Jan Willem Dik (senior project manager BEACON) on transportation innovation and the hype surrounding it.
It is with interest that I follow the developments of the Hyperloop, the project for which Elon Musk launched a competition in 2015 that was won by Delft Hyperloop in 2017. A transport system that uses a vacuum-drawn air tube, similar to tube mail, in which people and goods can be transported at a speed of 1,200 km p/h. A Hyperloop ride from Amsterdam to Paris takes half an hour, requires little energy and produces hardly any emissions.
I love moonshot projects like this. Really a cool way to look at the mobility issue. The potential impact is huge and could change the world. But if ten percent succeed, it’s also already a big win for the environment.
What does strike me is that many organizations seem to be jumping on this train to fit in. Investing in the Hyperloop is good for PR. It is a kind of hype, successes are magnified to bring in sponsorship money. You also saw this mechanism with the Ocean Cleanup, who now that they are a bit further along, have to deal with all kinds of bicycles. I think it is better to look at this in a down-to-earth way and communicate clearly, also to the media. Tell them you have a great idea, with great advantages and also disadvantages. Communicate with everyone involved and show how you plan to solve the problems. I think it is important to communicate honestly and nuanced about a project.
Thus, there will be a significant impact on above-ground infrastructure. As with wind turbines, no one wants them in their backyard. We will only see what a project ultimately yields in a number of years. And that also depends on who you ask. During the process, it is important to communicate proactively about the risks. In the projects we do with BEACON, we always give a summary of the progress at set times. This always includes the risks, of course. In collaboration with specialists, we identify all risks. We assess each one carefully and take deliberate action.
I really hope the Hyperloop developers will make their promising project a reality, even if it only leads to one percent nitrogen reduction.
Check Delft HyperloopBack to overview