We, as a community, need to keep a watchful eye on the proposal to drive a third track through Ashland. Although immediate actions have been shelved for now we need to keep our guard up. The issue has not gone away.
From the beginning of the controversy I felt that there should be a technical solution to the problems that were raised. Is there a way of expanding our transportation network (as distinct from merely the railway network) without causing so much disruption?
I think that the answer to this question is “Yes”.
In fact, there are two answers. The first is to introduce new forms of high speed transportation. After all, if there is one industry that is in turmoil right now, it is transportation (think drones, autonomous vehicles, electric cars, Uber). The second answer to move into the third dimension, i.e., to go underground.
In this post, let’s take a look at a response to the first question: new technology.
Here are the requirements for a new form of long distance transportation:
- Speeds at least equal to that of airplanes;
- Radically reduced impact on the climate as compared to conventional trains, trucks and airplanes;
- The highest levels of energy efficiency; and
- The highest levels of safety.
So, is there a form of transportation that meets these requirements? I think that the answer is, “Yes”. And its name is “hyperloop”.
In future posts I will describe the basics of hyperloop: what it is and how it works. For now, I would like to introduce an organization called HARP and to provide a plug for the organization’s upcoming conference.
The initials HARP stand for “Hyperloop Advanced Research Partnership”. HARP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Its mission is,
To promote the collaboration, research, funding, and knowledge sharing necessary for the development of high-speed tube transportation networks and standards around the world.
HARP organizes an annual conference. (Last year’s was at the University of California — here is what I wrote about that successful event).
This year we are meeting at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado — July 8-9th. (I will be leading a session to do with ‘Safety and Security’.) Please spread the word about HARP and what promises to be an interesting and useful meeting.