Maglev - what is it? And is it relevant?
Magnetic levitation transport, or maglev, is a modern form of transportation that suspends, guides and propels vehicles (especially trains) via electromagnetic force. This High-Tech method can be significantly faster than wheeled mass transit systems, potentially reaching velocities comparable to turboprop and jet aircraft (550 to 700 km/h) in regular service.
Maglev trains are important transport systems for the future perspectives of regions, nations and states. They can create important location advantages.
Maglev systems represent a revolutionary transport innovation. At the same time, they can also function as a technology development platform (e.g., superconductors, new materials). They can, in certain cases, bring positive economic benefits through the optimization of spatial networking, travel time reduction and resource efficiency. A meaningful use of the technology also brings collective social advantages as well as a good image and prestige. The city of Shanghai, China, where Transrapid has been in use since 2003 for high-speed airport-to-downtown transport, uses these advantages intensively and markets them aggressively.
Each maglev system has its own advantages that can be applied for different uses, e.g., in high-speed passenger and freight transport (containers) or as a local urban commuter system.
The German Transrapid Maglev and the Japanese Maglev MLX are two of the leading maglev systems in high-speed ground transport. The Transrapid in Shanghai has been in successful commercial use since 2003 and the Chinese Dolphin Maglev, based on the Transrapid system, likewise targets the high-speed segment.
The Japanese Linimo Maglev and the Korean Rotem Maglev are both used for rapid but lower-speed urban transit.