Although he's one of many mayoral hopefuls with new ideas on transit for Ottawa, Fraser Liscumb's transit is very different from anything else proposed. Very, very different; in fact, it's not even an existing technology, as he envisions it: Electric-magnetic field (EMF) rail.
In Liscumb's mind, Ottawa needs to embrace the cutting edge of transportation technology, instead of following the lead and investing into older technologies, like LRT.
The bottom line is we’ve got to come in to the 21st century, and you can’t come in to the 21st century with a stop-and-go train. I can’t even take the stop-and-go.
So his idea is to look to the future, and build EMF rail--a system similar to Maglev Transport, but different. The system runs on a track, about 35 feet above the road surface, and has a fleet of smaller, family-sized cars with a capacity of 4-6 people. And although the technology doesn't exist yet, Liscumb thinks that he can develop it, making use of the collective abilities of Ottawa's inventors, engineers, and research and development companies to make it a reality in the near future.
I would say EMF, we could have it to the market in about five years. Think about it: Everything is modular. We’ve got the companies, they’re going to be partners, we’re not going to buying them, or paying them to do any of it. We’re going to create a team effort, and they’re going to be part of it, and if they don’t want it then that will be their decision. I will offer it. If they do not take it, I’ve got contacts across this world, including in China, that will more than jump up and down and say that they’re coming in.
And although the cost is an unknown right now, Liscumb is sure he can make EMF rail cost less than Ottawa's current LRT plan.
I understand the issues. I’m not going to make any promises, because things move too fast, and there are too many players in it, but I will find a way. But if I do put the EMF rail in, only one thing I can guarantee: If it goes in, and they want it there, it will bring down the costs.