive benefits including the ability to operate in challenging terrain with steep grades, tight turns, all weather operation, low maintenance, rapid acceleration, quiet operation, and superior ride quality among others.  Maglev is unmanned and operates typically on elevated guideway.  For urban alignments, Maglev potentially could eliminate the need for tunnels for noise abatement, resulting in significant cost savings.

Current FTA projects are listed below together with contact information.

The General Atomics Urban Maglev Project, in recognition of General Atomics, San Diego, CA, the lead company, is developing a system based on permanent magnets.  Contact: Dr. H. ("Sam") Gurol, General Atomics, San Diego, CA; Tel: 858 455-4113; e-mail: sam.gurol@gat.com.

Maglev 2000 of Florida Corporation is establishing the feasibility of a super conducting electrodynamic suspension (repulsive force) technology based on the concept of American scientists Drs. Gordon Danby and James Powell.  Contact: Charles Smith, Maglev 2000 of Florida Corporation, Titusville, FL; Tel: 707 399-8638; e-mail: chsmithmaglev@yahoo.com.

The Colorado Department of Transportation partnered with Sandia National Laboratories, Colorado Intermountain Fixed Guideway Authority, and Maglev Technology Group, LLC for the development of a low speed Maglev to link Denver International airport with Vail, about 140 miles away.  Contact: Richard Griffin, Colorado DOT, Denver, CO; Tel: 303 757-9973; e-mail: Richard.Griffin@dot.state.co.us

Maglev Urban System Associates of Baltimore, Maryland is exploring the viability of Japanese developed low-speed Maglev technology that has undergone over 100,000 kilometers of testing, for use in the United States. The MUSA team consists of Earth Tech (formerly Kaiser Engineers), Chubu High Speed Surface Transport (HSST) Development Corporation, Kimley-Horn & Associates, Chamberlain Engineering, Delon Hampton & Associates, GE Transportation Global Signal Systems (formerly Harmon Industries), and Daniel, Mann, Johnson & Mendenhall/Frederick R. Harris. Contact: Robert Evans, EarthTech Global Transportation Services, Baltimore, MD; Tel: 410 637-1614; e-mail: Robert_Evans@EarthTech.com.

MagneMotion Inc is leading the development of a key Maglev technology for future implementation in transportation systems serving traffic-congested urban areas.  A principal element of the MagneMotion Urban Maglev system is the use of bus-size vehicles that can operate with short headway under automatic control that use the company's Linear Synchronous Motor technology.  Contact: Dr. Richard Thornton, MagneMotion Inc., Acton, MA; Tel: 978-461-5090 x226; e-mail: rthornton@magnemotion.com

FTA contact person: Pindiprolu, Venkat (TRI)"  Venkat.Pindiprolu@fta.dot.gov


Last modified: July 01, 2002