Originally Posted by Qliveur
I have a feeling that quite a bit will depend on steam power again. Like steam-driven turbines in nuclear power plants to produce the electricity that, in one form or another, will be used to power the vehicles of tomorrow.
You know, I was actually in favor of D_Y's argument for improved mass transit (it is certainly advantageous in in urban areas) until it degenerated into a socialist rant about forcing people to live like ants and how anyone who isn't in favor of that level of tyranny is just a selfish pig.
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.