Much like the Transcontinental Railroad revolutionized the settlement and economy of the American West by bringing the western states and territories firmly and profitably into the “Union” and making goods and transportation much quicker and cheaper from coast to coast (see Wikipedia), Elon Musk’s Hyperloop is reimagining travel and commuting by using vacuum tubes to propel people and cargo at speeds of up to 800 mph.
While discussions of the Hyperloop and its possibilities have been ongoing since 2013, it was recently reported that two startup companies will soon commence construction of Hyperloop test tracks. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) is one of those startups and according to its website, it plans to build a Hyperloop™ Transportation System, an entirely new mode of transportation that eliminates all travel complications and objections due to cost, travel time and weather conditions, and is completely self-sufficient, with solar panels placed along the tracks that produce the energy required to run the system. HTT has grand ideas and has purchased land in King’s County, California with plans to build a new solar-powered city that will be home to 75,000 residents and its own 5-mile Hyperloop test track. Ultimately, as reported by techcrunch, the test track will become the city’s main transportation system. Not too far from HTT’s track, it’s competitor, Hyperloop Technologies, plans to build its own test track. According to its website, Hyperloop Tech is the transportation innovation and solution for the future, creating efficient travel for commerce – for people, cargo and trade.
In addition to the potential transportation and commuting benefits, according to HTT, the costs of constructing the Hyperloop are estimated to be $20 million per mile, significantly lower than the estimated $82.5 million per mile to build a high-speed rail system.
While there is still much work to do and any number of potential roadblocks, the Hyperloop has great potential and lots of powerful and well-funded supporters! Stay tuned for updates on these exciting developments! For more, see this article from TechCrunch.