Assessing Hyperloop Transport Capacity under Moving-Block and Virtual Coupling Operations

R. Mendes Borges, E. Quaglietta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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The Hyperloop is a concept of a ground transportation system consisting of capsules (called pods) traveling at very high-speeds in near-vacuum tubes. The hyperloop aims to be a fast, cheap, and sustainable alternative to short-haul flights and high-speed rail. The small pod size requires very high frequencies to respond to future high levels of passenger and cargo demands. Media and representatives of the emerging Hyperloop industry acclaim the Hyperloop as a very capacity-effective transport system, however there is no clear scientific evidence proving that. A theoretical investigation is therefore necessary to understand which capacity the Hyperloop could safely provide and whether that could satisfy the future transport demand. This paper provides a comparative analysis of the capacity that the Hyperloop can offer for several operational scenarios and different signalling systems, including Moving-Block and the advanced concept of Virtual Coupling. Results show that Moving-Block could achieve required transport capacity levels only if pods could use high deceleration rates likely to be unsafe and uncomfortable to passengers. Virtual Coupling is instead observed to be a more satisfactory operational concept that could address transport demand while respecting safety and comfort standards if reliable pod platooning technologies are available.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransportation Research Board 100th Annual meeting
Subtitle of host publicationA Virtual Event, January 2021
PublisherTransportation Research Board (TRB)
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventTRB 100th Annual Meeting - Online due to COVID-19, Washington, United States
Duration: 8 Jan 202129 Jan 2021
Conference number: 100


ConferenceTRB 100th Annual Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author Manuscript


  • Hyperloop capacity
  • Virtual Coupling
  • Moving-Block
  • High-speed transport


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