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Question Your World: What’s the Next Big Transportation Upgrade?

Posted: April 18, 2018

Billions of people get around every single day using all kinds of transportation. To move the most people at once, we still rely on the conventional trains, planes, and automobiles, but all that could change, thanks to new innovations in the transportation technology industry. Every day researchers and scientists are looking for ways to develop new 21st century options for how we move around. A lot of people working in this field are always asking themselves one big question: What's the next big transportation upgrade?

Millions of people get stressed out every day, thanks to long commutes and traffic. There’s got to be a better way, right? Well, yes, there is and it’s possible thanks to science, technology … and Elon Musk. In 2013, Elon Musk announced the Hyperloop concept, which he described as a cross between a Concorde, rail gun, and air hockey table. Those are his exact words, we're not making that up! 

Basically imagine taking a tube and sending a capsule through it using only magnetic levitation, a frictionless and energy efficient way to move humans around! Well, now the Hyperloop team is thrilled to announce they’ve broken ground and are building a prototype test facility in Toulouse, France! The construction happening in France now takes the Hyperloop from a concept to prototype reality, and transportation planners are excited to hear this news. 

The goal here is to revolutionize how people travel, so it can't just be in one place, of course. They’ve also announced that there are agreements in place with nine countries to further research and study the feasibility of implementing this transportation option. Like many other things in life, sometimes you just need one idea to inspire others. Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin company has unveiled a similar tubed track connecting Abu Dhabi to Dubai, with services beginning in 2021. 

This new move towards mass transit upgrades could be a huge update for our daily transportation needs, a quick way to connect us to places that are too far away for daily commutes, and they would give us more time to do things instead of sitting in traffic. Passengers in these Hyperloop pods would zip through the airless magnetic tube at speeds of over 600 miles per hour, which would take you from DC to NYC in under a half hour. Right now it takes nearly 5 hours, and if you factor in beltway traffic - ugh, forget about it. Scientists are looking forward to seeing the results of these initial tests. With years of research behind this concept, scientists feel like this will be a great way to usher in a new era of mass transportation instead of it just being a pipe dream...or a tube dream rather.