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Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2018 / February 

Hyperloop system in the D.C. region would help solve urban transportation needs, says expert

Virginia Tech's Hyperloop team with the pod they built for the competition at SpaceX

Virginia Tech's Hyperloop team
Virginia Tech's Hyperloop team with the pod they built for the competition at SpaceX

Building a high-speed Hyperloop transportation system in Washington, D.C. will benefit freight transport, reduce damage to road infrastructure and solve other problems that we didn’t think were solvable, says a Virginia Tech expert.

“A huge impact that is often overlooked is the transport of freight via Hyperloop. Costs compared to traditional rail, air, and over-the-road travel are dramatic,” says David Goldsmith who advises students of the Virginia Tech Hyperloop team.

Quoting Goldsmith

“Hyperloop’s ‘killer application’ will be inter-metro travel rather than intra-metro travel. Going from D.C. to New York City in 30 minutes is a huge deal and being able to do it potentially in your own vehicle without leaving it is a game changer.”

“The ability to send freight quickly via Hyperloop means fewer trucks on the road, and removing large trucks from the roads means safer conditions for drivers and a dramatic reduction in the cost of surface infrastructure expenses.”

“Large trucks often degrade and damage road infrastructure while personal vehicles have virtually no impact on the maintenance needs of surface roads; its trucks that cause the wear that constitutes the majority of the cost of maintaining those roads.”

Goldsmith says that establishing Hyperloop transit options would also help attract high-tech companies to urban areas like Washington, D.C. “It’s a force-multiplier that will help attract high-tech companies, like Amazon, to the region. Having a Hyperloop program in the Northeast Corridor could mean a reduction in time, safety-concerns, and costs on the order of thousands of percent over current practice.”

“The Northeast Corridor is essentially one large metro area. The introduction of nearly instantaneous travel between any points along it would cement it as the world’s largest metro area.”

About Goldsmith

David Goldsmith is an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Myers-Lawson School of Construction at Virginia Tech. His professional background is in evaluating geotechnical factors in structural failures, institutional construction project management, and autonomous systems. His research and teaching focuses on environmental ethics in the built environment and cyber-physical systems in construction technology. He has also advised many projects on the engineering, manufacturing, and prototyping of composite materials. More here.

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