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Magplane's flexibility and service to an increased passenger base will result in "induced demand". Trips that heretofore were not considered because of time, distance, and cost can now be feasible. People can live at considerable distance from their jobs and still commute in a reasonable time, for reasonable cost.
The ability to collapse distances separating the major metropolitan regions of heavily urbanized corridors such as Southern California and the Northeast Corridor in the United States can radically alter travel patterns as more commuters become accustomed to traveling beyond the limited confines of the metropolis.
The capacity limits for the Magplane Commuter Service will resemble the subway systems of North America. With single intercity vehicles, the estimated hourly capacity is 10,000 passengers in one direction, and with three linked vehicles, three times higher. Using linked Intracity vehicles, capacities equal to any of the major world metro systems can be achieved.?
In studies performed for the US Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) (High Speed Ground Transportation for America, 1997), the operating and maintenance cost for an intercity maglev system in California was estimated to be 6.6 cents per revenue passenger mile. Factors such as level of service, traffic volume, route length, passenger-miles per train-mile, load factor, passenger-miles per gross ton-mile, passenger-miles per train-hour, and average trip length influence the operating costs of maglev service. Other corridor operating and maintenance cost estimates in the FRA study hovered between 10 and 13 cents a mile.
Magplane is not a faster railroad, but a high-capacity means to provide continuous traffic flow along magways, installed either within existing highway right-of-ways, or through and to previously inaccessible locations. It can serve closely spaced magports located off-line at major malls or transportation centers many kilometers apart. It can interface with existing transportation systems or provide an entirely new transportation infrastructure. Magplane offers a realistic alternative to the automobile because it offers similar convenience without the limited range and capacity constraints, and as such is not just an alternative to rail and air travel.
These US FRA cost models were predicated on an intercity maglev service that emulated a labor intensive intercity railroad service, complete with reservations systems, baggage handling, catering services and other station facility costs, including on board personnel such as attendants, conductors and engineers. Popular cost effective regional airlines routinely operate in markets where operating costs fall below 10 cents per passenger mile. For example, Southwest Airlines offered a discount fare of $36 one-way between Los Angeles and Oakland in December of 1999, a flight distance of about 350 miles, representing a per passenger mile revenue of about 10 cents.
To eliminate unnecessary costs, the designers of the Magplane Commuter Service for the Interactive Megalopolis will build a cost effective long distance mass transit intracity service without reservations systems and baggage handling and catering services. Automated Magplane vehicles with one attendant per vehicle will reduce labor costs significantly. The Magplane Commuting Service will be designed to achieve a revenue passenger operating and maintenance cost below five cents a mile, permitting a per passenger operating cost of no more than $10 between Boston and New York City, $4 between New York City and Philadelphia, or $6 between Los Angeles and San Diego. The ability to recoup capital costs is facilitated by the high capacity of the Magplane Commuter Service coupled with low operating costs, by distributing the capital payback charge over a greater number of induced passengers.