Elon Musk's hyperloop can't escape the high cost of infrastructure development


All true, but is is going to make much noise? Inside, it is something less that 1/2 of one percent atmospheric pressure, and the wall of tube is at least 20mm thick, I wonder if there will be anything noticeable over the noise of the freeway. I don’t see why it needs lights aside from stations. I’d think it would be a very low impact, if it ran down the center median of a freeway, who would notice?

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Yeah, but will it transform the world the way the Segway did?


something have everybody (whether they want to built a train, a highway, or a futuristic hyperloop) tends to underestimate.

Either I’m totally misreading this, or someone has seriously goofed in their proofreading.

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“Pnumatic” means motion is generated using air pressures. I don’t think that’s what’s going on here. Hyperloop uses liner induction motors for acceleration and mostly coasts the rest of the time. It’s in a medium-to-high-vacuum (not hard vacuum) tube for reduced atmospheric drag and uses an electric powered axial air compressor (see: front of a jet engine) to move the remaining air to the back of the pod, and compress air for the air hockey table like skiis that skim over the tube walls.


Looks a bit like a slight of hand. There is an assumption that interstate right-of-way will be easy to obtain. Ignoring the problem with construction, overpasses, and curves designed for a much lower speed, there is also the issue of value of air space. I’ve already been in talks with investors about using highways as solar farms. With energy prices going up and solar panel prices falling, the use of highway right-of-ways for solar collection in the areas that need energy the most is looking like a good deal. Why would Elon, or whoever puts their money into it, get access to this publicly owned resource for next to nothing when other investors are willing to pay for it? It’s certainly not going to be free or even inexpensive. He may find that he needs more than six billion just to outbid others for the space over highways.


A hyperloop might work better in south/central FL, where the governor recently cancelled a normal (& expensive), high-speed rail link between Orlando and Tampa, apparently to stick a thumb in Obama’s eye. (He explained it was because the new construction would increase the deficit rather than create Democratic jobs in a swing part of the state. So NY & NJ got the cheese instead.)
But if you’ve driven south from Orlando to Miami (or Tampa to Orlando…or Tampa to Miami) you would notice the center of the state is quite flat and very empty. A pipeline which doesn’t carry crude oil? And stands on 'glades-friendly pylons? And can get you from point a to point b in a few moments? (TSA notwithstanding, of course.) And it is cheap? With nothing in the way to prevent a long straight line of motion? Except maybe some crocodiles at the Miami end?
Add a link to SpaceX headquarters over at the Cape, and you, uh, might be able to get SpaceX headquarters at the Cape. Instead of in Texas.
(Where they would be more likely to gamble on building this as well.)

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It would be cheaper to build more freeway lanes and simply add public buses to transport people.

Not that sinkholes would be an issue in Florida.

Let’s hope the TSA leaves this alone or they’ll ruin the speed of it all. buggers.

Buses are not a realistic option for transporting people from SF to LA. That’s just silly. This thing is built to handle future growth in the state that would normally have gone into air travel.

The cost of building airport and road expansions to handle an equal number of people as the CA HSR is estimated to be $124 billion (4 new runways, 115 extra gates, 4300 lane-miles of new roads). The cost to operate and maintain that freeway would be about $132 billion over 50 years of which 100% comes out of the state budget (compared to ticket sales).

HSR is actually quite the money saver.

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Not to mention land improvements (grading hundreds of miles of land is not cheap), connecting this to the electric grid (because we get storms that last more than a few days, so solar+batteries isn’t going to cut it, support structures like a yard for doing car maintenance, administrative buildings, all the R&D necessary to test this concept and build the device at the end that turns around cars, putting in pillars that can actually support a big rig full of fuel slamming into them (especially on I-5).

Oh and there’s the fact that he’s saved a ton of costs by not actually going to San Francisco or downtown LA, but rather Oakland and the edge of LA. He certainly doesn’t stop at any of the 14 stops that CA HSR does or replace/upgrade two full metropolitan transit lines (Caltrain/Metrolink).

Really these two things aren’t remotely comparable. It seems to me this experimental proposal providing a fraction of what CA HSR offers was put forward purely to derail CA HSR.

It seems he wants the state of California to build it. He stated he didn’t want to build it, although backed off a bit to say he might build a “prototype.” Ideally this would be a public works project to replace or augment the existing plans for California’s “High Speed” Rail. The bottom line is the right of way issues are only simpler in the case of the Hyperloop than they are for the existing high speed rail project.

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I don’t think buses are all that silly. They can use existing roadways. Make them double decker and simply add more of them to increase capacity.

Why do Californian’s “NEED” a high speed rail between LA and SF anyway?

Not really, land is expensive to acquire and develop whether you’re using it for freeway lanes or high speed rail lines. At least you can add more trains to an existing rail line more easily than you can add more cars to an existing freeway. Besides, I’d gladly pay more to take a quick train ride than an all-day bus trip.

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Except we’re never actually going to see the high speed rail.


What are the buses going to use as fuel? Pixie dust?


Well for starters there’s:

  • The Grapevine
  • Holding your breath to drive by Cowshwitz
  • Most eateries on the I-5
  • 6+ hours of “Look, kids! Corn!”

Plus air pollution, diminishing oil reserves, traffic, scarcity of land to build more freeways, all that boring practical stuff.


“Besides, I’d gladly pay more to take a quick train ride than an all-day bus trip.”

Here here. I must say I’m a little disappointed in the general reaction to Hyperloop, pretty negative. Maybe that’s just the internet, but personally I love the idea. I want to ride it, it smells like the future…if I’m not going to get a jetpack then at least let me ride a 600 mph railgun airtrain in my lifetime.

So what if it costs more than projected, it’s still far less than the alternative. And judging from all the “congress created dust bowl” signs on the 5 I would think farmers would be happy to earn a little something from the leasing rights.




Even with the AC off and the car sealed that smell still gets inside.