His argument: build it around the cities.
According to the centric city model, the city center is at the middle but commuters and the working class tend to live along the outer layers. (Wikipedia Commons)
Berger was among the panelists speaking at the event, and also one of the judges reviewing the 11 proposals the day before. His role was to help the “technology minds” understand the urban planning issues around mobility in the U.S. “The Hyperloop shouldn’t go into the city,” he says. “It should be trying to capture, in a concentric city model, all the peripheral movement.” Most people, he adds, move from one periphery area to another instead of traveling into the city, anyway. In that sense, the system should work for people living in suburban or ex-urban areas, which he says make up some 70 percent of the American population.
The critical mobility issue for that population is that they’re tied to the car, Berger says; these areas often lack mass transit systems that connect with other low density areas. “In a concentric city, there’s a lot more activity moving around, so there’s no need [for the Hyperloop] to go into the center of the city,” he tells CityLab. “Instead, take care of where there is no transportation solution other than ones with heavy carbon footprints and high impact on watersheds and natural habitat.”
Even if there were a high-speed rail system, Berger argues that it doesn’t solve the first- and last-mile problem—that is, people still need to drive a car to and from the station. He imagines that Hyperloop could one day accommodate autonomous vehicles, shooting them right through the tube to the commuter’s destination. That way, passengers won’t have to leave their vehicles until the very end.
Any time there's a Shiny New Transit Technology, people start talking about how it'll work for Teh Suburbs unlike those smelly buses and old-fashioned trains which are just for gross cities. But something like a hyperloop (even assuming it works) is completely unsuited for such purposes. It's so stupid I can't even be bothered to explain why. An extremely expensive super high speed point to point system is precisely what you don't need in lower density areas.
What I REALLY WANT is a cheap magic tube that comes right to my home and takes me anywhere I want to go for practically nothing. And a pony.