Comparing operating characteristics of high-speed rail and Maglev systems: Case study of Beijing-Shanghai corridor

Rongfang Liu, Yi Deng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The need for high-speed ground transportation systems (HSGT) has become more urgent than ever, evidenced by congestion in both urban and intercity travel. Congestion problems are no longer confined to densely developed urban areas or industrialized countries but also spread into suburban regions and developing countries. Characterized by high speed, operating reliability, passenger riding comfort, and an excellent safety record, HSGT presents a vital solution for our congestion problems, intercity or urban. There are two distinguished technologies under the general HSGT umbrella: high-speed rail (HSR) and magnetic levitation (Maglev). Sharing some common characteristics of HSGT, such as very high speed and riding comfort, these two technologies are dramatically different in guideway requirements, propulsion sources, operating characteristics, environmental impacts, and costs. Ongoing debates among the academic community have not presented any strong evidence to favor one over another in lieu of specific corridor alignment. A focus is on the engineering comparison of HSR and Maglev systems and their potential implementation in the Beijing and Shanghai corridor. It is undeniable that cost, political will, and social and cultural acceptance play vital roles in the eventual realization of any technology. An emphasis is on the overview of technology, comparison of operating characteristics of HSR and Maglev, and the implications of their potential application in a 1,300-km-long corridor from Beijing to Shanghai - the top economic, population, and culture engine in China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-27
Number of pages9
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1863
StatePublished - 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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