This study addresses the question of whether rail passenger vehicles with more sophisticated (and more expensive) suspensions can operate on rougher (and less expensive) track with an overall lower net cost for the guideway-vehicle system. Four suspensions, representing a range of performance and cost, are optimized for operation on the roughest possible track. The cost of each suspension and its guideway is estimated. Two of the advanced guideway-vehicle systems appear to result in an overall cost savings. However, because of uncertainties in the estimates of guideway maintenance cost, these conclusions are regarded as illustrative of our methodology rather than quantitatively reliable.

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