YEAR POSTED: 2009
The future of the world will undoubtedly contain upgraded version of all transportation technology currently used and available plus some that are highly inconvenient and nonexistent. Such technologies will come with future varieties of cars, more aerodynamic trucks, faster trains, all around better air travel, and eventually, teleportation. These technologies will bring people from all parts of the world much closer together, a key factor in economic growth and the future of humanity's success.
Train Transit | Past
The train and railroad were majorly involved in the western expansion of the early United States of America, but modern rail networks date back to the 1820s in Europe. These systems made use of steam power and, later, diesel and electric power. Because rails were much smoother than gravel or dirt roads back then, it made much more sense to transport huge amounts of cargo by rail instead of by horse and carriage. Because of this fact, railroads primarily replaced rivers, canals, and roads as the main means of travel from place to place. Sadly however, train transport receding and road travel succeeded in dominance with the invention of the car. Within thirty years of the car's genesis, it rose to the top of all transport available.
Train Transit | Present
As of the early twenty-first century, rail travel is one of four major transportation methods: road (vehicles), rail (trains), water (boats), and air (planes) travel. Trains usually involve dozens of cargo or passenger cars with one or more engine cars that pull and/or push the rest of the trains along the track. Currently, hundreds of rail lines populate the world with hundreds of tons of cargo being transported for economic growth daily. Trams and subways exist in dense urban situations such as New York City and San Francisco that allow for quick, viable passenger transportation without the hassle of demolishing buildings for space. Though rail travel has improved and advanced well beyond its distant cousins it undoubtedly had room to vastly advance throughout the coming decades.
Train Transit | Future
In a mere ten years, rail travel will not have changed that significantly; however, there will be a few more magnetically levitated rail (MagLev) tracks in Japan and other sections of Europe and Asia. The typical speed of a high-speed commuter train will have only increased by, at the most, twenty to thirty miles per hour. Obviously, this is not such a great advancement, but what the 2020s lack in ultramodern working train variants it makes up for in feasible prototypes. Dozens of models of significant advances in train technology will be working and computerized, with hundreds of engineers working on bringing it to reality.
Although train and rail travel did not change much between 2010 and 2020, there will be much more noticeable advances in the next thirty years of the twenty-first century. Magnetically levitated train systems will sprout around all of Europe and Asia, with few being currently developed on the east and west coasts of the United States.
These trains, known as MagLevs, have the ability to travel at incredibly swift speeds reaching upwards of two hundred to three hundred miles per hour. In just thirty years, this maximum will nearly double to between four hundred and five hundred miles per hour, allowing a trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles in a rapid ninety minutes of travel times. At these speeds, the environment becomes one fluid blur and since the trains themselves will ride on pockets of magnetism and not the track itself, the ride will be amazingly smooth and peaceful.
During the mid twenty-first century, incredible technological advancements in the fields of magnetic levitation and propulsion will provide the ideal travel method of luxury and speed. With MagLev lines interconnected all over Europe, Asia, the United States, and Southern Canada, using superconductors instead of ordinary magnets, a typical journey from San Francisco to New York City (approximately 2,500 miles) would take just over four hours in a luxurious, turbulent-free, noiseless journey.
The speed record of one of these magnetically levitated machines in 2060 would be around seven hundred miles per hour with the average passenger maglev reaching roughly six hundred fifty miles per hour; this speed is faster than today's current jetliners which travel at just over five hundred miles per hour. This is not saying plane technology will not receive outstanding upgrades.