If the ET3 company can get its proposed maglev tube system off the ground, science fiction could become reality, writes Eric Jaffe.
Billing their transportation vision as "Space Travel on Earth," ET3's frictionless maglev system, which would run passenger capsules along airless transport tubes, is promising speeds from 370 miles per hour (for local trips) to 4,000 m.p.h. for intercontinental ones.
Unfortunately, it sounds from Jaffe's report as though ET3's vision is more likely to succeed as a patent, a website, and a dream, than as a fully realized transportation system.
According to Jaffe, "Recognizing the obvious financial burden, the company is selling sub-licenses for $100 a pop to Chinese investors who want a share of the action. Though it must be said the company's 2003 cost analysis, estimating construction at an optimistic $2 million a mile, seems to have misplaced a zero or several."
Interestingly, Robert Goddard, considered the "father of modern rocket propulsion," proposed his own vacuum tube transportation system as early as 1909, says Jaffe, who goes on to explore other fantastical transport schemes from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Keanu Reeves Set to Play Daniel Burnham in ‘The Devil in the White City’
Planning is going to get a new level of star power as a limited series adaptation of The Devil in the White City gets ready for television screens in 2024.
Opinion: Aging Population, Declining Fertility Requires Long-Term Investments
Faced with the dire consequences of a one-two punch of aging populations and declining birthrates, one writer has suggestions for how policy can help ensure a better future.
Marrying Urban Identity and Economic Prosperity
A new book posits that truly successful communities have a strong economic base and a firmly rooted sense of place.
Could Los Angeles Emulate Barcelona’s ‘Superblocks’?
A proposal in the city council could bring the ‘superblock’ model to Los Angeles, opening up neighborhood streets to more biking, walking, and public amenities.
San Antonio Office Tower To Become Residential
With the building more than half vacant, the new owners of the Tower Life Building plan to convert the historic tower into residences that could include affordable housing.
Freeway Removal Movement Slowly Gains Steam
Although the concept has recently received more national attention thanks in part to the federal Reconnecting Communities Act, cities have shown reluctance to support highway removal projects.
Sun City Center Community Association, Inc
City of Mesa
Town of Gilbert, Arizona
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.