The Hyperloop concept, pod speed competitions and current project developments have recently attracted much publicity. In this paper the transport technology of the vacuumed tube transport project Hyperloop is assessed through a system analysis of its principal aims, functional design, transport capacity and demand in comparison with existing commercial airlines, high-speed rail, and Maglev lines. First, the potential for high-speed long-distance travel demand for Hyperloop based on existing airline transport volumes between major airports in Germany on the one hand, and the proposed Hyperloop link from Los Angeles to San Francisco in California on the other, is assessed in general terms. Second, the technical feasibility of the proposed Hyperloop concept for vehicle design, capacity, operations, propulsion, guidance, energy supply, traffic control, safety, alignment, and construction is discussed in more detail. Third, possible environmental impacts and uncertain investment, operating and maintenance costs for implementation of a Hyperloop line are described. Finally, the risks for further Hyperloop project development and the need for more transparent research are emphasized.
- system analysis
- technology assessment