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This paper focuses on the design of a real-time particle-swarm-optimization-based proportional-integral-differential (PSO-PID) control scheme for the levitated balancing and propulsive positioning of a magnetic-levitation (maglev) transportation system. The dynamic model of a maglev transportation system, including levitated electromagnets and a propulsive linear induction motor based on the concepts of mechanical geometry and motion dynamics, is first constructed. The control objective is to design a real-time PID control methodology via PSO gain selections and to directly ensure the stability of the controlled system without the requirement of strict constraints, detailed system information, and auxiliary compensated controllers despite the existence of uncertainties. The effectiveness of the proposed PSO-PID control scheme for the maglev transportation system is verified by numerical simulations and experimental results, and its superiority is indicated in comparison with PSO-PID in previous literature and conventional sliding-mode (SM) control strategies. With the proposed PSO-PID control scheme, the controlled maglev transportation system possesses the advantages of favorable control performance without chattering phenomena in SM control and robustness to uncertainties superior to fixed-gain PSO-PID control.