The reason we don't have them is two-fold. One is cost (which is another ruse - see below) and the other is because our current railroad industry got the word "rail" legally defined as "steel wheels on steel rails". This stops all maglev proposals in their tracks because people just aren't smart enough to replace the word 'rail' in their stupid proposals! That's the biggest hurdle to date. Amazing.
Cost is another factor. Everyone THINKS it's expensive so that makes it expensive. Here's how. Without looking at cost, they start with the premise that it's expensive. Then they try to cut that through economies of scale. Their idea is always bigger trains to move more people with less car and track cost. As this continues, the tracks now need to support up to 80 ton trains. This means they need to be gigantic concrete-supported overhead 'roads' with two sided maglev systems for levitation and two more for steering. So now we have more concrete than a 3 lane highway PLUS the electrical part. Nonsense.
Instead, maglev should be used to hang the car, not push under it. This means a single track can do the trick. This also means that smaller cars are cheaper because they don't have steering, suspension, connections to the next car, or anything else. They can simply be a "T" shaped plate of aluminum with a 150 lb. carbon fiber egg hanging from it. With passengers, the total weight is around 1,000 lbs. With bulk freight filling the car, it could work up to 1,500 lbs. This now means the track can be small enough to hang on existing telephone poles (within reason). Since the track is 90% of the cost in all maglev, we just eliminated 95% of 90% of the cost and materials of the whole system. This makes it cheaper than cars, taxis, buses, trains, planes, commuter rail and even motorcycles. It also means that new rights of way are unnecessary and new ground need not be purchased. It's even small enough to fly directly into the lobby of high traffic areas. (Think malls, stadiums, schools, factories, concerts.)
For this "compromise" we gained the ability to run these tracks through neighborhoods (to within a couple blocks of any urban location) for less cost. So, we're not only saving money but we have also eliminated the 'last mile' problem where people had to drive to the train station. Since it's autonomous, we have eliminated half of the trip on deliveries. (Think school kids, pizzas, store deliveries, distribution hubs, drunk friends and coffee runs.)
In short, this allows people to travel distances of from 2 miles up to 300 miles, faster than any combination of existing methods available to date. (Until hover cars become available)
I analyzed my small town (12k pop) and found that it would cost 1/3rd of a brand new car to each family to buy and own AND OPERATE this system outright. It covers main tracks, side tracks and 50 loading zones. Private docks at $17k ea. would be paid for by the mall, wall-mart, school and factories. This way pays for ongoing costs so the people could ride completely free without being tracked. To connect to the next town would add another 1/4 of a brand new car.
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