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Tony Stark's (Elon Musk) 'Hyperloop' concept is a fantastic one, with a lot of promise. If it is ever tested and built that is. The system, as described, would be revolutionary. Safer, faster, cheaper and cleaner than all existing long distance transport. The solar powered tube system could (possibly) transport people from NY to LA in 45 minutes. According to Elon Musk the system would cost 1/10th that of high speed rail or 1/4 the cost of freeways. I really hope a test loop is built.

hyperloop-elon-musk.jpg?w=620

http://business.financialpost.com/2013/08/12/elon-musk-reveals-hyperloop-plans/?__lsa=33fa-0155

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Tony Stark's (Elon Musk) 'Hyperloop' concept is a fantastic one, with a lot of promise. If it is ever tested and built that is. The system, as described, would be revolutionary. Safer, faster, cheaper and cleaner than all existing long distance transport. The solar powered tube system could (possibly) transport people from NY to LA in 45 minutes. According to Elon Musk the system would cost 1/10th that of high speed rail or 1/4 the cost of freeways. I really hope a test loop is built.

I saw this on the news today too and was quite fascinated by it. However, it said it could get people from San Fran to La in 30-45 min...not NY.

Edmonton and Calgary have always talked about a high speed train but this sure would be nice. I wonder if it needs a further distance for it to make sense though.

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According to Elon Musk the system would cost 1/10th that of high speed rail or 1/4 the cost of freeways. I really hope a test loop is built.

Freeways transport freight so they are needed no matter what. The real comparisons is between the incremental cost of upgrading highways to support a larger number of passenger vehicles and the cost of building this loop. I suspect the loop technology is much more expensive. The comparison to high speed rail is pointless because high speed cannot be justified from a economic perspective. Edited by TimG
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Freeways transport freight so they are needed no matter what. The real comparisons is between the incremental cost of upgrading highways to support a larger number of passenger vehicles and the cost of building this loop. I suspect the loop technology is much more expensive. The comparison to high speed rail is pointless because high speed cannot be justified from a economic perspective.

There's a certain paradigm change that comes with being able to link the entire west coast of the US with 1-2 hours of commute time in a tube system such as that which is proposed. Effectively, an individual could live in Seattle and work in San Diego or vice versa, for example. Linking economies thousands of miles apart in this way could bring tremendous economic benefits by bringing greater workforce mobility and housing mobility. These benefits are not generally captured in the simple cost-benefit analyses of building different types of infrastructure.

All that being said, high speed transport tubes have been proposed many times before, for several decades now, and the technology required to build them has been around. Of course, Musk has shown himself to be able to successfully push innovation in areas where others have tried and failed, so if he decides to go full steam ahead with this tube I wouldn't bet against him.

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Of course, Musk has shown himself to be able to successfully push innovation in areas where others have tried and failed, so if he decides to go full steam ahead with this tube I wouldn't bet against him.

Don't get me wrong - I read his PDF through and he appears to have addressed many of the nasty implementation details so it seems plausible. I would like to see a prototype built (helping build one is definitely and area where government funding can be helpful).
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Freeways transport freight so they are needed no matter what. The real comparisons is between the incremental cost of upgrading highways to support a larger number of passenger vehicles and the cost of building this loop. I suspect the loop technology is much more expensive. The comparison to high speed rail is pointless because high speed cannot be justified from a economic perspective.

No the real comparison needs to take into account a whole pile of other things like pollution, fuel efficiency, speed, and cost of travel.

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Freeways transport freight so they are needed no matter what. The real comparisons is between the incremental cost of upgrading highways to support a larger number of passenger vehicles and the cost of building this loop. I suspect the loop technology is much more expensive. The comparison to high speed rail is pointless because high speed cannot be justified from a economic perspective.

Highways are still polluting, slow, inefficient and unsafe by comparison. Reducing the volume on highways by removing some of the passenger traffic would be an incredible advantage, especially in urban areas.

Imagine reclaiming some of that valuable land currently covered by asphalt. Park avenue in NYC was born when the Vanderbilts electrified the trains thus eliminating the need for open air tracks. They covered it and created some of the most expensive real estate in the world.

The hyperloop document describes possible freight transport as well, though I suspect this will just replace air freight. Long distance truck transport doesn't make sense anyway. Bulk freight will likely be handled by muti-modal train and truck combinations.

The alpha proposal still pegs the cost at $6 billion: $54 million to construct the 40 passenger capsules and $5.41 billion for the tube and propulsion system construction.

Even more ambitiously, the Hyperloop document suggests that not only people could benefit from a transportation upgrade. A “cargo capsule” system that could also transport vehicles would cost another $30.5 million for 20 capsules, plus another $1.5 billion for a more robust tube system—a total of $7.5 billion. But in this kind of futuristic world, who’s going to need cars anymore?

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Highways are still polluting, slow, inefficient and unsafe by comparison.

Highways already exist, they offer many more on/off ramps which makes them more practical and they are more resilient since a single accident does not take an entire link down. You also cannot make any statement about relative safety for a transport mode that exists only on paper.

Reducing the volume on highways by removing some of the passenger traffic would be an incredible advantage, especially in urban areas.

People still need a car on ether end. No existing highway will be removed as a result of these tubes. At best, it would reduce congestion on existing roads.

Basically, if the cost estimates have any connection to reality then it could replace air travel. It is not competition for roads.

Edited by TimG
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There's a certain paradigm change that comes with being able to link the entire west coast of the US with 1-2 hours of commute time in a tube system such as that which is proposed.

I've often wondered if this paradigm change would aid Edmonton/Calgary as they would be able to attack the business market as a twin city approach. Businesses could set up headquarters in one city (most likely in Calgary) and have manufacturing or other offices in the other city (most likely Edmonton). Potentially the two airports could start working together to attract more international flights. The reality is that Edmonton or Calgary will probably never compete on their own with a Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal but perhaps together by using a high speed transport like this they could.

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We've been spoiled by visions of the future through lots of sci-fi.

This would be really damn cool to get this thing going. Going from Ottawa to Toronto would be awesome as I do have to go to TO often. Would be as fast as a plane ride for me.

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Not to mention make one boooooooring drive almost palatable. Woot...bypass Kingston!

It would also prevent me being tailgated by ambulances and OPP on the 401, in separate incidents. No they were not going to a call, no lights no siren, 140 was not fast enough for them apparently. 40 over and I could lose my license, but once I moved to the other lane, they shoot by even faster.

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We've been spoiled by visions of the future through lots of sci-fi.

This would be really damn cool to get this thing going. Going from Ottawa to Toronto would be awesome as I do have to go to TO often. Would be as fast as a plane ride for me.

Not only would it make our current way of doing things more palatable, it would be revolutionary. Imagine being able to go to Beijing for the weekend. It currently takes me longer to drive to the cottage than it would to take the loop to China.

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Imagine being able to go to Beijing for the weekend. It currently takes me longer to drive to the cottage than it would to take the loop to China.

Imagination is great but it is good to consider what is plausible. Even if this technology works for intercity transport it would never make any sense to build an astronomically expensive tube bridge to cross an ocean. Edited by TimG
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Never? Would you have thought $150 billion would be spent on a space station or trillions to occupy a middle eastern desert?

The space station is unique - it does not replicate what we get with planes and ships. It is much much harder to justify a large capital cost if cheaper alternatives exist.

So yes, such a bridge will never be built because no matter what happens in the future we know that funds are limited and transportation infrastructure that depends on long bridge will always be a bad investment compared to the alternatives. If the 'alternatives' get too expensive (i.e. we run out of oil) then the cost of building the bridge would get expensive too.

Edited by TimG
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The space station is unique - it does not replicate what we get with planes and ships. It is much much harder to justify a large capital cost if cheaper alternatives exist.

Sometimes it's not about saving money, but taking us into a new era, which you cannot put a price tag on. It's a game changer in transportation. A quite exciting one at that.

So yes, such a bridge will never be built because no matter what happens in the future we know that funds are limited and transportation infrastructure that depends on long bridge will always be a bad investment compared to the alternatives. If the 'alternatives' get too expensive (i.e. we run out of oil) then the cost of building the bridge would get expensive too.

The loop is unique. And who says it needs to be a bridge?

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Sometimes it's not about saving money, but taking us into a new era, which you cannot put a price tag on. It's a game changer in transportation. A quite exciting one at that.

Sure - for intercity transport on **land** where it would replace rail.

The loop is unique. And who says it needs to be a bridge?

It requires a tube that is anchored to something. It would likely have to be a floating platform above or slightly below the water. IOW: a hugely expensive bridge.

I cannot imagine a scenario where it would make economic sense to build such a thing. If such mad money was available there are many other things that would make more sense to spend it on (a moon colony for example).

Edited by TimG
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I cannot imagine a scenario where it would make economic sense to build such a thing. If such mad money was available there are many other things that would make more sense to spend it on (a moon colony for example).

Same was said in 1802 , again many times since. But eventually it got done.

We call it the Channel Tunnel.

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Same was said in 1802 , again many times since. But eventually it got done.

We call it the Channel Tunnel.

The bridge/tunnel comb Denmark to Norway( I think) is another fine example. The tunnel in South Korea is another great example.

The bridge also does not need to be from LA to Beijing. it can be from Alaska to Russia type thing. make a nice large loop around the pacific so it includes north and south asia, possibly even australia, to south america and on to north america.

Endeavors like the Large Hadron Collider would not exist if people did not at least try. Largest and most expensive and longest build for any science project. And look at what we have been able to learn about our universe since it has been turned on.

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The bridge also does not need to be from LA to Beijing. it can be from Alaska to Russia type thing.

A bridge from no where to no where. Even less likely.

Endeavors like the Large Hadron Collider would not exist if people did not at least try. Largest and most expensive and longest build for any science project. And look at what we have been able to learn about our universe since it has been turned on.

Again, there is a clear justification for the Hadron Collider because it could do things that could not be done otherwise. Building something unique is different than building something to replace existing solutions. Edited by TimG
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