The world’s first SkyTran network, in the Israeli financial centre of Tel Aviv, is scheduled for completion in mid-2014. International project management firm Jenkins Gales & Martinez (JGM) will provide planning, civil engineering, and construction management for the groundbreaking city transport scheme.
SkyTran, first proposed in 1990 by the inventor Douglas Malewicki, is a metropolitan rapid transport system consisting of lightweight two-passenger vehicles suspended from elevated tracks. Making use of electric motors and passive magnetic levitation technology, the vehicles will be capable of reaching speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour while maintaining an impressive fuel economy equating to over 200 miles per US gallon.
In doing away with wheels, SkyTran’s passive maglev minimises maintenance and improves efficiency. The cars are to be driven by a linear motor in the vehicle or track, with no external power required to levitate the vehicles; rather, the vehicle’s movement over shorted wire coils in the track produces the magnetic repulsion. With very few moving parts – the car’s parking wheels, door, fans and air-con units – the system can be referred to as “solid state”.
A full scale model of the proposed SkyTran maglev system, “Indutrack”, has been constructed and tested by US nuclear physics and defence contractor General Atomics. UniModal Inc. and NASA are also collaborating on the development of SkyTran.
Speaking of JGM’s appointment to deliver the Tel Aviv project, Jerry Sanders, SkyTran Inc. Chairman and CEO said: “JGM’s reputation for delivering complex transportation projects on time and on budget makes them an ideal partner for deploying SkyTran in Israel.”
It is hoped the system will alleviate street-level traffic congestion which hampers Tel Aviv’s infrastructure. The first 10km SkyTran line would connect Tel Aviv University station with the high-tech Atidim Park, before continuing West towards the city’s Old Port: a hub of restaurants, shopping and night life. At a reported construction cost of under $7m per kilometre of track, SkyTran is cheaper than other city transport systems.
“We look forward to bringing SkyTran’s innovative capabilities to Israel,” stated Earl Gales, Jr., Chairman and CEO of JGM. “This is the beginning of a new era in automated transportation and we’re proud to play a role.”