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Old March 22nd, 2006, 12:07 PM   #1
Andrew
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Most exciting transportation technology today

There has been a lot of talk recently about introducing new or improved transportation technologies to the UK. I am interested in the views of everyone as to which excites or interests you most. It can be any form of transport; public or private, intra or inter city or international. It doesnt have to be a completely new technology (for example; you can include fusions of older technologies to create a new concept or a reintroduction of an old technology in a modern form such as the new tram systems seen in a number of cities). Lets not let it get too broad so try and limit it to technologies that are yet to be or have only recently been introduced / reintroduced in the UK.


If you've been reading my contributions to some of the other transport threads you can no doubt guess my choice already; I'm going with maglev technology (particulaly high speed). I'm convinced that this is the future of public land based transport for long distance travel and may even prove to be the future for shorter distance travel as well in the longer term. In the same way that the first railways revolutionised travel in the industrial revolution I believe high speed maglev has the potential to revolutionise long distance land based travel now.

While I see high speed rail as an important leap in railway technology in the mid 20th century, I see it as a natural progression in technology rather than a revolution in transport. No matter how much you improve railway technology it is still based on wheel on rail technology that is nearly two centuries old which itself is based on technologies that are themselves hundreds of years old.

I believe we have more or less reached the limits of this technology as it becomes more and more difficult to further increase it's speed. That is why I believe maglev technology represents a new future in transport, it is a completely new system that is free of a number of the constraints that face wheel on rail technology. Current maglev systems can already reach speeds that high speed rail could only dream of and as I understand it there is plenty of scope for future speed increases as the technology develops.

High speed maglev is the only land based transportation technology that has a realistic chance of reducing the need for air travel and as it is non polluting it can therefore help to reduce emissions considerably if it can grab the travelers who choose to fly at present.

There are many other reasons for my choice of maglev which I wont go into here as I've gone on long enough but I think I have demonstrated that I'm genuinely excited about the prospects of this technology.


I'd like to know what everyone else thinks, what transport technologies excite you most, which have the most potential to change current trends or solve current problems?
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 01:09 PM   #2
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agreed. though, for the nation to really galvanise behind something as revolutionary as this, there'd have to be a change in attitudes - away from seeing such groundbreaking innovation and technology as science fiction best left to the distant future, to understanding that all the technology we use today was once groundbreaking and innovative.

people take things like planes and trains for granted because they are so used to them, and therefore are more incredulous to anything that is actually new and innovative. i'm sure older people might more appreciate the viability of new techonologies like maglev, since they've lived through the era of aeroplane travel becoming common.
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Old March 24th, 2006, 07:02 PM   #3
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Noone else gonna reply eh??
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Old March 24th, 2006, 10:04 PM   #4
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I'll reply and second your choice of Maglev esp Transrapid. Fantastic technolgy and I think ground transport has been in need of a major breakthrough for many years. This is it! Speeds and times that will shrink nations as planes shrank the world. Hopefully coming to the UK soon.
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Old March 24th, 2006, 10:14 PM   #5
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How often have you travelled at the speed of the French and German high speed trains? I have. You have to be aware of the limits of the human body. MagLev may just be over the top. I took that ride just across the border with Germany and the physical pressure is quite imposing. MagLev travelling with many stops - which the huge density in Europe would require - will be a bumpy ride.
I'm all for ironing out the flaws in the already established means of transport. My fastest transport is a trolleybus where I get off from at a few steps from the place I want to be. New transportation has so many beginners hick-ups. And tracks are too static. I've lived in the same street for over 35 years now and my trolleybus changed its route a bit three times now but the actual commute got much less each time. I missed my train once, I took the trolleybus and surpassed my train
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Old March 24th, 2006, 11:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew
There has been a lot of talk recently about introducing new or improved transportation technologies to the UK. I am interested in the views of everyone as to which excites or interests you most. It can be any form of transport; public or private, intra or inter city or international. It doesnt have to be a completely new technology (for example; you can include fusions of older technologies to create a new concept or a reintroduction of an old technology in a modern form such as the new tram systems seen in a number of cities). Lets not let it get too broad so try and limit it to technologies that are yet to be or have only recently been introduced / reintroduced in the UK.


If you've been reading my contributions to some of the other transport threads you can no doubt guess my choice already; I'm going with maglev technology (particulaly high speed). I'm convinced that this is the future of public land based transport for long distance travel and may even prove to be the future for shorter distance travel as well in the longer term. In the same way that the first railways revolutionised travel in the industrial revolution I believe high speed maglev has the potential to revolutionise long distance land based travel now.

While I see high speed rail as an important leap in railway technology in the mid 20th century, I see it as a natural progression in technology rather than a revolution in transport. No matter how much you improve railway technology it is still based on wheel on rail technology that is nearly two centuries old which itself is based on technologies that are themselves hundreds of years old.

I believe we have more or less reached the limits of this technology as it becomes more and more difficult to further increase it's speed. That is why I believe maglev technology represents a new future in transport, it is a completely new system that is free of a number of the constraints that face wheel on rail technology. Current maglev systems can already reach speeds that high speed rail could only dream of and as I understand it there is plenty of scope for future speed increases as the technology develops.

High speed maglev is the only land based transportation technology that has a realistic chance of reducing the need for air travel and as it is non polluting it can therefore help to reduce emissions considerably if it can grab the travelers who choose to fly at present.

There are many other reasons for my choice of maglev which I wont go into here as I've gone on long enough but I think I have demonstrated that I'm genuinely excited about the prospects of this technology.


I'd like to know what everyone else thinks, what transport technologies excite you most, which have the most potential to change current trends or solve current problems?
I love the Maglev, I would like to see slower versions of it on a cross city basis instread of things like supertrams. The Maglev would be built above street level and therefore it would miss out rediculous endless traffic lights and road bends.

Will it ever be cheap enough to build here?
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Old March 25th, 2006, 12:20 AM   #7
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Built above street level implies climbing down stairs when you board off that train. What's wrong with busses which halt right in front of where you need to be?
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Old March 25th, 2006, 01:26 AM   #8
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Lol thats one of the things I've always thought about it. People get very excited about their trams but doesnt a bus do EXACTLY the same thing? As much as I would love to see a maglev system in the U.K I cant help wondering how expensive it would be to travel on? Would it be the businessman's train - the concord of the train world? Also if it was as affordable as the current intercity trains then you would have chronic levels of overcrowding I fear and the network simply couldn't cope / wouldnt be fulfilling its potential. Lets presume the potential volume of traffic was vast then would you better building a TGV equivalent as you could build a network with much greater volume ( multi-tracks as opposed to single/dual track maglev ) as opposed to your less capacious maglev same money equivalent?
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Old March 25th, 2006, 05:48 PM   #9
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Why not have tracks with a lip so that trains are stopped from moving up off the track, like on corkscrew roller-coasters? Stick the entire length in a tunnel of chicken-wire, to act as a sort of baffle, nice straight tracks, then why can't one do 400mph? (uneconomical, I guess)
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Old March 25th, 2006, 10:48 PM   #10
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I dont think that would be necessary to attain higher speeds, as you can see from this pic the maglev train wraps around the track so there's no chance of derailment. Basically the only force acting against a maglev train that would slow it down is air resistance. Maglevs can be made to go faster (the Japanese have managed to get theirs to go at something like 580kph), I guess the maximum possible speed is down to the airodynamics of the vehicle and how much power can be supplied to the electromagnets. I dont know but I imagine 500kph is the best speed that they can attain at an acceptable level of energy consumption. I imagine faster systems will be developed in time though.

I didnt mean for this thread to become another discussion only on maglev though. Does anyone have any other examples to add? I'm interested in seeing what transport technologies and systems people consider most interesting, influential or groundbreaking. Personally I'm also quite interested in the concept of PRT (personal rapid transport) such as this one: http://www.atsltd.co.uk/


They bill it as 'a revolution in public transport'. Is it? What do you think? What about hydrogen fueled vehicles? What other examples have you got? Why do you pick them?
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Old March 27th, 2006, 09:45 PM   #11
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I think hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are quite exciting. Pretty much anything technological that improves the environmental impact of transport I find interesting. Its quite interesting to see some of the novel approaches that get suggested. The segway for instance
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Old March 28th, 2006, 05:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prestonian
I think hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are quite exciting. Pretty much anything technological that improves the environmental impact of transport I find interesting. Its quite interesting to see some of the novel approaches that get suggested. The segway for instance
Agreed. There are a lot of buses in Perth (Aus) where I am that must run on LPG (theyre called 'GasBus') but i've also seen new buses emmitting simply steam from the back of the roof. Perhaps thats the type your talking about (Excuse my igorance on this technology)

However, the Maglev technology is the future as far as cross country mass transit goes. I have ridden the Maglev in Shanghai and its BREATHTAKING!
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Old March 28th, 2006, 11:40 PM   #13
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Imagine 'breathtaking' whilst travelling at longer distances. Dangerous, eh?
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Old March 29th, 2006, 07:43 AM   #14
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Haha! Yeah, hopefully it's not that breathtaking!
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Old March 29th, 2006, 02:29 PM   #15
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andrew - you know those ULtra spacepod monorail thingies? apparently one of the ideas for improving public transport west of newcastle city centre is a network of those!



this is a proposed network map. not sure how it would work but it is an interesting idea.

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Old March 29th, 2006, 05:02 PM   #16
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Fuel cell cars are exciting as this could have the biggest impact on private transport which isn't going to diminish. However I'd go with maglev as it goes one step ahead of High Speed Rail with the magnet technology and lack of wheels and the UK building it would allow us to leap-frog the high speed rail in places like France if it was well designed including the route. Shame that this government isn't going to build it, we all know their record on public transport in this country.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 06:34 PM   #17
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Personal Rapid Transport is very interesting, but I don't see that as the most exciting technology today. I think it will tale a lot of time before something like that will actually be implemented well.

Maglev would be the most exciting really, although that doesn't mean that I'm that big a fan of Maglev at the moment. It still needs a lot of work, and I mostly hope it will be compatible with normal train tracks some day.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 08:51 PM   #18
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Johnny, I had no idea Newcastle are considering it, that's interesting.
Quote:
I think it will tale a lot of time before something like that will actually be implemented well.
Sweek, we'll see. Heathrow airport have already committed to having one of these as a people mover around the airport ferrying passengers from car parks to terminal buildings. An airport sounds like an excellent place to trial a system like this, it'll really test it's ability to handle large numbers of people reliably. I've read most of the PDFs on the ULTra website and I'm confident that the system is capable of performing to expectations, they've done pretty extensive testing.
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