The Very High Speed Transit System - RAND [PDF]

Description of a very high speed transit (VHST) system operating in its own rarefied atmosphere in evacuated tubes in underground tunnels. Most cases considered took less time to go coast-to-coast (e.g., 21 min) than it takes an aircraft to climb to an efficient operating altitude. VHST's tubecraft ride on, and are driven by, electromagnetic (EM) waves. In accelerating, it employs the energy of the surrounding EM field; in decelerating, it returns most of this energy to the system. Tunnel systems would be shared by oil, water, and gas pipelines; channels for laser and microwave waveguides; electric power lines including superconducting ones; and freight systems. Environmental and economic benefits are substantial, and the technology for building and operating the system exists.

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