1991-08-01

Miniature Maglev Vehicles for Personal Non-Stop Transportation 911620

The People Pods Maglev transportation concept (fig 1) uses extremely light weight, 200 pound electric vehicles that are aerodynamic, non-polluting and carry two passengers. While traveling at 100 MPH on a monorail track system (safely above all other heavier traffic) a pod achieves an equivalent 400 MPG energy efficiency.Because of this miniscule traveling weight, an elevated guideway can be built with minimum materials for less than $2 million per mile and still exceed all static, dynamic and seismic structural criteria. This can be compared with proposed 160 passenger monorail trains (weighing 100,000 pounds) which require guideways costing up to $40 million per mile.(1) *The light weight of track design allows us to create an automated track forming/manufacturing robot that enables a two shift crew to deploy one mile of two way track per day. This further reduces costs and interrupts neighborhoods for shorter periods of time.Comfortable, semi-reclined, sports car like seating and careful attention to subsonic aerodynamic streamlining will enable the tandem seated People Pod passengers to be carried along at a steady 100 MPH for less than 1/4 cent of electrical energy per passenger mile.The personal nature of this transportation concept completely eliminates the time wasted to decelerate, stop, let some passengers off and others on and then reaccelerate at each and every station. A People Pod user will board, then travel non-stop on the main track until switching off at his preselected destination station.Anti-collision sensors, in conjunction with air bags and hydraulic brakes that squeeze the track itself, will provide emergency computer controlled 6g decelerations (55 foot stopping distances). The result is safe, 1/2 second headway spacing (73 foot spacing) and a capacity of 14,400 passengers per hour in each direction. This can be compared with four lane freeways which carry only 12,000 vehicles per hour. The goal of the People Pods non-stop grid system is to provide the most attractive, practical, effective, and profitable, public transportation system ever devised. To accomplish this objective, the Pods must be so capital and energy efficient that individuals would pay no more to use it than they would normally spend on gasoline. Creating a daily commuting service that is safer, faster, cheaper and less frustrating to use than personal automobiles is the essential motivating incentive that the People Pods concept addresses.The original People Pods concept was wheel driven, and based on existing ultra light weight electric motors (2). The Maglev People Pod concept offers compelling advantages but requires significantly newer technologies and related unknown costs. Additional technology ingredients include lightweight streamlined composite structures, advanced power distribution control systems, and today's modern high-powered computers. Using either power system, the People Pods concept can be used to create a useful, low cost, safe public/personal transportation system.

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