Thursday, August 30, 2018

"Daily Commuting"

This piece is about how a Russian Sovereign Wealth fund is investing lots of money in Elon's dream, but for my own personal interests this paragraph jumped out at me.

The Hyperloop transportation system, as Musk designed it, is supposed to make daily commuting easier—an alternative to a high-speed rail that had been proposed in California. The plan? A scene out of The Jetsons: Put people in pods and use compressed air to shoot them through a tube at supersonic speed so they can make their morning meetings. Musk envisioned people commuting from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes. “Is there truly a new mode of transport—a fifth mode after planes, trains, cars and boats?” Musk asked in a 57-page white paper describing the notion.

Look even if this thing works as envisioned, and is built, and manages to cover its costs, it will still not be good for daily commuting. The "last mile" problem is often overstated because a mile isn't very far, but a "hyperloop station," wherever it is, is more like an airport, in that there's going to be precisely one of them. It isn't a network, it's a line. Also it's going to be like an airport in that it will inevitably have airport like, or close to it, security. Sure if the stop is in the basement of my building I could use it to commute from LA to San Francisco, if the other stop was, you know, in the basement of my office, but otherwise...

I mean by this logic I can "commute" from Philadelphia to Boston because those flights are about 50 minutes (if all goes well), but I gotta get to and from the airports, so, uh, no.