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New Proposal Puts Hyperloop System in Its Historical Place

Since its introduction, the Hyperloop has been considered closer to science fiction. But a new plan from UCLA shows how the system could actually come together.

by Brian Reynolds, Houston Chronicle / June 15, 2015
Hyperloop Technologies Inc.

(TNS) — Not content with simply sending men to Mars and conquering the automotive industry, billionaire Elon Musk has plans for a tubular transportation system that would dominate the globe.

The Hyperloop has been considered closer to science fiction since the idea's introduction, but a new plan from the UCLA Architecture and Urban Design Suprastudio shows how the system could actually come together.

According to the UCLA presentation, "Hyperloop is a unique transportation technology based on centuries-old pneumatic tube principles, promising to provide ultra-clean, ultra safe, affordable, intra-urban travel at super-high speed."

And while much of the report is centered on Southern California, particularly a Los Angeles to Las Vegas route, Texas' megaregions feature heavily in the eventual Hyperloop plans.

Texas contains two of these "dense and interconnected centers of populations and economic activity."

The Gulf Coast region centers on Houston, stretching from the Mexico border to Mobile, Ala. Combining the Bayou City with New Orleans, and other energy focused population centers along the coast covers 6.6 million people. The Texas Triangle, which encompasses everything inside the Houston, San Antonio, Dallas-Fort Worth areas would cover 20.3 million people, according to the UCLA report.

These areas are currently connected with Interstates 10, 35 and 45, and a proposed high-speed rail system would provide smoother connections between Houston and Dallas. However, the Hyperloop, as it's proposed, would be much faster. The Hyperloops would travel at more than 500 miles per hour, on par with the speed of commercial airliners, more than twice as fast as high-speed rail and more than six times the speed of the most lead-footed drivers. It could also hold hundreds more passengers than planes.

The report, which can be read in full here, put the Hyperloop system in its historical place and takes into consideration the current successes and failures of are and rail travel.

See some of the most interesting slides from the presentation above.

©2015 the Houston Chronicle, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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