Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - vehicle, economics - operating costs, economics - capital costs


Travel time, Precise position sensing, Permanent magnets, Operating speed, Operating costs, Noise pollution, Noise, Microprocessors, Magnetic suspension, Magnetic nails, Magnetic levitation, MagneMotion Maglev system, Lightweight cars, Light vehicles, Journey time, Energy utilization, Energy consumption, Electromagnetic suspension, Cost of operation, Computerized design, Computer aided engineering, Computer aided design, Capital costs, Braking, Acceleration (Mechanics)


The MagneMotion Maglev system, called M3, is an alternative to all conventional guided transportation systems. Advantages include major reductions in capital cost, travel time, operating cost, noise, and energy consumption. Vans or small-bus size vehicles operating automatically with headways of only a few seconds can be moved in platoons to achieve capacities of at least 12,000 passengers per hour per direction. Small vehicles lead to lighter guideways, shorter waiting time for passengers, lower power requirements for wayside inverters, more effective regenerative braking, and reduced station size. The design objectives were achieved by taking advantage of high-energy permanent magnets, improved microprocessor-based power electronics, precise position sensing, lightweight vehicles, a guideway matched to the vehicles, and the ability to use sophisticated computer-aided design tools for analysis, simulation, and optimization. Arrays of permanent magnets on both sides of a vehicle provide suspension, guidance, and a field for linear synchronous motor propulsion. Feedback-controlled current in control coils wound around the magnets stabilizes the suspension. The motor windings are integrated into suspension rails and excited by inverters along the guideway. M3 is designed to provide speeds up to 45 m/s (101 mph) and acceleration and braking up to 2 m/sq s (4.5 mph/s) without onboard propulsion equipment. Operating speeds and accelerations can be modified by changing only the power system and wayside inverters. Capital cost, travel time, and operating cost are predicted to be less than half that of any competing transit system.