Maglev For Miami

Aaron , John , Crech , Edward

Overview of Maglev

Maglev, short for magnetic levitation, is an emerging technology that will revolutionize transportation. Maglev trains use electricity to levitate above their rails, allowing for a smoother, cleaner, and safer travel experience.

Our plan is to implement a maglev train in Miami, which will make an oval loop in the North-South direction of the city. It will be powered electrically, part of which will come from solar panels above the track. Funding will come from our current transportation budget and ticket sales for the maglev train. We believe that maglev will be a great improvement in the city, for a number of reasons.
7. Maglev train - the levitating train (HSC Physics)

Four Benefits to Maglev


Adding Maglev to Miami will add an economic boost to the city by bringing in income from corporate sponsors and ticket sales, it will also cost less to maintain for the city and for the residents to use than other means of transportation.

The Maglev will be able to generate funds from corporate sponsors and from the money it receives from citizens. Major companies will seek to buy the rights to show their brand to the many residents and tourist who ride the train every day. The website for the original Maglev shows that rights to the trains name were sold for 20.9 million in 2003. (Shanghai Maglev). Income from this along with the rights to advertise in the train and its stations will add millions to the profit for the city of Miami. For each person who rides the train there will be revenue from their ticket sale. According to the Guardian the Maglev has been recoded going at 600km/h which is a world record for land travel (Guardian). These speeds will allow more runs than other trains which will mean more people using the Maglev each day.

The Maglev train will provide a cheap travel alternative for the residents and cost the city little when compared to other means of travel. Many Residents of Miami rely on an inconsistent transit system and cannot afford the cost of maintaining a car. In an article by AAA newsroom it states that the annual cost to own and operate a vehicle is above 9,000 dollars (AAA). Due to the large quantity of people the new system will serve thousands of residents at a cheaper price without inconveniencing them. While there is a cost to run the system my team will ensure that it is less than other means of travel. In an article from Stanford Stathis Ilondis says that the Maglev trains are more cost effective and especially when the move at higher speeds. (Ilondis). From looking at the operation of the original Maglev we can also see that do to it running on electricity we won’t have to worry about high cost when fossil fuels prices go up.

This money strategy for the Maglev is taken directly from that used from the original train in China. Modeling after a success like that will allow Miami to bring in income.


Maglev for Miami can benefit the environment in two ways: lowering pollution and using cleaner, more sustainable energy.

Maglev trains are better for the environment because they pollute less than other forms of transportation.

Two of the pollutants, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, directly harm people.

  • Carbon monoxide poisoning in the United States alone causes 4000 hospitalizations and 400 deaths per year. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2015)
  • The effects of nitrogen dioxide on mortality are equal to 23,500 deaths per year, just in the UK. (Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 2015)
  • Lastly, an estimated 150 million Americans are living in areas which do not meet the federal air quality standards. (Union of Concerned Scientists 2014)

Maglev trains release less of these pollutants than motor vehicles and traditional trains.

  • Motor vehicles are responsible for over half of nitrogen oxide emissions and 75% of carbon monoxide emissions in the United States. (Environmental Protection Agency 2015)
  • The various nitrogen oxides emitted by trains in Chicago alone are equivalent to those of 25 million cars. (Scott)
  • Maglevs do not contribute any direct air pollution because they are electrically powered, and emissions due to the generation of electricity are naturally easier to control. (Iran Maglev Technology)

Maglev trains are better for the environment because they can use cleaner, more sustainable energy than other forms of transportation.

Maglev trains can be powered by more sustainable forms of energy than what is currently in use.

  • 92% of the energy used for transportation came from petroleum in 2014. (U.S. Energy Information Administration 2015)
  • The depletion of petroleum is a serious concern, because the world’s oil reserves are sufficient to meet merely 53 years of global production. (BP)
  • Maglev trains, however, are powered by electricity, which can come from nuclear, wind, or solar power plants. (Powell 2003)

Maglev trains benefit the environment by emitting less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than other methods of transportation.

  • Maglev trains emit less carbon dioxide pear seat than both cars and traditional InterCity trains. (Maglev Innovation)
  • Emissions could conceivably be cut down to zero if the maglev train was powered by solar panels on top of the track. (Ramireddy 2012)
  • This is important, because carbon dioxide contributes to the greenhouse effect, which most scientists today consider to be the main cause of global warming, according to NASA. (NASA 2015)


Maglev for Miami presents a safe option for passengers to travel on, as the technology used in Maglev trains has several safety benefits, and the Maglev trains would be a safer alternative to the current public transportation system in Miami.

Several of the safety achievements of Maglev trains are results of the technology used in the train.

Maglev trains are not as affected by the weather as other types of trains would be.

  • Maglev trains are one of the only trains not affected by weather (Taguchi), which in the case of Miami would be rain.
  • The trains do not rely on friction for movement, which leads to them not being affected by rain. (Wilson)

Technology features of Maglev trains make it difficult for accidents to occur.

  • Using Maglev trains greatly reduce the wear on mechanical components used in trains (Li), reducing the chances of an accident due to mechanical failure.
  • The guideway for the trains are elevated above the ground which makes it very difficult for an object to accidently be in the way of the train (Aoliaei).

There has only been one major accident involving a Maglev train.

  • In 2006 a Maglev train in Germany crashed killing 23 people (The Gaurdian).
  • Human error was responsible for the crash, as a maintenance vehicle was on the tracks at the time, but the employees gave the all clear signal, and the conductor did not apply the brakes before the collision. (USA Today)

Maglev trains would present an improvement in safety over the current public transportation system in Miami.

Miami’s current means of public transportation consist of rail and bus systems

  • Miami has a Metrorail system made from a 25 mile track, with another additional 4 miles of track (Transportation and Public Works).
  • Miami also has a Metrobus system that is designed to be integrated with the Metrorail system, providing transportation to and from the train stops, as well as between other places. (Transportation and Public Works).

Miami has significant problems with traffic accidents, and thus the current bus system does not offer an option that is as safe as Maglev trains.

  • A study done by Journal of Safety Research noted that buses and cars have a similar number of accidents per million passenger miles (3.04 to 3.21 respectively) (Wihbey).
  • In the city of Miami people are 49.9% more likely to have a crash than the national average (Allstate Insurance).
  • While there is significant risk of being in a bus accident, there has only been one major incident involving Maglev trains (The Guardian), making Maglev trains a better alternative to the current bus system.

Implementing Maglev trains in Miami presents a much safer alternative than expanding the current rail system due to the differences in the technology.

  • As stated earlier, Maglev trains will not be affected by weather like normal trains would be (Taguchi), making these trains a safer option when it is raining.
  • The Maglev trains are wrapped around the guideway that they are mounted on making them nearly impossible to derail. (Aoliaei)


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Allstate Insurance Car Accident Statistics

This chart shows the likelihood of being involved in a car accident by city.


Maglev for Miami would be the most convenient solution for overhauling and extending Miami's existing public transit system due to its efficiency as well as its lack of imposition on surrounding areas and people.

Maglev trains are much more efficient at transporting people due to its higher speed as well as the possibility of adding more convenient routes in Miami.

Maglev trains are extremely fast.

  • Maglev trains have hit top speeds of up to 375 mph (McCurry).
  • Ride conditions at top speed have been described as smooth and comfortable due to Maglev's trackless design (McCurry).

The Current system, Metrorail, is not neary as fast.

  • Metrorail trains reach a maximum speed of 58mph and only 31mph on average (Miami Airport).
  • Due to the track system, higher speed travel results in more jostling than a Maglev train would (Miami-Dade).

The new routes available by Maglev could be much more efficient than the current public transit system in Miami.

  • The current Metrorail system lacks any east/west traveling lines and does not stop in the north of Miami (Mazzei).
  • Miami's other small rail system, Metromover, only travels in two small loops around downtown (Miami Public).
  • Miami drivers can expect average traffic delays of 27 minutes per hour of driving (Munzenreider).

Maglev trains would be much less imposing on surrounding people and places than other conventional public transit systems.

Maglev trains are much quieter than traditional forms of public transportation.

  • Because Maglev trains do not experience friction due to levitation, they are much quieter than conventional wheel or track based transit system (Nan).
  • The loudest sound which a maglev train produces is the sound of wind due to drag on the train (Nan).

Due to its speed it can take less direct routes and still arrive faster than the existing Metrorail system.

  • The current Metrorail travels through many suburban and residential areas (Miami-Dade).
  • A Maglev train could make use of the less populated western side of Miami.

Maglev trains will not result in any extraneous use of public property.

  • Maglev trains can be elevated in the same manner as the current Metrorail system (Miami-Dade).
  • The trains can be connected to the current Metrorail system as needed until an overhaul of the existing system can be completed (Miami Airport).


Executive Summary

Our team seeks to implement Maglev into the city of Miami in order to improve their transit system and bring revenue to the city. These unique trains run on electricity and use magnets to move at speeds which are higher than other modes of transportation. The economic impact of this train system will be noticed immediately due to revenue from corporate sponsors alone with the sales we receive from tickets. Maintaining the train will cost less because it runs on electricity instead of fossil fuels. This also means that the train has a smaller environmental impact. Running on electricity will allow the train to move around the city without adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Since it travels fast the train will be able to offer more trips meaning more customers. This will help residents and tourist easily move around Miami. It will also be able to cover a wider area with its track due to it not suffering under time constraints. In addition to faster travel it will also offer safer travel. While many residents now rely on unsafe car and bus travel, Maglev trains are safe and have almost no crashes. They are also effected less by the weather than cars are. These reasons show why Miami needs Maglev and should not pass up on the opportunity.


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