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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 13 2013: First, it would be very convenient, since at those speeds there will probably be no survivors from an accident, so legal costs would be lower. Dead people cost less than injured people. Second, not one penny of tax money should be used for it, since it will probably just be another luxury indulged in by the privileged (if you make $50,000+ in the USA, you are among the privileged, whether you want to admit it or not).
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      Aug 13 2013: Have you read the plan?

      You can read the whole thing here: (PDF warning)


      Safety is discussed pretty well.

      Cost is $20, So let's say that whoever gets it done wants to make a better profit, $50 is still much better than driving, flying or rail.

      so, minimum round trip of $40 to $100
      a. compare with average one-way ticket price of $105 one-way by the proposed rail system so round trip $210
      a. Compare with $158 round trip by air for September 2013
      b. Compare with $115 round trip by road ($4/gallon with 30 mpg vehicle)
      • Aug 13 2013: It is better than that. If you can get from LA to SF in 30 minutes then you can also come back the same day. Since you don't need to spend the night or pay for a motel you save another $100. If the roundtrip air ticket is $158 are you doing it all in one day? If not you have to add in the motel. Also, are you taking a taxi to and from the airport or are you paying for parking? Either way another $40.
      • Aug 14 2013: how much for the parking or cab fair to the station and how much for the cab fair from the station to where you actually need to be and back again?
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          Aug 14 2013: Bikeshare!

          Those obstacles are there with planes and trains as well, so in comparison the only option that resolves that is cars, which of course also means sharing the road with reckless human drivers, sacrificing speed, rush hour traffic, and, like Stuart mentions above, the overnight stay if you've got more than just a few hours' work.

          Actually, Elon has proposed two options, one of which is able to transport cars as well, so if you need to do a lot of driving at your destination, that's possible too.

          I would advocate that more flexible option as it allows for more cargo as well.
        • Aug 14 2013: The big advantage in taking the train over the airplane is that the train station is much more convenient than the airport. This is because airplanes need runways and all they entail. This system that Elon musk is talking about doesn't need a runway and should be able to link to a mass transit system easily. Therefore in NYC just take the subway (no taxi, no parking, and not a lot of bags). This would also be true of Washington D.C. and Boston. So, if he set up a tube from NYC to Boston, or NYC to Washington DC it would be much more convenient than an airplane.

          Initially they will probably be linking cities like this, around 200 miles apart with a high volume of traffic. I would also expect the tube to link to mass transit, either a major train station or bus station.
      • Aug 14 2013: $20? Sorry, but there have been many days when I could not afford that, and I've always been employed. It will be a toy of the elite, another way to separate out and exclude the underclass.
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          Aug 15 2013: A large proportion of the world can't afford $20 one way, yet it is the cheapest fast mass transit proposed. The plan's only just been proposed and does include features that may not be necessary like personal TV screens. I say we take the proposal and suggest changes to make it viable for more people.

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