Back in 2013, Tesla and Elon Musk the SpaceX founder idealized the Hyperloop. The npr article “Elton Musk’s Hyperloop Dream Has Its 1st Public Demo” condensed the framework of the idea:”The Hyperloop would move passenger-filled pods through special tubes at incredibly high speeds — as in possibly crossing the 400 miles between San Francisco and Los Angeles in a mere 30 minutes.” Since the idea was conceived, many firms have been pursuing the development of the Hyperloop, but currently Hyperloop One is one of the companies that is closest to creating the first system. Hyperloop One,formerly Hyperloop Technologies, was a startup in 2014 based in a garage in Los Angeles. Today they have developed into an innovative company of engineers, welders, machinists, designers and builders. They call their full scale prototype DevLoop, which is short for development Hyperloop. They promote the DevLoop as a form of transportation that has “airline speeds for the price of a bus ticket. It’s on demand, energy efficient and safe.”
Back in May of 2016 they ran their first public test in Nevada. During the test, a metal sled practically flew on a 3,280 foot track hitting 116 mph in only 2 seconds. More recently, on November 22, it was reported by Daily Mail that the first tube of DevLoop has been installed in North Las Vegas and if they complete the 1.8 mile tube, it will be the first full scale Hyperloop System. Although, the prototype has yet to be tested with passengers and over longer distances.
Pictured is the metal sled that was tested during the May 2016 run.
Laying of the first tube of the 1.8 mile stretch in North Las Vegas.
While the logistics are still in the works, ideas and future benefits of this system have been long pondered over. The pods are envisioned to be a living-room like space that will be customizable and fit about 6-100 people. Some custom examples are a office space for meetings or a temporary care facility for ill patients. In an article on fastcoexist.com, the CEO of Hyperloop One Rob Lloyd wants people to:
Think of Hyperloop as the end-to-end network connector for all these forms of transportation, and one that will connect to existing modes where the volumes are high. That’s why the small footprint of our portals, the ability to access a city center in a tunnel, the point-to-point nature of our system really matters, because we don’t stop along the route, only at the destination.
Model of the line that would stretch from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.
This idea would revolutionize the transportation system by addressing the day to day problems that transportation planners must face. Problems like traffic congestion,affordability, accessibility, and sustainability which are discussed in Chapter 12 of Contemporary Urban Planning by John Levy. This fast, futuristic mode of transportation would relieve the amount of cars on the roads, money spent to go from place to place, and the amount of time spent sitting in traffic or airport security. Ideally, Musk’s vision includes pods departing every 30 seconds with tickets costing around $20 each way as opposed to the hundreds spent on intrastate flights. Presently, there are plans by Hyperloop One in collaboration with BIG,AECOM, and Arup for a line to be created connecting Emirati, Dubai to Abu Dhabi within the next 5 years. It is estimated that the usual 2 hour trip could be cut down to 12 minutes at 760 mph with Hyperloop. Only time will tell if this innovative system will be successful.
Levy, John M. 2014. 10th Edition. Contemporary Urban Planning.