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Demand modeling, new mode problems, and the $64 [sic] question: technological utopianism in America's race to develop high speed rail technology

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1 Author(s)
B. A. Sauer ; Maine Univ., Orono, ME, USA

The author analyzes two reports describing a now abandoned MagLev (magnetic levitation) rail system that would have run from Ontario, California, to Las Vegas, Nevada. Unlike traditional technical reports, the Budd Company Transit Division's MagLev reports appeal to utopian visions of futuristic technologies that would solve America's social and economic problems of the 1980s. The writers of these reports employ economic and political rhetoric such as risk modeling, market projections, appeals to the American dream and new frontier mentality, as well as xenophobic Japan-bashing, and downplay technical constraints on rail corridors. An analysis of these reports reveals the ethical and rhetorical dilemmas that writers face when the companies they work for seek funding for untried and untested visionary designs

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication  (Volume:36 ,  Issue: 3 )