Originally Posted by Darth_Yuthura
Actually, the issue of mass transit shifted into commuter rail systems.
I had defined that maglev would be unrealistic for that purpose, but it would serve well as a freight and passenger line between the major cities. If people don't intend to live in these 'steel caves,' then most goods would still have to go through Chicago, New York, LA, and other transportation hubs. Maglev lines would simply make it cheaper and more favorable than current diesel train lines.
If you attempted to use Maglev for short trips, then it would not function well in the US. For long trips, then it would come out on top.
Before anyone goes pointing the finger at maglev for being 'every bit as dirty as hydrogen,' then I'd like to see a hydrogen-powered vehicle that achieves a nearly 80% energy efficiency rating. I'd also love to see another solution that doesn't involve generating more energy when the issue is coping with fewer sources.
Oh, and your nuclear suggestion is not so clean either. Mining, milling, and fuel rod fabrication are actually very bad for the environment.
You haven't offered an alternative that does not use electricity. Many of those power plants use coal and oil. Nuclear is one of the cleanest alternatives. Solar is great, but efficiency is around 20% and it isn't a viable option in some areas because cloud cover tends to severely limit it's usefulness. Geothermal: not available in many areas. Hydroelectric: not available in many areas, and tends to kill off native fish in some areas. Wind: NOISY, kills birds, expensive to maintain, and again, not a viable option as it requires near constant wind.
Quite frankly MagLev is far less cost efficient. Not only that, but HST's CAN run on normal commuter tracks(at slower speeds obviously) whereas a maglev cannot go on any existing tracks(only around 1150km of the TGV is high speed, 75% is on conventional rail). Maglev efficiency is only slightly better than a normal train as the key resistances are air friction and tonnage wheel friction is only a slight efficiency drain.
What document are you referencing for 80% efficiency? I mean a turbine achieves 50 to 70% efficiency in the real world. But has a theoretical possibility at or above 90%.