Toronto Zoo considering maglev train

Toronto Zoo is considering a 2016 proposal from Magnovate Technologies to transform the zoo’s defunct monorail into a magnetically levitating, driverless ride.

The $25-million project would be completed at no cost to the taxpayer and utilise the existing monorail “guideway.”

The Toronto zoo maglev train would travel at 10 km/h, accelerating to no more than 30 km/h between five stops. This is far from the vehicle’s top speed, though, with backers saying it could transport travellers from Baltimore to Washington, D.C. in only 15 minutes

Magnovate says the ride itself could attract visitors. Maglev trains have long been used in parts of China and Japan and the company believes visitors could be “desirous of riding the first commercial maglev transit system on our continent.”

Tickets would cost between $12 and $15 per ride. Revenues would be split between Magnovate and the zoo under a 15-year agreement.

Jennifer Tracey, the zoo’s senior director of marketing, communications and partnerships, said: “It would be an enhancement from a guest experience.

“Also it would run year-round and be climate-controlled where the current (open-air trackless trolley) Zoomobile runs from May to October and in May and October only on weekends.”

Dan Corns, Magnovate chief executive, says a new application with an expression of interest from the zoo board will have a better shot than the previous application.

The future of transport

In September, the City of Calgary launched a self-driving electronic shuttle between the Calgary Zoo and the Telus Spark building this Saturday.

The vehicle accommodates 12 passengers and includes a built in ramp. The vehicles are capable of operating on public roads, but will not during the pilot. It will travel at a low speed of around 12 kmph.

Last year, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced that they will have driverless flying cars – drones capable of carrying humans – flying within months.

The Ehang 184, an autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) capable of carrying a human that has been developed with Chinese firm Ehang, was unveiled at the World Government Summit in Dubai in 2017.

Image courtesy Magnovate

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