I have some comments on the so-called Hyperloop on p. 10 of the current issue of Modus. There are comments by others as well.
Hyperloop is not a reality, and may never be
Hyperloop can’t be a solution to any current transport problem, as it doesn’t exist. This is like the Wright brothers pitching airports before they’d flown an aeroplane – it’s a bit premature. Magnetic levitation technology has been around for years and we’ve had pneumatic tubes since the 18oos. Putting these two technologies together doesn’t work at this time. There’s no reason public agencies should propose to build lines until they’ve built a test track that functions.
Long tubes of metal are going to expand and contract. You can imagine shorter tubes connected by rubber or something, but what ‘s the loss of vacuum? We don’t know. Nobody’s built one. Since they’ve never put a person in a hyperloop, they have no idea how people are going to react. In addition to not having technology, they don’t have a business case. How do they get passenger flows that justify the cost? This isn’t faster than anything that has come before – we have aeroplanes. They haven’t come up with a market where this works better than anything we already have.
— David Levinson is professor of transport at the University of Sydney