Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk made headlines this week when he tweeted that he’d received verbal government approval to build an underground Hyperloop between New York and Washington D.C., with stops in Philadelphia and Baltimore.

Professor Rick Geddes is the founding director of the Cornell Program in Infrastructure Policy at Cornell University. Geddes also serves on the board of directors for the Hyperloop Advanced Research Partnership (HARP) and is affiliated with the Cornell Center for Transportation, Environment and Community Health (CTECH). Geddes explains how this new form of transportation would work, and why it has several advantages over existing transit options. 



Geddes says:

“The speed, reliability, and flexibility of Hyperloop technology is likely to transform the transportation sector as we know it. It has advantages over existing travel modes because of its speed, safety, and energy efficiency.

“The Hyperloop is a new mode of transport that uses tubes that are evacuated of air to move people and resources between cities in minutes. The tubes are a near-vacuum, and vehicles or ‘pods’ inside the tubes can move people or goods using magnetic-levitation technology. 

“The pods are powered by electricity. The lack of air resistance allows the pods to move through the tubes at very high speed while using little energy, but very safely.

“The diameter of the tubes can vary. They can be the size of a small car or of a shipping container. The Hyperloop is versatile, in the sense that the tubes can be placed at or slightly above ground level, or even below the ground.”