[Federal Register Volume 64, Number 19 (Friday, January 29, 1999)]
[Pages 4772-4776]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 99-2213]

[[Page 4771]]


Part VI

Department of Transportation


Federal Transit Administration


Urban Magnetic Levitation Transit Technology Development Program; 

Federal Register / Vol. 64, No. 19 / Friday, January 29, 1999 / 

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Federal Transit Administration

Urban Magnetic Levitation Transit Technology Development Program

AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

ACTION: Notice and solicitation of proposals.


SUMMARY: This Notice announces establishment of a new urban magnetic 
levitation transit technology development program (``Urban Maglev 
Program'') in the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), describes the 
statutory bases of the program, solicits proposals from eligible 
entities, and solicits comments on the overall program design. Sections 
1218 and 3015(c) of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century 
(``TEA-21''), signed into law by President Clinton on June 9, 1998, 
create two new sections in Titles 23 and 49 of the United States Code 
(322 and 3015, respectively) authorizing the FTA to support further 
development of magnetic levitation technologies for potential 
application in the U.S. mass transit industry. Section 1218 authorizes 
a total of $5 million dollars over the six year life of TEA-21 to 
research and develop low speed superconductive Maglev technology. 
Subsection 3015(c) authorizes $5 million per year for the 6 years to 
carry out a broad Maglev technology development program. [Note that 
TEA-21 also adds provisions in 23 U.S.C. Section 1218 for a high speed 
Maglev program, which is being managed by the Federal Railroad 
Administration (FRA).]

DATES: Proposals (8 copies) must be received by March 15, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Proposals shall be submitted to: Office of Research, 
Demonstration, and Innovation (TRI-1), Federal Transit Administration, 
400 Seventh Street, SW, Room 9401, Washington, DC 20590, Attn: Edward 
Thomas, Associate Administrator, and shall reference Urban Maglev.

PUBLIC MEETING: A public meeting will be held, open to all interested 
parties, to discuss and comment on the FTA's Urban Maglev Program. The 
purpose of the meeting is to outline the Urban Maglev Program, to 
receive comments and suggestions on the program from meeting attendees, 
and to answer questions. The meeting will take place on February 3, 
1999, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. The meeting will be held in room 2201 at 
the Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW, Washington, 
DC 20590.

Administrator, Office of Research, Demonstration, and Innovation, (TRI-
2), at (202) 366-4047, or Timothy J. Johnson, Office of Technology, 
(TRI-20) at (202) 366-0212.
    The public is invited to submit written comments on this notice. 
Written comments should refer to the docket number appearing at the top 
of this notice and be submitted to the Docket Clerk, U.S. DOT Dockets, 
Room PL-401, Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW, Washington, DC 
20590. All comments received will be available at the above address. 
Docket hours at the Nassif Building are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. 
to 5 p.m., excluding Federal holidays. Those desiring notification of 
receipt of comments must include a self-addressed, stamped envelope or 


Electronic Access

    Internet users can access all comments received by the U.S. DOT 
Dockets, Room PL-401, by using the univeral resource locator (URL): 
http://dms.dot.gov. It is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each 
year. Please follow the instructions online for more information and 
    An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded using a modem 
and suitable communication software from Government Printing Office's 
Electronic Bulletin Board Service at (202) 512-1661. Internet users may 
reach the Federal Register's home page at: http://www.nara.gov/fedreg 
and the Government Printing Office's database at: http://


I. Introduction
II. Background
III. TEA-21 Authorized Projects
IV. Vision, Goals and Technical Objectives
V. Program Description
VI. Applications
VII. Selection Process
VIII. Funding
IX. Joint Partnership Program

I. Introduction

    The overall objective of the program is to develop magnetic 
levitation technology that is a cost effective, reliable, and 
environmentally sound transit option for urban mass transportation in 
the United States. It is expected that Federal funding would be used to 
develop U.S. components and technology. It is envisioned that funded 
projects will include the design of an Urban Maglev system and the 
development and demonstration of advanced hardware subsystems to verify 
advanced technology aspects of proposed system concepts. The system 
design can be derived from integrating existing subsystem technologies 
(to create a new system) or by improving an existing system using 
advanced technologies. Foreign technology transfer from abroad is 
permitted, if it ultimately results in a U.S. technology system. FTA 
views a total Maglev system as composed of six principal subsystems, 
namely: levitation, propulsion, power collection, communications & 
control, guideway design, and vehicle design. While funded projects 
must retain a research and development purpose to overcome critical 
technology gaps, the emphasis is on funding deployable technologies, 
including the ultimate participation of an end-user.
    FTA's Urban Maglev Program will combine the two statutory 
provisions into a single program to consider all applicable Maglev 
technologies. The program will be undertaken in phases to ensure that 
proposed system concepts have been thoroughly evaluated before further 
FTA financial support for system development and deployment phases is 
committed. Any deployment activity will be consistent with the Metro 
Planning Process as stated in 49 U.S.C. 5303-5 and 23 CFR 450.
    The Urban Maglev Program will be organized, funded, and undertaken 
in discrete phases which consist of: (1) Evaluation of Proposed System 
Concept, (2) Prototype Subsystems Development, and (3) System 
Integration and Deployment Planning. After the completion of each 
project phase, FTA will conduct an evaluation to ensure that all 
milestones and deliverables stated by the funding recipient have been 
met and that the project remains consistent with the overall objectives 
of FTA's Urban Maglev Program. To the maximum extent practicable, 
evaluations will involve peer review, including staff from potential 
end users. Given the different state of Maglev technology development 
of potential offerors, the amount of time needed to complete each phase 
of the program may vary. The current funding level is estimated to be 
sufficient to accomplish phases 1, 2 and 3. However, an adjustment to 
the requirements of the program phases may need to be made depending on 
the offeror's proposal, the number of projects funded, and future 
funding appropriations. Decisions to proceed with phases 2 and 3 will 
be based on successful completion of phase 1 project milestones, 
availability of program funds, and approval by the FTA Administrator 
(see section VI for

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proposal requirements for phases 1, 2, and 3).

II. Background

    Magnetic Levitation (Maglev) is an advanced transport technology in 
which magnetic forces lift, propel, and guide a vehicle over a 
specially designed guideway. Maglev systems reduce the need for many 
mechanical parts, thereby minimizing maintenance costs, reducing noise, 
and improving reliability. Further, since the vehicle does not 
physically touch the guideway, Maglev systems appear to have the 
potential to perform well in areas where snow and icy conditions occur. 
In these conditions, Maglev systems may be able to negotiate steeper 
grades than a conventional type of fixed guideway system. These 
performance characteristics enable Maglev to provide safe, efficient, 
and environmentally sound mass transit services in areas where 
conventional technology may not perform as well.
    Many Maglev concepts exist. Design options exist for most of the 
critical subsystems including: levitation, propulsion, power systems, 
guideway structure, vehicle structure, and communication and control 
subsystems. The two principal means of levitation are electromagnetic 
suspension (EMS), which uses attractive magnetic forces to hold the 
vehicle close to the underside of its guideway, and electrodynamic 
suspension (EDS), which uses repulsive magnetic forces to hold the 
vehicle just above its guideway. EMS systems have virtually no magnetic 
flux radiation, whereas EDS systems have more due to the higher 
magnetic field strengths needed for the ``repulsive'' levitation 
approach. Among these two means of levitation, there are several design 
choices, which include: type of magnet (superconductive, permanent 
magnet, or resistive electromagnets), magnet core material (air vs. 
iron), and type of current excitation of coil (DC vs. AC).
    Maglev system concepts have undergone varying degrees of research 
and development both in the United States and abroad with most research 
focusing on high speed applications. Several high speed technologies 
appear ready for deployment. While there are no high or low speed 
systems currently operating in the United States, it appears that 
several viable technologies exist in this country. The existence of 
these technologies, coupled with the need to relieve congestion in 
highly populated urban and surrounding metropolitan areas, appears to 
offer significant partnership opportunities for both the private and 
public sectors.

III. TEA-21 Authorized Projects

Low Speed Project

    Section 1218 of TEA-21 (as amended by section 9003 of the TEA-21 
Restoration Act) establishes a ``Low Speed Project'' in subsection 
322(i) of Title 23 U.S.C. (Highways), focusing on low-speed technology 
development. Subsection 322(i) authorizes $5 million in funding to be 
made available for the research and development of low-speed 
superconductivity magnetic levitation technology for public 
transportation purposes in urban areas to demonstrate energy 
efficiency, congestion mitigation, and safety benefits. In addition, 
322(i)(2)(A) states: ``there are authorized to be appropriated from the 
Highway Trust Fund (other than the Mass Transit Account) to carry out 
this subsection such sums as are necessary for each of fiscal years 
2000 through 2003.''

Advanced Technology Pilot Project

    Section 3015 of TEA-21 (as amended by section 9009 of the TEA-21 
Restoration Act) defines a project similar to the low-speed project 
defined above. The main difference is that superconductivity need not 
be used, but is not excluded. TEA-21 makes available for Fiscal Years 
1998 through 2003, $5,000,000 per fiscal year to develop low speed 
magnetic levitation technology for public transportation purposes in 
urban areas to demonstrate energy efficiency, congestion mitigation, 
and safety benefits.
    FTA intends to combine these two statutory efforts into a 
comprehensive Urban Maglev Program that includes research, development 
and assessment of applicable Maglev technologies.

IV. Program Vision, Goal, and Objectives


    Develop American magnetic levitation technology to improve urban 
mass transportation.

Strategic Goals

    Develop an advanced technology Urban Maglev system that will 
advance mobility and accessibility strengthen America's economic growth 
and trade.
    In support of this strategic goal, specific outcome goals of the 
Urban Maglev Program include: encouraging regional and local 
development through joint activity, and developing the latest 
technology for the Nation's transit systems.

Technical Objectives

    (1) Develop a base of knowledge on Urban Maglev low speed 
technology supportive of eventual deployment, including a full system 
design and advanced technology hardware development and demonstration;
    (2) Enhance one or more of the following critical Maglev subsystems 
using advanced technologies:

 Power Supply and Delivery
 Communication & Control
 Guideway design
 Vehicle design
 Other critical vehicle and/or guideway subsystems as 

    (3) Integration of a Maglev system design, including fleet 
operations, safety, inter-vehicle communication and control systems, 
and subsystems integration;
    (4) Evaluate and optimize a full scale demonstration system design 
with respect to:
 Cost (both construction and operation)
 System Reliability
 Maintenance and other operational requirements
 Safety Benefits and Congestion Mitigation Potential
 Energy efficiency
 Other critical evaluation criteria as identified

    (5) Demonstrate low speed magnetic levitation technologies:

 Demonstrate the feasibility of a low speed Urban Maglev system
 Application identification and end user participation
 Deployment Site Identification/Planning

V. Program Description

Project Phases

    The Urban Maglev program is a deployment-oriented technology 
development program. The emphasis will be on funding a project or 
projects that incorporate advanced technologies in a Maglev system 
design, but yet retain the attractive characteristics needed for 
deployment including low cost, high reliability, energy efficiency, 
congestion mitigation, and safety.
    It is envisioned that the majority of effort for funded project 
groups would be spent in phases 2 and/or 3. Phase 1 is intended to be a 
concept evaluation phase and should take no more than one year to 
complete. Note however, that decisions to proceed with subsequent 
phases is at the option of the FTA, and will be based on successful 
completion of project milestones, availability of program funds, and 
approval of the FTA Administrator.
    The amount of time spent on phase 2 and 3 activities is expected to 

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significant, probably on the order of 2 to 3 years for each phase. 
Exactly how much time is spent in phase 2 versus phase 3 will depend on 
the scope of work of the funded proposal(s). For groups upgrading an 
existing system concept with advanced technologies, more time may be 
spent in phase 2--Prototype Subsystem(s) Development. For a project 
attempting to integrate existing advanced technology subsystems, more 
time might be spent in phase 3, System Integration. FTA's intent is to 
design a program that is flexible enough to accommodate various 
approaches to designing, developing, and demonstrating Maglev system 
Phase 1: Evaluation of Proposed System Concept
    In phase 1, funding recipients will perform further development of 
their proposed Maglev system such that the proposed system concept can 
be fully evaluated by the FTA. Note that the phrase ``proposed Maglev 
system'' means the complete full-scale demonstration system concept 
that is planned for development by the funding recipient, not just the 
improved advanced technology portions. The emphasis in this phase would 
be to bring the proposed Maglev system concept to the point where it 
could be presented, studied and assessed by FTA and others involved in 
the program such as a peer review group. In addition, an end-user would 
be identified.
    It is envisioned that phase 1 activities would include:
     A projection of overall system performance and a 
preliminary design for the proposed full scale demonstration system 
concept. System performance is to be estimated in the areas of: energy 
efficiency, safety, congestion mitigation, reliability, 
maintainability, power requirements, total system cost (design and 
construction), and other critical performance measures as defined. The 
preliminary design should include the guideway and vehicle systems, and 
other subsystems as defined. It is envisioned that computer modeling 
and simulation would be used by the funding recipient to estimate and 
project overall system performance and to present the preliminary 
design for the overall system.
     Documentation (for evaluation purposes) of all assumptions 
and methodology used to project and estimate the system performance and 
in forming the preliminary design for the proposed system concept.
     Identification and analysis of key risk elements 
(technical) associated with the proposed project.
     Provide a ``letter of interest'' from end-user(s)
Phase 2: Prototype Subsystem(s) Development
    In phase 2, funding recipients will complete the development of 
proposed advanced technology portions of the overall Maglev system 
design. For example, if the funding recipient proposed an improved 
Maglev system using superconductive technology, the principal subsystem 
and all other subsystems affected by this new advanced technology would 
be developed during this Phase of the program. Appropriate 
demonstration hardware would be completed during this program phase. In 
addition, a Commercialization Plan explaining the proposed application 
and market for the overall system will be required.
    Key activities of this phase would include:
     Completion of a functional specification of the prototype 
advanced technology subsystem(s)
     Completion of advanced technology hardware subsystem(s) 
where improvements are proposed and warrant prototypes for testing and 
     Demonstration of advanced hardware subsystem(s) technology
     Commercialization Plan with potential end-user(s) 
Phase 3: System Integration and Deployment Planning
    In phase 3, funding recipients will integrate the completed 
advanced technology portions of their proposed design to form an 
overall Maglev system. In addition, deployment planning activities 
would commence in this phase. A specific deployment site would be 
identified and environmental assessment activities would be initiated. 
It is envisioned that the end-user, identified in phase 1, would take 
an active role, working with funding recipients to further advance the 
project in these areas.
    Key activities for phase 3 include:
     Completion of functional specifications for a full-scale 
demonstration system whereby a potential user can commit itself to 
procure the system
     Full-scale computer modeling and simulation to demonstrate 
and verify system operations
     Identification of a specific deployment site
     Environmental Assessment
    Potential Future Program Activities: Demonstration System 
Deployment. The end-user would continue working with a funding 
recipient to further advance the project. The designated operator/user 
would oversee efforts to advance the selected project, complete 
detailed engineering designs, complete site-specific deployment and 
planning activities, finance, equip, and construct a full-scale 

Additional Program Activities

Technology Assessment
    FTA will conduct a technology assessment of existing Maglev 
technologies. The results of the assessment will be used by FTA to 
guide its program and as an aid in evaluating technologies. The 
assessment will review the critical subsystems, assessing their state 
of development as well as evaluating these subsystems as to their 
applicability for low speed applications. There are many possible 
systems that can be conceptualized. The technologies of interest for 
this program are those that are partially or fully developed, such that 
a demonstration system could be initiated within the timeframe covered 
by TEA-21.
    Generic technologies will be assessed with certain urban 
applications in mind, i.e., it is envisioned that the system designed 
will either be a short distance automated type intra-city shuttle, edge 
city or intra-suburban shuttle, or a larger scale suburban to downtown 
city center type system. The technologies and associated applications 
that have the greatest potential to demonstrate energy efficiency, 
safety benefits, congestion mitigation, high reliability, environmental 
benefits, and cost effectiveness, within the context of these 
applications, will be strong candidates for further development 

VI. Applications

1. Eligibility Requirements

    The applicant must consist of a for-profit U.S. company and may 
include one or more of the following:
    (a) A public or private educational or research organization 
located in the United States, and/or
    (b) A state or local public body eligible to receive FTA 
assistance, and/or
    (c) A non-U.S company, educational or research organization.
    The above entities may enter into a consortium or other type of 
joint venture suitable for the FTA Joint Partnership Program as stated 
in Section 3015 of TEA-21.

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2. Content of Proposals

    Each proposal should contain information detailing the Management, 
Technical, and Financial aspects needed to accomplish phase 1 of the 
proposed project. For phases 2 and 3, the proposal should provide a 
detailed summary of work activities proposed for these phases. The 
proposal should be a comprehensive, accurate, and effective 
presentation. Eight (8) copies of the proposal shall be submitted. No 
more than 50 pages (using 12 point font or larger), each numbered at 
the bottom, shall be contained within the proposal. Proposals 
containing more than the stated number of pages may be rejected by the 
FTA. The proposal should be spiral bound along the left long side, 
without unnecessary frills, and organized in the following fashion 
using tabbed, numbered separators for each section. Note: No 
promotional literature, brochures, etc., should be included. The 
proposal should clearly delineate project activities occurring in phase 
1. All phase 1 milestones should be clearly stated and linked to a 
Payment Schedule keyed to these payable milestones.
Suggested Contents of Proposal
 Cover: Containing the Project Title and Proposer's name and 
 Executive Summary of Proposal
 Overview of Proposer
 Transportation experience record of all entities involved in 
the project
 Phase 1 Project Work Plan
    --Project Plan
    --Technical Approach
    --Statement of Work
    --Schedule, including clearly defined payable milestones and 
deliverables for Phase 1 (keyed to a payment schedule)
    --Flow Chart (explaining the sequencing and interrelationships of 
the work tasks graphically for all work tasks of the project)
    --Staffing Table (including total staff hours for the proposer and 
its subcontractors anticipated for each work task)
 Phase 1 Project Organization and Management Plan
    --Identification of Project Manager and key personnel associated 
with each work task for the entire project.
    --Staff Chart graphically depicting Organization and Management 
    --Resumes of key project management personnel such as Project 
Director, Deputy Director, Project Manager, Task Leaders, etc.
 Phase 1 Financial Information
    --Total Cost of Project
    --Detailed information of the percentage of Federal and non-Federal 
cost share for the entire project. For the non-Federal share include 
the percentage of cash versus in-kind contributions. All in-kind 
contributions must be described in detail, including source(s)
    --Provide a cost proposal for phase 1 (see Section V for phase 1 
 Phase 1 Milestone Payment Schedule (keyed to milestones in the 
project work plan for phase 1)
 Summary of work proposed for phases 2 and 3, including an 
estimate of the total cost for phase 2 and 3

VII. Selection Process


    FTA anticipates multiple awards resulting from this solicitation. 
In selecting projects, FTA will employ the following criteria (order of 
criteria does not designate priority):
    a. Amount and quality of non-Federal Share: (see Section VIII, 
    b. The correlation between the proposal and the vision, goals, 
technical objectives, and overall program description articulated by 
FTA in this notice.
    c. Management capability; the applicant must demonstrate both past 
experience in the transportation industry, and the capability to manage 
the planning, designing, testing, refinement, etc. of a Maglev system.
    d. The applicant must be part of a team with demonstrated 
capabilities in the area of mass transportation, and meet the technical 
requirements stated in this notice and possess experience in managing 
large dollar value transportation projects.
    e. Demonstrate that the proposed Low Speed Urban Maglev System is 
feasible for deployment in an urbanized area and that the proposed 
Urban Maglev System will fulfill a useful public transportation need.
    f. Demonstrate that all major subsystems of the proposed Urban 
Maglev System concept are practical to develop, particularly from a 
cost perspective.

VIII. Funding

(a) Non-Federal Cost Share

    FTA is seeking a 50% matching cost share for projects funded under 
this program. The matching share provided by the performer (Federal 
funding recipient) may consist of a cash and/or in-kind match, cash 
being considered as higher quality match.
    The performer pays for all of the costs of each project. The 
performer is reimbursed in part by the Government. The portion not 
reimbursed by the Government is referred to as cost share. The 
Government expects to share in the costs of all tasks of a project. The 
Government evaluates the quality of cost share in the following terms:

(b) Quality of Non-Federal Cost Share

High Quality Cost Share
    These are financial resources that will be expended by the award 
recipients on the proposed project's Statement of Work (SOW) and will 
be subject to the direction of the project management team. This means 
the funds the non-Federal participants will spend for man-hours, 
materials, new equipment (prorated if appropriate), subcontractor 
efforts expended on the project's SOW, and restocking the parts and 
materials consumed. High quality cost share can include new independent 
research and development efforts, but only if those funds are offered 
by the proposers to be spent on the SOW and subject to the direction of 
the project management team.
Low Quality Cost Share
    These are non-financial resources that will be expended on the 
proposed project's SOW and will be subject to the direction of the 
project management team. This is typically wear-and-tear on in-place 
capital assets like machinery or the prorated value of space used for 
the project.
Unacceptable Cost Share
    This is a resource that either: (1) will not be expended on the 
proposed project's SOW, or (2) will not be subject to the direction of 
the management team as discussed above. Unacceptable cost share will be 
subtracted from the proposer's claimed total cost for the project, and 
the required industry cost share recalculated. Unacceptable Cost Share 
examples include:

--Sunk costs, i.e., costs incurred before the start of the proposed 
--Foregone fees or profits;
--Foregone general and administrative costs or cost of money applied to 
a base of independent research and development;
--Bid and proposal costs;
--Value claimed for intellectual property or prior research;
--Parallel research or investment, i.e. research or other investments 
that might be related to the proposed project, but which will not be 
part of the SOW or subject to the direction of the project management 

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Typically, these activities will be undertaken regardless of whether 
the proposed project proceeds;
--Off-budget resources, i.e., resources that will not be risked by the 
proposer on the SOW, and should not be considered when evaluating cost 
Joint Partnership Program (JPP)
    Section 3015 of TEA-21 authorizes a new Joint Partnership Program 
for Deployment of Innovation (JPP). Projects determined eligible for 
funding under the Urban Maglev Program that meet the requirements of 
Section 3015 and FTA's JPP guidelines, may also be considered for 
inclusion under that program. For further details on the JPP see the 
related Federal Register Notice published October 2, 1998, Vol. 63 page 

    Issued on: January 26, 1999.
Gordon J. Linton,
[FR Doc. 99-2213 Filed 1-28-99; 8:45 am]