The Simpsons have the monorail. Futurama has the Tube Transport System. The difference is that tube-transport is a fantasy — at least for now.

The folks at ET3 want to make what they call "Evacuated Tube Transport" a reality. Their proposed maglev system would be capable of propelling six-person-capacity cylinders to speeds of over 4000 miles per hour, making it possible for people to travel from New York to L.A. in just 45 minutes, or from New York to Beijing in two hours. What's more, ET3 claims the infrastructure could be built at one-tenth the cost of a high speed rail and would operate fifty times more efficiently than electric cars or trains.

These all sound like very, very bold claims to us — still, it's hard not to get excited about the prospect of a vacuum-sealed, maglev-powered, 4000-mile-per-hour transportation system (though the idea of a collision at those speeds, or the implications of a capsule-leak, are enough to make even the most enthusiastic transpo-futurist a little queasy). [Spotted on reddit]