Ever since the invention of the wheel, transportation technology has come from a simple animal cart to autonomous passenger drones. Among it all, we have seen a variety of electric vehicles, supersonic trains, steam exhaust trains and what not. Hyperloop transportation is a fairly new idea, which still sounds unreal to a lot of people but is becoming a reality, at least for the American people.
According to the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the US lost $160 billion in fuel in 2014 due to road congestion. Hyperloop One has the vision to solve America’s infrastructure problems that brought the country a D+ on the infrastructure report card. Hyperloop suggests travel at airline speeds with a price of a bus ticket. The company organized the Hyperloop One Global Challange a year ago to get proposals for the best Hyperloop corridors. The proposals that came as a result of the challenge presented routes to connect 83 million Americans in 35 metro areas on a route faster than airplanes. It could connect Las Vegas to Reno in 42 minutes (1 hour 15 minutes by plane), Chicago to Columbus in 29 minutes (1 hour by plane), Denver to Boulder in 5 minutes (90-minute car drive). It does not just reduce the fare and the travel time; it will also save you hours of hassle at the airport.
Road congestion does not only waste one’s time, but it also has a huge effect on the respiratory health of a person. According to the US Department of Transportation, being stuck in traffic costs an average person 30 cents a minute (considering an average commute of 1 hour a day). Hyperloop is a fast, clean, and efficient transportation system that will minimize commute times and help restore a balance of the economy that has been damaged severely due to commutation problems.
A hyperloop network will provide employers an easier access to the skilled labor pool. One of the teams in the Global Challenge suggested that companies like Boeing, Amazon, Microsoft will have access to a labor pool from as far as Portland, Boise, and San Fransisco Bay area. The network could drop the land cost for Boeing by as much as 50% allowing it to move manufacturing facilities to places like southern Idaho.
The time when the Hyperloop becomes a reality is not very far away. The company has already finalized tube installation for a 500-meter DevLoop at a site in the desert outside Las Vegas. The first pod will run through it in the next few months as a proof of concept. Hyperloop One will further establish the stability and reliability of the system by building proof-of-operations centers at different locations around the world. As soon as the system obtains certifications and regulatory approvals, we will watch it become a reality.
One thing is clear that the success of Hyperloop will save everyone lots of time. It will change commutation as we see today which will eventually transform lives in a million different ways. May it be getting home in time for dinner or may it be longer vacation travels. It will shift economic behavior to a great extent by improving commuter patterns. How you value time, and how much saving it will affect you is totally a factor that varies with every individual. The newer, faster, and cleaner transportation network means more productivity and more growth.
Images: Hyperloop One