Since we first unveiled the idea for a new high-speed ground transport system called theHyperloop back in 2013, there has been a tremendous amount of interest in the concept. We are excited that a handful of private companies have chosen to pursue this effort.
Neither SpaceX nor Elon Musk is affiliated with any Hyperloop companies. While we are not developing a commercial Hyperloop ourselves, we are interested in helping to accelerate development of a functional Hyperloop prototype.
For this reason, SpaceX is announcing an open competition, geared towards university students and independent engineering teams, to design and build the best Hyperloop pod. To support this competition, SpaceX will construct a one-mile test track adjacent to our Hawthorne, California headquarters. Teams will be able to test their human-scale pods during a competition weekend at the track, currently targeted for June 2016. The knowledge gained here will continue to be open-sourced.
SpaceX, Mr. Musk’s rocket launch company, has announced a competition to design passenger vehicles for the Hyperloop, a proposed high-speed ground transport system.
The competition is intended to appeal to both university students and independent engineering teams, according to SpaceX documents provided to The New York Times.
SpaceX also plans to construct a one-mile test track adjacent to its headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., which will be used as a testing and competition area for contestants, with a planned start date of June 2016.
Questions of whether we should build a Colorado Hyperloop shouldn’t be a zero sum game.
If you don’t know what zero sum means in game theory, look at this video by President Clinton.
So lets imagine a future different from the past. Cars will forever be around. Rail will always be around. Hyperloop will be new, but it will show our interdependence on the other forms of transportation. A hyperloop will reveal that we are interdependent to each other as well.
Colorado relates to this important higher level of thinking because CDOT will be embarking on some major infrastructure projects that will affect people. The 9News report below shows that interdependence of other transportation links are important, but more so are the people and lives that these projects change.
The reason why we must avoid the racist highways/transit projects that divided our cities for years goes back to what Clinton was saying in the above video. We have to believe in interdependence and we have to believe that we will be better off when we work together. Below is the report related article from the 9News article:
We need a higher level of feeling and thinking. The Colorado Hyperloop would enable people to go along the whole front range, fast, unfettered and at very low cost for the masses. This would relate to another Elon Musk possible project:
@Shmizer1 unfettered certainly and at very low cost
More people in the United States are taking public transit, according to this NYTimes article by Jon Hurdle. The reason for the increase is complex but identifiable.
Stronger economic growth is playing an important role in the increased use of public transit, as more people are using the systems to get to an increasing number of jobs, the association reported, and transit agencies are nurturing growth by expanding their systems or improving services.
“We’re seeing that where cities have invested in transit, their unemployment rates have dropped, and employment is going up because people can get there,” Mr. Melaniphy said.
Could a Colorado Hyperloop be a jobs magnifier for the state? The article continues, not on New York City’s mega subway, but with RTD!
In Denver, the Regional Transit District topped 101 million passenger trips last year, its most ever, helped by an improving economy and an increasing acceptance that public transit is an attractive alternative to the automobile, said Scott Reed, a spokesman for the district.
One of the challenges is simply getting people to try public transportation, Mr. Reed said, but when they do, “they find it is so much easier than they had feared.”
The 14-mile light-rail W Line connecting Denver, Lakewood and Golden, Colo., opened in April, and by the end of the year, it was carrying about 15,000 passengers a day, as planned. The line is part of a FasTracks expansion program, which will consist of 122 additional miles of light and commuter rail, 18 miles of a bus rapid transit system and a doubling of park-and-ride facilities, all scheduled for completion in 2016.
The estimated $7 billion cost is being paid for in part with a 0.4 percent sales tax, which voters approved in 2004. Nationally, taxpayers are increasingly willing to finance public transportation improvements, Mr. Melaniphy said.
In the last two years, more than 70 percent of transit tax initiatives have succeeded, he said.
I think the tax debate muddles the article, but it is clear, if you build transport systems, people will use them. The Front Range is incredibly car heavy right now. We need to move to ultra fast, medium to far distance, cheap transportation. Coloradans have to start planning future transport like the Hyperloop.
Denver will be critical in a front range hyperloop. It has the highest population, the busiest airport, and possibly the most complex urban planning and laws. The precise location for a hyperloop in the city is of extreme importance. The incredible speed that the pods travel dictate a strait hyperloop shot into the city. In my head, I thought it would be appropriate to put the hyperloop station next to I-25. That would also put it approximately next to Union Station, the epicenter of all public transportation in metro Denver and regionally.
The images of the recently updated Union Station are breathtaking. The platforms are totally futuristic. Unfortunately, the train/rail technology is totally not futuristic. When Amtrak starts using the facility, as 9News reported, it will once again feel like a hub of opportunity and possibility.
The “other” rail and transportation hub in Denver is nearing Completion. The RTD’s East Rail Line, from Union Station to DIA is said to be 60% complete. DIA’s unnamed station has some serious baggage. The project has taken a life on its own. First, is the fact that it wasn’t built when the airport was built. Second, is that the managers of DIA and the developers of DIA seem to be tapping into public funds at their own accord. The Denver Post wrote an eye opening piece outlining the underbelly of this mega transportation infrastructure.
“The $544 million price tag for Denver International Airport’s showcase hotel and train terminal construction project does not include at least $128 million in what airport management calls “additional related” costs, putting its real cost 34 percent over the $500 million budget proposed three years ago.
As the cost of the project rose, airport officials have insisted it remains on or close to budget. But in order to do that, they have excluded related costs and apparently cut spending in other critical areas. During the past two years, DIA management slashed more than $200 million from the airport’s runway-repair budget and other long-term maintenance projects, a Denver Post investigation found.”
Seriously, why build a pointless hotel when it will take money out of the runway-repair budget? I highly recommend the article. It touches on the interplay between DIA staff, Airlines, the Denver City Council and former employees. It ends on the quote:
‘It’s either a visionary project or a lesson for the rest of us.’
Safety is the most important aspect of any transport system, and especially of a new and untested Hyperloop. Thats why adding a device that will alert of any problems in keeping the trains at speed, distance and of whether the human/android is paying attention to the situational awareness.
So It is a bit scary that the lessons of past rail disasters have not been taken into consideration, even if the rail line has been in use alot and forever.
“The question for the rest of us is why that train — and thousands of other trains in commuter and freight railroads across the country — had no automated system to slow or stop it when it ran out of control.
The idea is not new.”
Exactly. Why is safety such a second thought in this country? The hyperloop must be the safest form of transport ever.
In deciding how to fund the construction of the hyperloop (and assuming that it can generate a profit after being built) we look to other models of economic growth, this time with Big Oil and Gas dollars. While Colorado has extensive Oil and Gas reserves, the country of Kazakhstan has much more. Colorado, with its currently slim majority pro-fracking population http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/blog/earth_to_power/2013/11/more-than-half-of-colorado-voters.html will need to decide how revenue from the private companies can fed back into state taxes. “The Quinnipiac poll, which was primarily focused on next year’s Colorado gubernatorial election, also asked: “If a candidate for governor supports fracking, does that make you more likely to vote for that candidate, less likely, or doesn’t it make a difference?”” Anyway, beyond the short term politics, Kazakhstan is thinking ahead and so should we.
The article I read http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/21/business/international/kazakhstans-bet-on-rail.html?_r=0 gives a very interesting take that the government in Astana is basically funneling all the oil revenue into creating a rail road state owned mega industry.
“The rail business, Kazakhstan Temir Zholy, better known by its initials as K.T.Z., reached a deal this summer to build a $100 million freight and logistics center on the coast of China at Lianyungang port, roughly halfway between Beijing and Shanghai. The goal is to bring goods in and out of Central Asia through a combination of rail and sea freight, and help the region diversify its exports beyond an overwhelming dependence on Russia that has lasted for more than two decades after the demise of the Soviet Union.
The railroad has opened a second line from Kazakhstan to China that runs through a southern mountain pass that is less prone to the high winds and blizzards that bedevil a Soviet-era border crossing farther north built under the Soviet leaders Khrushchev and Brezhnev. The company is frenetically building new rail lines within Kazakhstan to distribute goods, too, and has more than quadrupled its annual investment in the last four years, to $3.1 billion this year.
Kazakhstan faces a difficult challenge in trying to spend its oil wealth in ways that will create prosperity beyond the city limits of the capital, Astana, and there is no guarantee that its emphasis on the rail industry will work.”
What if Colorado voters decided to funneled Oil/Gas taxes into a Colorado Hyperloop industry? The front range will be a key backbone of trade from Wyoming to New Mexico. I have no evidence, but I believe the investment in hyperloop technology will spur other industries and will have a larger return than even the Oil and Gas industries of Colorado.
What if we didn’t have broadband, high speed rail (still do not have it in the USA) or airplanes?
Pushing for change is hard. Luckily, when the head of a federal depart, such as the FCC, wants change, things can happen pretty fast. However, they would also be in charge of regulating, and if that person(s) do not know what the hyperloop does or how it works, it will be bad.
I was happy to read this from the NYTimes article.
” “History has shown that new networks catalyze innovation, investment, ideas and ingenuity. Their spillover effects can transform society — think of the creation of industrial organizations and the standardized time zones that followed in the wake of the railroad and telegraph.”” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/20/business/media/fcc-chairman-calls-for-transforming-the-technology-used-by-phone-systems.html?hpw&rref=technology&_r=0
The Hyperloop is the broadband of the internet speed development. Take for example this sentence from the head of the FCC:
“The transition to broadband and I.P. services that has already begun is driven by consumers who are moving to the Internet and choosing to connect in ways not imagined just a decade ago.”
…and can be altered to…
““The transition to broadbandhigh speed rail and I.P.airplane services that has already begun is driven by consumers who are moving to the Internethyperloop and choosing to connectlive in ways not imagined just a decade ago.”
So what if we transitioned to Hyperloop technology? What if the government in power were to push for the hyperloop?
Lets just hope we don’t get the same guy in government that thought the Internet was “a series of tubes.” Because that’s the Hyperloop.
The below post is mainly from material from this article in the New York Times.
“New Colorado? Rural Voters Approve Secession Idea
The nation’s newest state, if rural Colorado residents had their way, would be about the size of Vermont but with the population of a small town spread across miles of farmland. There wouldn’t be civil unions for gay couples, new renewable energy standards, or limits on ammunition magazines.”
First, “conservative prairie towns with the more populous and liberal urban Front Range, which has helped solidify the Democrats’ power.” Interesting to note but not ground breaking.
Second, the Secession area is “five counties share borders, covering about 9,500 square miles and have a combined population of about 29,200.” Seriously, just 29,000 people is like a city population between Wheat Ridge and Fountain CO or even less than half of Burlington, VT. Small town.
Third, “More than 80 percent of Colorado’s 5 million residents live on the Front Range. The counties that voted to secede currently only have two state representatives and one state senator.”
If the Colorado Hyperloop is made along the front range I can imagine it would carry around 29,000 people in less than half a week. For example, RTD carries from January-December 2012 has a average weekday boarding of 328,109 and an annual boarding of 99,142,849. http://www.rtd-denver.com/factsAndFigures.shtml. These new commuters will change change how rural Colorado comes more into the fold.