Transportation: New Systems for the New Century

by James T. Ball, (M.ASCE), Chief; Division of Transportation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Washington, DC,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1990, Vol. 60, Issue 10, Pg. 54-56

Document Type: Feature article


By the end of this decade, a new coordinated transportation system for the U.S. could consist of high speed rail, maglev, regional airports and highways built solely for trucks. It would not replace the need for personal transportation, but would move freight more efficiently. The high speed rail and maglev systems would be built for trips of 100-900 miles, and these would connect cities to new regional airports. Finally new truck-only highways would connect freight terminals, from which local traffic completes deliveries. Costs are estimated at $220-300 billion for 20,000 miles of maglev systems; $30-45 billion for 15 airports; and $220-270 billion for 15,000 miles of truck highways. Much of this funding could be covered by the savings in maintenance and improvements to existing transportation systems.

Subject Headings: Rail transportation | Magnetic levitation trains | Airports and airfields | Highways and roads | Trucks | Freight transportation | Travel modes | Freight terminals

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