A photograph of a mountain lake with Keep America Beautiful tagline and the Northeast Maglev logo


It’s April and that means it’s National Keep America Beautiful Month! This month we are encouraged to live, love and think all things green. 

National Keep America Beautiful Month was started in 1971 by the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America, in conjunction with the national nonprofit Keep America Beautiful.

As we are reminded this month to think and live green, we couldn’t help but reflect on the ways that the Superconducting Maglev (SCMAGLEV) will help keep our neighborhoods beautiful.

The SCMAGLEV is a unique high-speed transportation system that will revolutionize the way we travel. Unlike any train in the nation, the SCMAGLEV uses magnetic forces for all aspects of operation — acceleration, deceleration, guidance, and levitation, resulting in operating speeds of over 300 miles per hour. Speed, however, isn’t the only game-changing aspect of SCMAGLEV. SCMAGLEV will also be  incredibly beneficial for the environment, and our community. 

Here’s how the SCMAGLEV will Keep America Beautiful: 

SCMAGLEV will run entirely on electricity 

We are all familiar with traditional wheels-on-steel trains. Conventional trains are often noisy and the friction between wheels and rails is a source of rolling resistance, resulting in energy loss and limiting their maximum speed. 

Maglev technology ditches this method. Rather than riding directly on steel tracks, SCMAGLEV technology uses superconducting magnets to levitate and propel trains above a dedicated guideway and forward at speeds of well over 300 miles per hour! 

The key behind SCMAGLEV’s efficient high-speed operation is its use of superconducting magnets that require no moving parts! Superconductivity, a phenomenon whereby a charge moves through a material without resistance, occurs when certain metals are cooled to very cold temperatures. When superconducting coils onboard the train are charged with electricity, very powerful magnetic forces are produced. As long as the coils are kept cold, the electrical current continues to flow, indefinitely generating the magnetic forces without the need for additional electricity. Interaction between the superconducting magnets and magnetic coils in the train’s guideway result in levitating and propulsive forces – lifting, propelling, and stopping the train.  The SCMAGLEV will also use an innovative inductive power collection technology (IPC) to power it’s onboard systems – meaning everything about the train is powered by electricity, resulting in no additional harmful air emissions.

SCMAGLEVs use of superconductivity and sole use of electricity will create a transportation experience free of the friction and rolling resistance associated with wheels on rails, allowing trains to travel faster, quieter and more efficiently. In fact, SCMAGLEV trains use 30% less energy than other high-speed maglev trains, and 50% less than a commercial airliner!

SCMAGLEV will reduce the number of vehicles on the roads

SCMAGLEV will change what green intercity connectivity looks like. 

The Northeast Corridor is one of the most traffic-congested corridors in the nation. The average commuter in Washington D.C. spends about 102 hours per year in traffic delays, according to a 2019 report by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.This is only expected to get worse as auto travel is projected to increase by 22% over the next 20 years. 

One of the major goals of bringing SCMAGLEV to the US is to alleviate traffic congestion in the region by offering a more viable mode of transportation to commuters. Removing cars from the roads also removes harmful air emissions associated with vehicle miles traveled.

In the Washington, DC / Baltimore region, by removing cars from roadways, the SCMAGLEV will remove:

  • 2,000,000 Tons Greenhouse Gas Emissions*
  • 76,000 Tons Carbon Monoxide
  • 15,000 Tons Nitrogen Oxides
  • 4,000 Tons Volatile Organic Compounds

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, this reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is equivalent to taking 1.5 coal-fired power plants offline for a year!

* This reduction in greenhouse gas emissions estimate also accounts for average air emission factors for electricity generation in Maryland from fossil fuel sources.

SCMAGLEV will utilize tunnels to reduce environmental impact

The majority of the first phase of the SCMAGLEV project, from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore, will run in underground tunnels ranging, on average, 80 to100 feet deep – minimizing the environmental impact on surrounding communities and protected lands!  

Tunnels have proven to be an essential asset in big-city transit, providing an environmentally friendly solution for transportation in congested cities where building more lanes, roads and highways are not an option. By going underground, SCMAGLEV will alleviate traffic while minimizing environmental impact on surrounding streams, wetlands, floodplains, and other natural and cultural features.

To dig the tunnels, the SCMAGLEV project will use tunnel boring machines, a construction method that has proven to be a quieter, faster, safer and more efficient way of constructing tunnels. Tunnel boring machines (TBM’s) will easily move through the soft soil of the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore region digging passage and building a tunnel deep underground for the silent and environmentally friendly underground operation of the SCMAGLEV! 

You can read more about the environmental benefits of the SCMAGLEV here!