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Robert Winner

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Elon Musk's proposed Hyperloop

Elon Musk is proposing a hyperloop for boats, planes, automobiles, and trains. He states he can deliver a system of train transport from LA to SF in 30 minutes (343 miles) at 685 MPH. He claims this can be done for 6 billion or one tenth of the proposed cost of the high speed rail being considered.

Is this possible .... would you ride this? He says facts will be made available in August 2013.

What do you think of this proposal? Should he be considered for a TED Talk? Would you watch it?

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  • Aug 14 2013: i love it and i also hate it because it'll suffer from the same flaws current transport systems do: they don't run from where you are or to where you need to be. i live in japan right near the shinkansen (bullet train) line, and the whole trip always takes more than double whatever the time on the shinkansen is. last time i took it i went to kyoto - 15 minutes to the station, 10 minutes on the local train to get to the shinkansen station, 10 minute wait for the next shinkansen, 1 hour on it, 10 minute walk and wait to catch the connecting local train, then 15 minute walk from the local station to my event, and it was in the middle of summer. i would've driven if the tickets hadn't already been bought for us all. we can't say "LA to SF" anymore because they aren't single locations. where in LA to where in SF?

    we don't need another single line, however fast it goes, until we have an improved transport network. we don't live either near the station or out on a farm like we did last century, so we have to stop thinking the hub and spoke model is adequate.
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      Aug 14 2013: I agree that we need a better transport network. I read somewhere that for local trains, living more than 1/2 kilometer away diminishes the usage by 90%. So having local trains every 1 km would be ideal, and.... what a surprise the .ideal block size is also 1/2 km...

      As far as which has to come first, I'll take whichever gets through the bureaucracy and done first.
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      Aug 15 2013: What we could use within any moderately urbanized area is Personal Rapid Transit (PRT).

      PRT generally consists of 4-passenger pods which run along a guideway above, at, or below grade (ground level). Each pod would be air conditioned, feature access to the Internet, and have fold-up seats to accommodate wheelchairs, bikes, or luggage. Furthermore, the pods would operate in one direction on the guideway to help ensure no chance of collision.

      The guideway would be set up as a grid, with off-line stations about one-quarter mile apart in any direction. In addition, the guideway itself could also be set up as a utility corridor to enclose communications and power conduits. Also, depending on the climate of the locale, solar panels mounted on the stations and guideways could supply at least some of the power to run the system.

      The pods would carry passengers from origin to destination without stopping. Also, passengers would not have to wait (long) for a pod - if at all - as pods could be on standby at the station. In response to large events, pods could be pre-directed to a group of stations to anticipate a sizable crowd. Finally, some pods could be designated to transport freight or supplies.

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