Tag Archives: Hyperloop

President Trump is Interested in The Hyperloop!!!

Earlier this week, Elon Musk dined at the White House with the president to discuss his infrastructure plan for the country, according to reports from The Wall Street Journal. President Trump in turn expressed his interest in the Hyperloop.

While no concrete plans have been provided, the administration has stated their intentions to dedicate significant budget towards improving America’s roads and bridges. That certainly could include the latest technologies, like the Hyperloop. That being said, Trump’s curiosity for Musk’s ambitious transportation project doesn’t necessarily mean it come to fruition under his administration. According to The American Society of Civil Engineers, the U.S. would need $3.6 trillion to update the entire country’s infrastructure — and that’s not counting the Hyperloop.

Of course, apart from Musk sitting down with the President, there aren’t any concrete details that would suggest Trump could allot trillions from the federal budget for the project. Still, Trump’s interest could hint that the administration is looking towards privatizing American transportation infrastructure.

Hyperloop One has been in the headlines quite a bit recently, particularly after images of the Nevada test track surfaced online.

While it’s only a third of a mile (and has yet to be tested using actual pods or undergo public trials) the track is the first full-scale Hyperloop track. It also managed to complete a public trial of its propulsion system last year — however, it fell short of targets.

Ideally, the Hyperloop should be able to travel at 750 mph. The five-second, podless rail test only managed to hit 300 mph.

According to Musk, it would cost around $6 billion to create a Hyperloop line from Los Angeles to San Francisco. If that sounds like a lot, when you look at the cost per mile ($11.5 million) it actually works out to be less than a high-speed rail, according to Forbes. Musk’s intention to build the system in tunnels is putting more focus on additional costs, however. Of course, this all rests on the premise that a perfectly working Hyperloop can be built — and it’s still up for debate whether that, and the projected cost, is actually feasible.

Yes, our group is still very interested in the planned Hyperloop between Louisville and Chicago!


Hyperloop One has a short list of cities for its 760-mile-per-hour trains

Above: Hyperloop One’s test site in Las Vegas.

Image Credit: Hyperloop One

Hyperloop One is working on a transportation technology that can make trains go as fast as 760 miles per hour. The company has raised $160 million in several rounds to build the transportation systems that seem like something out of science fiction.

Despite a lawsuit from former high-ranking employees, the company has moved swiftly to add new executives and expand its search for sites where it can build its lightning-fast transportation networks in cities around the world. (The company denied the allegations and countersued the former employees.)

Hyperloop One continues to build out its 100,000-square-foot Metalworks fabrication facility and 137-acre Apex test and safety site in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Construction of the company’s full-system development loop is underway as Hyperloop One prepares for its “Kitty Hawk moment” in the first quarter of 2017.

Last week, during CES 2017, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas, I met with Rob Lloyd, CEO of Hyperloop One. We talked about the company’s global challenge contest to find the world’s best Hyperloop routes. The list is now down to 35 possible projects around the world, and some cities such as Dubai are actively pursuing approvals.

More than 2,600 proposals were registered in five months, and the semifinalists come from 17 countries. A handful of finalists will be named by May. Lloyd and I talked about that process, as well as what Hyperloop transportation will mean for society in the future.

See an interview with Rob Lloyd by DEAN TAKAHASHI@DEANTAK

We are particularly interested in one of HYPEROOP ONE’s 35 FINALISTS: “The Muhammad Ali Hyperlink”

Designed to provide high speed trannsportation between Louisville and Chicago. It fills a void that AMTRAK has not been able to.


Anybody building into Chicago will have a big problem in finding space. As a sensible alternative, We suggested that the new railroad start instead at the Gary/Chicago International Airport. It is already served by the “South Shore” railroad which has a great terminal in downtown Chicago. Gary Airport is receiving Federal funding from Dept. of Transportation and South Shore railroad is receiving State/local funding for expansion.

Very recently Hyperloop One, announced that « cargo will be implemented before passengers ».

We anticipated this with the selection of Gary, Indiana (at the international airport) as our Northern Terminal. Of course passengers will still transfer to the South Shore commuter line operated by the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District. But operating on the same right-of-way is the Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad. It provides freight service between Chicago and South Bend. It has important connections to the Indiana Harbor Railroad, Norfolk Southern, CSX Corporation. It is also connected to the in-formation Great Lakes Basin Transportation. It proposes to construct a new railroad line around the metropolitan Chicago area. The purpose of the new railroad is to expedite freight movements across the nation and to provide additional capacity for growing railroad traffic.

MTA Metro-North Railroad Looking At Options For “Beacon Line”

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and MTA Metro-North Railroad are asking companies and organizations to step forward with ideas for how to revitalize a little-used rail line that runs east-west across Dutchess and Putnam counties.

The line, known as the Beacon Line or the Maybrook Branch, connects with Metro-North’s Hudson Line at Beacon, proceeds east through Fishkill, Hopewell Junction, and Stomville, and connects with the Harlem Line north of Southeast.

Although owned by Metro-North Railroad, the line is not currently used for passenger train service.

Metro-North Railroad’s Beacon Line is a non-revenue line connecting the railroad’s three revenue lines east of the Hudson River. West to east, they are the Hudson Line, Harlem Line, and the Danbury Branch of the New Haven Line. It was purchased by Metro-North in 1995 from Maybrook Properties, a subsidiary of the Housatonic Railroad, to preserve it for future use, training, and equipment moves. Maybrook Properties had purchased the line from Conrail after Conrail withdrew from the Danbury, Connecticut, freight market

“Perhaps there are ways that the line could be put to use for the benefit of the public that are outside of our mandate as a public transportation agency,” said Metro-North Railroad President Joseph Giulietti. “We want to find out how much interest there is in this real estate and what ideas folks may have that could lead to the revitalization of the line.”

Well now! We have a current project to build a HYPERLOOP between Louisville, KY and Chicago!!!

The MTA has issued a formal Request for Expressions of Interest, or RFEI, which is available at the MTA’s website under Doing Business With Us, then Real Estate, then Leasing/Sales & Current Requests for Proposals.

It was no simple task following the instructs of Metro-North Railroad President Joseph Giulietti. First of all we checked the box “foreign company” then found we could not insert our telephone number. Oh well, we used Louisville telephone number. Then we had to make a choice of real estate project. Ours was not listed so we checked “Parking Lot”. Then we went through numerous pages of searching and could not find anything.

If any of our readers are interested in paeticipating with us, please contact us

Big Changes Ahead For The Muhammad Ali Hyperlink

Yes, our vision remains the same : provide fast and reliable transportation between Chicago and Louisville. However there are two important changes to our environment: (1) Cincinnati, Ohio has a Hyperloop project now; and (2) Hyperloop now feels that cargo has more priority than passengers.
Hyperloop One raised $50 million and hired former Uber CFO Brent Callinicos. The new round, led by DP World Groups in Dubai, brings the company’s total funding to $160 million.
Hyperloop UC, the University of Cincinnati’s interdisciplinary team, will unveil their entry for the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod competition on Monday, Oct. 17. The pod will be used during the next phase of the international Hyperloop competition to be held at a test track next to SpaceX in Hawthorne, California, in January 2017.
After months of preparation, a team of University of Cincinnati students will pull the curtain back on their Hyperloop pod, a prototype they think could reshape high-speed transportation as part of the competition dreamed up by Tesla founder Elon Musk. As CEO of the aerospace firm SpaceX, Musk has challenged the world to submit ideas — and now prototypes — for a tube-based passenger system that would allow for travel between cities at the speed of sound.
More than 60 students from Hyperloop UC — engineers, designers and marketers — have been busy finalizing designs, manufacturing parts and synthesizing segments into a seamless prototype for the January 27-29 competition when they will insert their pod for takeoff in a mile-long test track.
UC’s group is one of just 30 that has advanced to the test round of the Hyperloop competition out of more than 1,200 teams worldwide. If successful, the venture could completely shift the way commuters travel. Cincinnati to Chicago, for example, could be travelled in a half hour — all while passengers relax in a capsule that levitates through the tube at more than 700 mph.
“We are very proud of the design we have created,” says Dhaval Shiyani, Hyperloop UC President and aerospace engineering graduate student in UC’s College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS). “It hits all the marks with respect to performance, safety and scalability. Our education at UC has taught us well, and we are confident that we will be a force to reckon with come January.”
UC’s team was among 120 teams invited to Texas A&M University in January of 2016 to present their ideas, where they were then selected to be among just 30 who are moving on to the final round of competition. UC is also the only group representing Ohio universities.

Very recently Hyperloop One, (the Elon Musk organization), announced that « cargo will be implemented before passengers ».

We anticipated this with the selection of Gary, Indiana (at the international airport) as our Northern Terminal. Of course passengers will still transfer to the South Shore commuter line operated by the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District. But operating on the same right-of-way is the Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad. It provides freight service between Chicago and South Bend.It has important connections to the Indiana Harbor Railroad, Norfolk Southern, CSX Corporation. It is also connected to the in-formation Great Lakes Basin Transportation. It proposes to construct a new railroad line around the metropolitan Chicago area. The purpose of the new railroad is to expedite freight movements across the nation and to provide additional capacity for growing railroad traffic.

This Hyperloop VR app is a good reminder of how claustrophobic Hyperloop pods will be……The Muhammad Ali Hyperlink

Considering the engineering and financial challenges of building a working Hyperloop, it’s not a given that the technology envisioned by Elon Musk will ever come to fruition. However, it is certain (in my opinion, anyway) that any working Hyperloop pods are likely to be claustrophobic as hell. Now, I know some companies involved have tried to waylay these fears with talks of augmented reality windows and calming lighting, but I honestly don’t think these will make a difference. You’ll still know you’re getting into a tiny pod that’s completely sealed off from the world — and this virtual reality Hyperloop app shows it.


The app has been built by Dutch ad agency INDG to support the work of the Delft University of Technology, which entered its pod into SpaceX’s Hyperloop design competition earlier this year. (They came second.) The app includes a nice exploded-view diagram that explains the basic Hyperloop mechanics, but there’s also a simulated trip from Amsterdam to Paris. (You can try it for yourself by downloading the app from iTunes here or the Play Store here.)

It’s perhaps the most boring virtual reality experience I’ve ever tried: you simply sit there and watch the odometer tick away while unexplained lights streak past you. The tedium certainly didn’t help with my itching desire to get up and stretch my legs and although I’m not sure if the VR experience exactly replicates Delft’s Hyperloop design, I do hope they at least add an aisle to their pod so passengers can walk up and down a little. At least when it’s not a VR Hyperloop journey I’ll be able to read a book.

By James Vincent @jjvincent

What The Heck Is A HYPERLOOP? (Ali No. 19)

When my grandmother was a girl at the turn of the last century, it would take her all day to travel just 20 miles to Youngstown from her farm outside Columbiana, Ohio. She told me the airplane was one of the most important innovations in her life.

Few things are as fundamental to modern life as getting where you need to go. Now we could be on the brink of another revolution in transportation: the hyperloop.

Picture sitting in a pod inside a nearly airless tube that stretches aboveground for hundreds of miles. Electric motors inside the 11-foot tube accelerate the pod out of the station and slow it down before arrival. Powerful magnets in the tube levitate your pod so you can hurtle friction-free to your destination at nearly the speed of sound.

A lacework of hyperloop transit tubes could spread across the country, mounted high above the ground on pylons and roofed with solar panels to power the system. Distant cities could become as convenient to visit as the local supermarket. And some of the environmental insult that comes from car and plane exhaust could be swept from the skies.

Advocates tout shorter travel times and lower costs than traditional mass transit systems, such as California’s high-speed rail project that’s currently estimated to cost $64 billion.

Well, that’s the promise, anyway.

Hyperloop transportation is more theoretical than practical, although that’s not stopping engineers, students and tech visionaries from pushing to make it a reality. Earlier this year, more than 1,000 university students competed in a two-day contest to design passenger pods. And two rival startups are racing to build the first hyperloop tube as soon as 2018. If they succeed, we could end up with the best of both worlds: spacious suburban living with quick access to once-distant cities for jobs and culture.

And it could start to happen within the next decade.
Musk’s very big idea

The hyperloop is the brainchild of Elon Musk, famous tech visionary and CEO of electric car company Tesla Motors and SpaceX, which aims to build reusable rockets that could ultimately help us colonize other worlds. Musk thinks big.

Four years ago, he suggested a “fifth mode of transportation” — after planes, trains, cars and boats — that would run in a loop between cities and, he hoped, eventually reach hypersonic speeds.

Musk didn’t just float the idea for the world to ponder. He assembled a team of engineers from Tesla and SpaceX who spent almost nine months roughing out hyperloop tube and pod designs and plotting a route between San Francisco and LA. Their 58-page paper, released in August 2013, offered the vision of making the 380-mile trip in just 35 minutes.

“The Hyperloop (or something similar) is, in my opinion, the right solution for the specific case of high-traffic city pairs that are less than about 1500 km or 900 miles apart,” Musk wrote in the paper.

But Musk also said he’s plenty busy running both Tesla and SpaceX, and hoped the designs would inspire others to pick up the challenge.

So far, two companies have.

Soon boarding?

That initial design concept envisioned hyperloop capsules levitating on pressurized air, like pucks on an air hockey table.

The rival hyperloop companies are keeping Musk’s general approach, including a compressor at the front of each pod to pull the tube’s thin air out of the way. But some things look different. Wider pods will be less claustrophobic, and magnetic levitation looks more promising for floating the pods.

The companies share Musk’s ambitions, though.

“In 30 years, there will be a network of hyperloop systems,” says Rob Lloyd, CEO of Hyperloop One (formerly known as HyperlinkTechnologies) in Los Angeles. “They will carry people. They will carry freight. This will be like the backbone for the physical world.” Lloyd thinks hyperloops are good for 50- to 500-mile trips.

So far, Hyperloop One has raised more than $90 million. Its board includes co-founder and venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar; former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina; and Peter Diamandis, who started the nonprofit X Prize Foundation, which runs big-money competitions to solve big-world problems.
In May, Hyperloop One conducted its first open-air test in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Earlier this month, the company said it could connect the 300 miles between Stockholm and Helsinki in 28 minutes. It expects to open its first full-scale hyperloop in 2020 and to have two more by 2022.

Rival Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has even grander plans that would supplant subways, too. “I think we are the ones for the public transport system — the metro substitute and city-to-city connector,” says CEO Dirk Ahlborn.

HTT’s designs are the crowdsourced effort of more than 100 engineers and other technologists collaborating around the country. Last year, it announced plans to build a prototype five-mile hyperloop in central California. It should be open to the public by the end of 2018 or early 2019, Ahlborn says. After that, HTT expects to begin full-scale construction. “I think the first ones finished will be in Asia, India, Indonesia, Africa or the Middle East,” he says.

Not so fast

Skeptics think Musk’s vision will have trouble standing up to real-world difficulties. “Once you get down to specifics — the homes that’ll be taken out and the businesses disrupted — the costs go up,” says Brookings Institution analyst Robert Puentes.

And Alon Levy, a mathematician at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, frets hyperloops will be a “barf ride” as the pods follow curves around and over obstacles. Building a straighter track costs a lot more.

Advocates counter they can cut costs with solar and wind energy, and say the pods’ regenerative braking will pump energy back into batteries. HTT thinks it can convince real estate developers to help pay for hyperloop construction costs, since nearby houses and office space will rise in value.

“The moment you can have a public transport system that’s not a liability, but generating income, it only makes sense to switch over,” says Ahlborn.

Stephen Shankland (@stshank), a CNET senior writer, tries not to take sides in the religious battles over text editors and video compression standards.

This story appears in the summer 2016 edition of CNET Magazine.

Hyperloop One’s co-founder and CTO Brogan BamBrogan is out at the company

Shervin Pishevar (l), Rob Lloyd and Brogan BamBrogan (r)
David Becker / Getty

Brogan BamBrogan, the co-founder and chief technology officer at Hyperloop One, has stepped back from his role at the company. The former Senior Vice President of Engineering Josh Giegel will be assuming BamBrogan’s role and has been promoted to co-founder and president of engineering and has joined the board, Recode has confirmed.

Hyperloop One is one of two companies competing to make Elon Musk’s dream of a high-speed mass transit system a reality. Sources say there has been internal tension brewing at the company among the executives and that it was the cause of many of the abruptly made executive changes. This comes at a time when the company is gaining momentum: On June 21, the company signed a deal with a Russian firm Summa group as well as the Russian government to construct a Hyperloop in Moscow. Just one month prior, Hyperloop One performed the first successful public test of its open-air propulsion system in Las Vegas.

The company made the title changes late this week just a few days after Afshin Pishevar, the chief legal officer and brother of chairman Shervin Pishevar, had been removed from his post. Afshin had been with the company since its inception. A source says Pishevar, along with his assistant general counsel David Pendergast, were out at the company as early as last week.

“Hyperloop One is pleased to announce that Josh Giegel has been promoted to President of Engineering and appointed to the Board of Directors. Josh has been a valued engineering leader as co-founder and SVP of Engineering since the company’s inception,” the company said in a statement. “Co-founder and CTO Brogan BamBrogan has decided to take a step back from Hyperloop One. We appreciate everything that he has done to put us on the path to creating the world’s first Hyperloop.”

This wouldn’t be the first instance of executive shuffling in the company’s short history. As the story goes, Hyperloop One — formerly Hyperloop Technologies — came out of a conversation Shervin Pishevar had with Musk. Pishevar, who recounted this story during an onstage interview with Jason Calacanis, said Musk mentioned the idea but said he was too busy with SpaceX. So in 2014, Pishevar took on the challenge of creating this new technology but specifically has his eye on transporting cargo. BamBrogan, an early member of SpaceX, later joined Pishevar and served as the interim CEO at the company until 2015 when Hyperloop One brought on ex-Cisco president Rob Lloyd to fill that role on a permanent basis.

But this apparent shake-up is much more sudden and far-reaching. Archived images of the company’s site show that as of June 16, Afshin Pishevar was still the chief legal counsel and Pendergast was also still in his role. Pendergast’s LinkedIn profile had also been updated as of early this week to include he was no longer at the company.

Today, the site had been changed to not only include Giegel’s promotion and former CTO BamBrogan departure — both of whom formerly worked at SpaceX — but also a promotion for Marvin Ammori. Ammori was hired by Afshin Pishevar as the assistant general counsel on June 8. Ammori is now listed as the general counsel.

In an article reporting Ammori’s hiring at Hyperloop, Afshin said the company was still looking to hire more attorneys and that Ammori would be in charge of collaborating with federal and local governments to help come up with regulations for this new type of transportation.

You can contact this reporter with more information at johana@recode.net or on Confide or Telegram at (516) 233-8877.

How Do We Pay For The Infrastructure We Need?

By Bruce Upbin, VP Strategic Communications, Hyperloop One

Sixty years ago this week the U.S. embarked on one of the greatest public works projects since the Roman Empire, the Interstate Highway System. It was a bonanza of productivity for an American economy emerging with brawn from WWII, at one period yielding an annual return of 54 cents for every dollar spent. But in recent years the federal government has fallen behind on its maintenance budget by almost a third (spending $20 billion a year of a needed $33 billion). Congestion is on the rise and roads and bridges are often in disrepair.

The same story is played out across the world. It’s one of the great underreported economic crises of our time and is one you can’t see, but its impact is evident in a dizzying variety of statistics: poverty, poor health outcomes, stunted education gains, global trade waste, job immobility, pollution and inequality.

It’s the infrastructure gap and not only is it huge, it’s widening.

The world spends some $2.5 trillion a year on big capital projects projects: water, power, energy, transportation and telecom. As big as that number seems, it’s not keeping pace with a growing world. According to a June report from McKinsey Global Institute, we should be spending $3.3 trillion a year just to meet expected economic growth out to 2030.

In some parts of the world, the gap can be deadly. About 768 million people worldwide lack access to clean water; 2.5 billion do not have adequate sanitation; 2.8 billion people still cook their food with solid fuels (such as wood); and one billion people live more than two kilometers from an all-weather road. Twenty percent of the world population still has no electricity, per the World Bank.

In the developed world, the infrastructure gap is a check on growth and a pernicious hidden cost of doing business. As James Fallows wrote in the Atlantic last year, “… democratic societies are systematically prone to spend far too little on normal civic infrastructure. Bridges, canals, new schools, new parks — we repeatedly under-imagine their benefits in the long run, and over-emphasize their hassles and costs.”

How do we close an $800 billion annual gap? By tapping new sources of money. In addition to the billions allocated by governments each year to capital projects (a number that is unfortunately shrinking in half of the G20 countries despite all the talk of building beautiful walls) some $120 trillion is currently locked up with banks and institutional funds that haven’t gotten into the game as much as they should. Infrastructure, if done properly, can yield highly attractive returns to long-term investors such as pension and sovereign wealth funds. But private capital has been cut off from potentially game-changing infrastructure projects as a result of obsolete cross-border investment rules, a lack of transparency in project finance and lack of a good pipeline of bankable infrastructure deals.

This doesn’t have to be. McKinsey Global Institute recently published a 45-page report, ‘Bridging Global Infrastructure Gaps,” that lays out some compelling ideas such as enforcing standards on the infrastructure market, creating regulations that provide more certainty for investors, charging users higher fees, capturing property value increases, or selling existing assets and recycling the proceeds for new infrastructure. Public-private partnerships are gaining in popularity as a way to fund new infrastructure, but they account for only 5 to 10 percent of total investment, and are unlikely to be a “silver bullet” to solve the gap.

McKinsey sees an even bigger potential in making infrastructure spending more effective by improving project selection, delivery, and management of existing assets. Even the most advanced economies, they say, have lots of room to learn from each other.

As part of a series we’re running on financing breakthrough new infrastructure, I put a few questions to Jan Mischke, senior fellow at McKinsey Global Institute, and an author of the Bridging Gaps report.

The report mentions “disruptive ideas in the way infrastructure is built” (one example being how China’s Broad Group put up a 30-story tower in 15 days). What other examples are there of building infrastructure faster, better, cheaper?

Research has found the construction sector to be a technological laggard, with low levels of digitization and R&D spending. However, McKinsey’s research has shown that emerging technologies could boost productivity by 25-30%. A new report just released identified five trends disrupting the construction industry: higher-definition surveying and geo-location, next generation 5-D building information management software (including integration of augmented reality devices), digital collaboration and mobility, the IoT and advanced analytics, and “future proof design and construction,” which spans from new building materials, such as self-healing concrete, aerogels, and nanomaterials, to innovative construction approaches, such as 3-D printing and preassembled modules.

Which institutional investors (or which countries) you’ve spoken with have shown the most interest in infrastructure as an asset, as in, which funds are really closing the gap between their current holdings and allocation targets for infrastructure investment?

Our report focused on financing sustainable infrastructure found that private institutional investors could fill up to half the financing gap. In that report, we evaluated 8 groups of institutional investors: banks, investment companies, insurance companies and private pensions, public pensions, sovereign wealth funds, infrastructure operators and developers, infrastructure and PE funds, and endowments/foundations. The investors with the greatest value of infrastructure assets under management (AUM) are as follows: banks ($40.2 trillion in AUM), investment companies ($29 trillion in AUM) and insurance companies and private pensions ($26.5 trillion in AUM). However, this report also found that it is important to note that one of the biggest barriers is not the availability of capital, but rather the lack of a transparent pipeline of bankable projects for investors.

Another report from MGI, “Diminishing Returns,” noted that a continuing environment of low interest rates and low returns could lead life insurers to reexamine their investment strategies, and therefore they could look toward longer-dated and less liquid assets with a higher expected return, such as infrastructure investments, or commercial real estate (particularly given recent reductions in Solvency II risk charges for such investments).

More broadly, McKinsey’s asset management practice research shows that investment flows are increasingly moving away from active investment in equities, and toward passive equities, active or passive fixed income, or to alternatives and multi-asset products. This trend could be exacerbated by low returns. In a low-return era, the proportion of returns given up to management fees in a high-return period becomes less acceptable. To confront this, asset managers may have to rethink their investment offerings. One option would be for them to include more alternative assets such as infrastructure and hedge funds in the portfolios they manage. Such alternative assets already account for about 15 percent of assets under management globally today, and flows into such alternative investments have outpaced flows into more traditional assets by three to six times.

A new class of financing vehicles to get construction projects off the ground are emerging with names like venture fund structures or early concept development units. Can you tick off some examples?

The sustainable infrastructure report referenced above cites the following: The International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) InfraVentures unit helps to develop projects, but also takes equity stakes in them as well, which helps to attract other financing. Funds like InfraCo, a publicly funded, privately managed early-stage financier of projects in developing countries, have succeeded in such challenging markets as Kenya, Uganda, and Zambia.

What’s the state of the art in property value capture, in which the project developer is paid from the increased value of surrounding real estate? Is it a growing trend? Spain went so far as to anchor the notion of property value capture in its constitution.

One of the best-known examples is MTR in Hong Kong, where land value capture funds much of the rail build-up as well as affordable housing programs. The CEO of MTR authored an article for our Global Infrastructure Initiative publication that lends additional insights. Singapore has traditionally bought up private land before redeveloping, thus capturing land value increases. More recently, the cantons of Switzerland are in the process of instituting property value uplift taxes.

Changes in government accounting (specifically capitalizing infrastructure investment over time versus expensing it all at once) could unlock more investment by not blowing such a big hole in federal and state budgets. How much do we know about how to account for social returns and depreciation rates for long-term, broadly used investments such as new transportation?

There is both wide uncertainty and wide divergence between individual projects. For transportation, depreciation rates of 2.5% annually are typical. From top-down econometric analyses, socio-economic returns of about 20% on investment are typical. Bottom-up cost-benefit analyses, that account also for non-GDP impact, are often above 30%. One of the stumbling blocks is that public infrastructure assets often do not have dedicated revenue streams attached to them that could be securitized, and long-term tax uplifts are difficult to measure.

Follow Hyperloop One on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for more updates, videos, photos and news on how we’re delivering the future of transportation.

(Photo credit: Ken Ohyama/Flickr)

Hyperloop May Be A Leap Too Far (Ali Hyperloop 16)

USA Today is sort of a “wanna be” major newspaper. But it is in all US hotels (even Donald Trumps)

Contrary to my usual style, I give time to those who may not always agree with my thoughts.

In a white-board world, hyperloop sounds ideal.

Take a sleek pod, place it in a vacuum-sealed tube and let it float frictionless above its rails using tested magnetic levitation, or maglev, technology at speeds up to 800 mph. Picture a puck effortlessly racing across an air hockey table and you have the idea, one that can already been seen in action on Shanghai’s speedy maglev train.

By erasing the vehicle-clogged arteries of our national highway system and those aging miles of transcontinental railroad track, commute times get slashed and fossil fuel gets saved. What’s not to like?

Yet moving this transportation alternative from sci-fi vision to real-world ubiquity involves financial and logistical roadblocks that call into question its wisdom, according to technology and transportation experts.

The issues raised include hyperloop’s cost (a 350-mile run between Los Angeles and San Francisco has been estimated at $6 billion or more), technological demands (tubes would have to be straight and vacuum-tight to keep speeds high), practicality (short hops would not make sense) and comfort (humans might not go for travel that feels like a roller coaster ride lodged in tunnels).

“I sense a bit of hucksterism right now that’s helping companies raise money,” says Ralph Hollis, a research professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon University who is an expert on maglev tech.

His concerns range from whether endless links of welded tubes can retain the vacuum integral to maintaining high speeds given the inevitable geological shifts in California’s earthquake country, to the physiological impact on passengers of speeds that approach the supersonic.

“A lot of different things have to go right for this to really work, business, legal, technical,” says Hollis. “Demonstrating that it runs isn’t really enough.”

“That it runs” refers to a recent demo in the Nevada desert, where Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One successfully launched its maglev-enabled sled across a 100-yard track. The company plans to build a five-mile enclosed loop by year’s end. More boldly, last week it announced a Russian partnership to explore a new Silk Road route across Asia.

Hyperloop One has taken the lead in this tube race, raising $90 million and boasting investors such as GE Ventures and SNCF, the French national railway company. A rival concern, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, announced in March that its futuristic pods could appear first in Slovakia, where officials are studying a proposal.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle facing hyperloop is the poor reception offered to its slower cousin, high-speed rail.

Consider that for its size, the U.S. has only one such run – Amtrack’s Acela Express line along the Northeast Corridor — while smaller England and France each have an example, the Eurostar and TGV respectively.

In 2008, California voters approved $10 billion in funding for an ambitious San Francisco to Los Angeles bullet train akin to Japan’s Shinkansen, but it has yet to make headway. The $68 billion effort, which uses an alternative to maglev technology, was able to gain some initial traction thanks to billions in federal funding, but has been bogged down in lawsuits from aggrieved communities and by cumbersome land acquisition deals.

“Just getting a maglev train here would be great, but the U.S. is a strange place. Most people consider high-speed rail a boondoggle,” said Jim Mathews, spokesman for the National Association of Railroad Passengers .

Mathews, a former Aviation Week editor, says he’s learned not to bet against Elon Musk, who founded SpaceX and Tesla Motors and drew up the concept of hyperloop in a white paper three years ago.

But he’s not the only one doubting appetite for such projects, especially in the U.S.

John Macomber, senior lecturer on infrastructure and urbanization issues at Harvard University, says he remains unclear “why hyperloop would be more valuable than trains or airplanes. I know speed matters, but maybe not that much,”

Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd is unfazed by suggestions that Hyperloop One is a moonshoot or boondoggle, preferring instead to call it simply ahead of its time. It’s focused on developing a proof of concept that can be licensed to investors with the cash and desire to build hyperloop.

As for the high price: Lloyd notes Hyperloop One is keenly focused on generating profits by overhauling the existing freight transportation system. It even has sketched out a proposal that would see cargo ships unload their containers on floating docks outside Long Beach and into waiting hyperloop pods miles off-shore, thus freeing up lucrative shoreline real estate currently taken up by the city’s sprawling port.

If we suddenly did make this hyper-leap to hyperloop, what would it be like riding in a windowless tube at such blistering speeds?

Carnegie Mellon’s Hollis says that his own experiences aboard Shanghai’s maglev train, which can hit 300 mph, “involves a lot of being jostled around due to the steel rails that expand and contract (with weather), leading to something that can be like a bumpy airplane ride.” He adds that the tubes will have to be arrow straight otherwise deceleration forces generated by curves will be transferred to passengers.

The design of Hyperloop One’s systems are for gradual acceleration. In the first 90 seconds of acceleration and the last 90 seconds of deceleration, a passenger would feel G forces similar to those in a Honda Civic merging onto the highway, says Lloyd.

Hollis says that 1G forces — equivalent to a person’s body weight — are acceptable and what one might experience on a roller coaster. “But not everyone likes roller coasters,” he says.

The Muhammad Ali Hyperlink COULD Go From Jeffersonville to Louisville UNDERWATER (No. 15)

Hyperloop One Plans to Take the Ultrafast Transport System Underwater

By Kelly Tatera on June 24, 2016

It just keeps getting better.

As if the Hyperloop concept itself isn’t impressive enough, Brogan BamBrogan, the co-founder and CTO of Hyperloop One, announced the company’s plans to take the ultrafast transportation system underwater.

For a little background, tech guru Elon Musk pitched the idea of the Hyperloop transportation system back in 2013, and it’s quickly becoming a reality. Basically, the Hyperloop is a supersonic transportation system that will theoretically transport people or cargo in levitating pod-capsules at rates near the speed of sound.

Just last month, Hyperloop One, one of the companies developing the Hyperloop technology, demonstrated its first successful public display of a Hyperloop pod in the Nevada desert. Impressively, the propulsion speeds went from zero to 100 miles per hour (160 kilometers) in just 4 seconds. You can watch a video of the demonstration here.
DON’T MISS: MIT Unveils Their Winning Hyperloop Pod Prototype

Now, as if on-land Hyperloop systems weren’t futuristic enough, Hyperloop One also plans to test out an underwater system.

BamBrogan sat down with Science Friday to discuss the technology, and he claims that the company already has the capability of building an underwater Hyperloop system, but is trying to find a more cost-effective approach.

“The DNA of my time at SpaceX has got its fingerprints all over Hyperloop,” BamBrogan says. “There’s nothing new that has to be invented, but (what) we are doing is innovating and doing things to bring the cost down.”

At this point, BamBrogan says the production costs are still too high, but hopefully these costs will go down as the technology develops. Plus, he says that many people probably don’t even know how much they want the Hyperloop system since it’s new and yet to become available.

“We think we can deliver things people don’t even know they want yet, and that’s going to manifest itself in a lot of ways,” he says. “So I think we will see some above-grade systems, we’re definitely going to see tunneled systems, and we also want to see some underwater systems.”

The Hyperloop One underwater concept can be seen in the image above — exciting things to come.

JUST THINK: Not Another Ohio River RIDGE!!!