Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Feasibility Study for New Danby Powell Maglev System(ST10587-1)

Polytechnic University,


Polytechnic Institute of New York, is a pioneer and center of excellence in magnetic levitation (Maglev) transportation systems. Maglev is an advanced mode of transport in which magnetically levitated passenger and freight vehicles travel along a fixed “guideway”. Since magnetic levitation eliminates mechanical contact, friction is eliminated and speed is only limited by air drag. First generation Maglev systems are now operating in Japan, Germany and China. Japan’s system is based on the inherently stable, large clearance superconducting Maglev invention of two distinguished professors at Polytechnic Institute of New York, Drs Powell and Danby. Implementation of the first generation Maglev Systems has been hindered by their very high capital cost. To overcome this obstacle, Powell and Danby have developed a much lower cost, much more capable second generation system. By using a simpler, monorail guideway and having the prefabricated guideways mass produced and installable with minimal field construction, this approach, combined with a patented design that allows the use of existing rail rights-of-way, reduces the cost of the Maglev systems substantially. This project will further evaluate the use of the new Danby-Powell Maglev system and examine the feasibility, estimated cost, projected ridership, revenues, and energy/environmental benefits of a possible application route, the NYC to Stewart Airport route, together with a recommended plan for further development.

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Project Description

The project includes tasks to achieve the following: 1) Determine the feasibility of a proposed NYC to Stewart Airport route, using existing railroad tracks and highway and utility transmission corridor rights of way to the maximum extent possible; 2) Examine construction and operating cost projections for the NYC-Stewart route; 3) Examine the environmental issues and benefits of the NYC-Stewart route; 4) Develop a preliminary typical design of substructure and superstructure for the elevated guideway and a structural design of the MERRI system; and 5) Prepare first order parametric cost estimates of each system.


A lower cost Maglev technology for high speed electrified rail, particularly using conventional railway infrastructure, would greatly enhance mass transit and reduce congestion.

Project Results


Polytechnic University,
15 Metro Tech Center Attn: Vivian Chan
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Principle Investigator

F.H. (Bud) Griffis

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Research Study

Technologies Types:


NYSERDA Contact Information

Adam Ruder


R&D -Transport & Power Systems

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST10587-1

Last Updated: 5/17/2012