Everybody knows about Hyperloop (if you don’t, check the “hyper”link). Dirk Ahlborn, CEO of Hyperloop, and Bipop G. Gresta, vice CEO and COO, are doing an amazing work developing one the biggest vision, in my opinion, of these years.
But, there is always a “but”, is Hyperloop what we really need?
If you ask me to reply with a short answer I would reply saying YES. The idea is totally ethic and, most importantly, it is against greenhouses emissions. About emissions and pollution I want to put my focus on.
“Air pollution is the fourth-highest risk factor for death, globally, and by far the leading environmental risk factor for disease”
Michael Brauer, a professor at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health, said recently in a press release.
“Reducing air pollution is an incredibly efficient way to improve the health of a population.”
So, how could we reduce the emissions to improve population’s health? Before I reply, I want to show you what’s happening in the USA:
There are about 250 million cars with an average fill up every 10 days
250M/10 = 25M fill ups every day with an average of 13 gallons each = 325M gallons every day
$2.5 each gallon * 325M = $813M per day (about)
$813M * 7 days = $ 5.7B per week (about)
$ 5B is how US government spend on ENERGY RESEARCH every year!!
Do we really need all these cars? Probably we don’t. Also because it is estimated that a third of city traffic is caused by driver circulating looking for a space which means POLLUTION, a lot of pullution.
“Most people in transportation focus on the five percent of the time that cars are moving. But the average car is parked 95 percent of the time. I think there’s a lot to learn from that 95 percent.”
Donald Shoup when asked why he studies parking.
We need to change radically our transport system, especially in big cities in which levels of smog are unacceptable. Is Hyperloop the solution? For long distances mainly. In my opinion, first of all we should solve car problem. How? Integrating artificial intelligence and car sharing. As we saw we use our car just 5% of the time. What about the other 95%? Basically cars are parked. Imagine to call a self-driven car (an electric one?) from your mobile phone, or from what will surpass mobile phones. The car will arrive in front of your door and bring you whenever you scheduled before. More people who request than the amount of cars? Sharing is the solution: the system will plan the routes efficiently considering the segments. Do you think it is a big conversion? Imagine to stop all US cars for a whole week, saving about $ 6B dollars in a piggy bank.. is one week too much? Let’s try with 1 day (saving more o less $ 800-900 M). What could we do with this amount of money?
Hyperloop is the hero our society deserves, but changing radically our transport system is what it needs right now.