Comparable Transit Technologies

The transit industry is exploding with ideas and organized efforts to solve growing congestion. This chapter will deal with describing the huge variety of technology that is available today and provide contacts for vendors.  However, the only technology that is currently attracting funding is old fashioned  rail which is mostly on the ground.  It is running $35 to $45 million per mile min. and mostly funded by the feds.  LRT has an operating capacity of 6,000 to 7,500 passenger per hour and runs 30 to 50 mph.  (
See capacity comparisons memo). Here are over 125 comparable transport technologies:

Sources: University of Washington Faculty Web Server and SmartSkyways research

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RUF Dual Mode System

Magna Force

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Ultra System

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Skyweb Express

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American MagLev
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PRT 2000
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Smart Skyways
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System 21
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Sky Train
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Minneapolis-St. Paul PRT
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Cabin Lift
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Las Vegas Monorail

Maglev Aerotrain

Railway Technology

People/Cargo Mover


Mister PRT

Dallas Ft Worth Airport
Automated People Mover


  Silver Bullet  in Palo Alto

  Redmond, WA

Cities 21

Dual-Mode Vehicle

Doppelmayr Cable Car

Monic PRT

Vectus PRT



UltraLight Rail





TIG / m Trolley




Autonomous Transportation System
NOWAIT Transit


PRT Project


Types of Systems and Components 
On the ground and above the ground.  Monorail has two types of systems that are all elevated: hung and straddle (above the traffic).  On the ground has linked our cities and best used for long distance. Above the ground is best for an urban setting where traffic congestion rules. Here are a variety of ideas showing a robust private sector involvement..

Rail - Over 50 yrs old, the railroad track is the only standard in America, there are over 50,000 miles of existing ROW. Conventional trains are costly and slow.  From steam to diesel to gas turbine, trains have grown into high tech machines that can go 300  mph or pull one mile of freight.  But they can't match the local management and convenience needs of people and thus don't attract the ridership to support them. Costs for light rail analyzed. Still rail has it's fans and some states such as California have established  a High Speed Rail Authority.  For more, visit 

Monorail - The best feature of monorail is the elevated guideway above traffic.  They have low efficiency and are expensive to build - about $25 million per mile.  The Mountain Monorail study is a plan to build a 127-mile track from Denver into the mountains feasible? It'll take $50 million to find out. Supporters of the monorail plan have submitted to the secretary of state a proposed initiative to put the issue on November's ballot. If voters say yes, $50 million will be spent on a study to determine if the monorail can work.  Supporters of the plan want the track to run along I-70, connecting Denver's airport and the Vail ski resort in Eagle County"  Now automation is and breaking down barriers in transit and breaking down the huge automated trains into small automated cars that more match the flow of people such as Seattle has approved a Monorail Initiative (MS Word format, 82 KB) and their web site is See for more on monorails.

Other links:
The Monorail Society:
Elevated Transportation Co.:

Automated Guideways
Here are hyperlinks to 15 exiting systems in America than run on automated guideways including monorails, aerial trams and people movers

Personal Rapid Transit  (PRT) - This technology is the most automated and uses very small vehicles offering off-line service to the final destination instead of on-line large stations. Taxi 2000 is the most well prepared and knowledgeable in this technology. Taxi 2000's first customer could be Cincinnati or St Louis.  

MagLev is a fast guideway above the  ground with high costs and promising future. The Federal  Railway Administration is conducting a $1 billion competition in seven cities to build a demonstration line as described below. The big player is  an International Consortium of  Adtranz, Siemens, ThyssenKrupp and Lockheed Martin  Their goal is to build 300 mph trains in America. On April 26, 2001 the Southern California Association of Governments approved a maglev business plan for a 92 mile route to be funded privately. 

Congress designated a competition as part of the national network of High Speed Ground Transportation corridors to be developed throughout the United States. The objective was to design and implement a phased high-speed ground transportation system as part of a national network of inter-city high speed ground transportation services. Florida has passed legislation to set up a high speed rail or maglev authority to build 400 miles and link 6 cities.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater  announced Jan 18, 2001 the selection of two projects in Maryland and Pennsylvania to be advanced into the next phase of the competition to build and demonstrate the first magnetically levitated (maglev) high-speed train system in revenue service in the United States. Oklahoma State university has announced a low speed Maglev (MS Word format, 65 KB) demonstration Model of 3200 feet.  Summary of maglev Web Sites: 

Swiss Metro - Switzerland

CargoRailTM  Heavy Duty CargoTramTM Shipment Option (PDF Format - 1.6 MB)

MagLev in China 

NRP- 41 - Switzerland

RTRI - Japan

Baltimore Washington Maglev - USA


Modern Transport Systems Corporation - Magnetic Support Technology for Transport Applications


Magplane is a derivative of maglev  with an innovative track.

Segway Pedestrian Transport System  and  Airboard at AirborTech.

Moller International has developed the first and only feasible, personally affordable, personal vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicle the world has ever seen.

Vendor Database Innovative Transportation    
The University of Washington maintains a list of hyperlinks of all the existing and planned technologies world wide. 

European Lists The following technologies have been included in the European Union report on innovative transportation technologies. Click to see Euro-List.   

The Transportation Research Board issued "Making Transit Work: Insight from Western Europe, Canada, and the United States - Special Report 257". The report identifies practices and policies employed in Western Europe and Canada to encourage public-transportation use and suggests approaches the United States could take to increase ridership from an average of 2% to the European average of 10% ridership in the population.

Associations  There are a surprising number of associations as the business community is becoming turned on to the opportunities.

National ITS Program Plan And Research Agenda (Intelligent Transport Systems, MS Word format, 88 KB) U.S. DOT has asked ITS America to coordinate the development of a comprehensive ten-year National ITS Program Plan Research Agenda. A joint ITS America/DOT Steering Committee has been established to guide the overall development process. The Program Plan/Research Agenda will be designed to be consistent with on going and proposed research activities of organizations including the Transportation Research Board, the Institute of Transportation Engineers and the National Science Foundation.
California Path Partners.

Others are:

CDOT's External Info Access
Clark County Nevada
Colorado by the Numbers
Colorado Government
Design News
Force Engineering
Hawaii State Home Page
Intermodal Transport Institute 
Power Superconductor, Inc
Railway Technology
Regional Transportation District
Transit Mix Too Slow - Article by Daniel G. Jennings

Links to Related Sites  


Amtrak President Ready to Depart
Murray Holds Hearing on Future of Amtrak

Illustration of a Phased Deployment of Personal Rapid Transit System for the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Area:

Trains Without Track
2-car rail vehicles on tires to take travelers around SFO