Labor, Energy & Capital CostsThree expenses dominate conventional transport modes; labor, energy, and capital costs. A Magline network greatly reduces all three.
LaborBecause the vehicles have no operator and vehicle routing isautomated, the Magline network provides significant increases in labor productivity. Construction of the network will obviously require large numbers of laborers. As the network expands, it will also provide many new high-skill jobs in information systems, safety monitoring of operations, and service-related positions such as logistics and maintenance of vehicles, guideways, stations and control systems.
EnergyFrictionless and aerodynamically optimized vehicles will yield high energy efficiency even operating at very high speed. This gives Magline SPM an immediate major cost advantage and an even larger advantage as the cost of petroleum-based fuels increases. Further, the system can use any grid-connected electrical source, including alternatives such as wind, solar and hydroelectric power.
Construction CostsDetailed costs system construction has yet to be determined, but can be compared to conventional PRT systems. Reported PRT costs were nearly $10 M/km (in 2005 dollars) in one case (Burke 1979), and $10-15 M/km in another (SkyWeb 2006). For a similarly complex network, we expect Magline costs to compare favorably.
A full Magline ATN with high speed operation has a substantial cost advantage over High Speed Rail (HSR), however. A full Magline ATN would utilize unidirectional links rather than dual tracks, cutting costs nearly in half. For example, if we use $15M/km as the starting point, a unidirectional Maglev PRT system would cost $7.5M/km or about $12M per mile. Actual costs will vary depending on local factors, but this is a radical improvement relative to the $50-150M per mile typical cost of conventional maglev, light rail, or high speed rail. Similar savings are possible for even a complex PRT network.