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Hyperloop

BY Jonathan Strauss

Stop me if you have heard this one before: A train leaving Washington D.C. at 8:00 AM that stops in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and ends in New York City travels at a speed of 700 MPH. How long does it take to go from start to finish? Well if math is not your cup of tea, the entirety of this trip, including stops at each city, is approximately one hour, total. Elon Musk, creator of Tesla and SpaceX, is actively supporting the revitalization of a transportation concept once deemed by many as pie in the sky. The renewed interest is a welcome sound for the TDM community and the travel weary, searching for a cheap, convenient, fast, and environmentally friendly means of transportation.

The technology behind Elon Musk’s Hyperloop concept is proven. For a visual, Imagine the tubes circling New New York City in Futurama and the Jetsons’ pneumatic tubes. The actual method, as described by Will Nicol of Digital Trends Magazine: “For propulsion, magnetic accelerators will be planted along the length of the tube, propelling the pods forward. The tubes would house a low-pressure environment, surrounding the pod with a cushion of air permitting the pod to move safely at high speeds.” Several smaller scale projects have proven the technology to be sound; that is not to say there are no other issues to be resolved for a larger scale project. Despite the known and unknown issues with the project, the need for the Hyperloop expands far beyond just the coasts of the United States.
The Hyperloop is a response to several issues that humanity is currently facing. The conventional modes of transportation most used for long distance travel are slower, more expensive, and are less environmentally friendly than the Hyperloop. Mass transit projects like this one are a means of providing people much needed relief to their wallets, time, and environment.

Elon Musk’s announcement on Twitter of “verbal approval” from Washington D.C. for the Hyperloop is a step in the right direction for TDM. However, the various municipalities that would be served by this train would first need to give their approval and accumulate the capital to help support this multistate multibillion dollar infrastructure project. According to Aarian Marshall of WIRED magazine, the tentative route for the Hyperloop would “Tunnel under at least three rivers, hyperlooping through at least six states in the process.” If you have ever been to even one of the cities that the Hyperloop will stop at, it is clear they all need help with reducing their SOV culture. Consequently, the uncertainty of funding and the political gamesmanship involved may threaten to derail the progress of such an important project.

At Pulsar, we are driven by the monumental task of “Doing a World of Good”. For our transportation clients—and in keeping with our mantra—we aspire to influence a majority of commuters and everyday travelers driving in single occupancy vehicles to favor public transportation. Consequently, connecting four metropolitan areas with mass transportation that can use renewable energy is affordable, helps the environment and is a colossal development in the ever-expanding world of travel.

Despite the long tunnel ahead, Pulsar knows that the future will hold faster, more technologically advanced, and economically sound mass transportation options. It is pivotal and inevitable that projects like the Hyperloop are undertaken, expanded on, and improved upon to connect more people, places, and ideas. Many may ask why we need this, and to borrow from President Kennedy we say “We choose to have the Hyperloop. We choose to have the Hyperloop in this decade and do the other things not because it is easy, but because it is hard. Because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills!”