Amazing innovations in travel that will ultimately save time and money are afoot. One of the first places that we are likely to see these futurist ideas come to fruition is in the Middle East.
Hyperloop travel was first mentioned by Elon Musk back in 2013 but the reality is only just becoming feasible. Hyperloop One and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies are both setting up test sites in the Californian desert and discussions in the Middle East have begun.
What is Hyperloop?
Imagine a low-pressure tube built between destinations that propels levitated pods for passengers and goods via magnetics that produce their own energy. It is clean (no emissions), safe and less costly than high speed rail and allows travel times that are comparable with flight times.
Door to Door
Once pods arrive at their destination, they are then 'hyperjumped' into a 'portal' before travelling onto the road to drop passengers at their desired destination.
The hyperloop is capable of connecting to all existing forms of transport and it will cost little more than half other forms of transport to build and maintain. It makes every city accessible and ticket costs are expected to be comparative to the price of a bus ticket.
Getting Off the Mark in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi has already agreed to a feasibility study, to be carried out by Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, into a Hyperloop system to connect Abu Dhabi to Al Ain.
“Through this agreement with HyperloopTT, we aim to study the feasibility of developing the first Hyperloop system. We hope to take advantage of this technology, which is one of the latest and most advanced transportation technologies, capable of reaching a top speed of 1,200kph, to connect the cities of Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, resulting in a travel time of about eight to 12 minutes,” said Khalid Mohamed Hashim, acting executive director of the Land Transport Sector at DMAT.
Abu Dhabi see this development as one to encourage connectivity between the two largest cities within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi but also to invigorate economic and social development while encouraging the development of the tourist industry.
And in Dubai
Meanwhile Hyperloop One is in negotiations with Dubai to link to Abu Dhabi and Al Ain by Hyperloop. The 150 km journey could be reduced to 12 minutes and of course reduce congestion on the roads making it a very attractive proposition.
Hyperloop One has signed an agreement with the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority to look into the feasibility of this proposal but it seems there are several 'regulatory' approvals to be sorted before it can go ahead.
Hyperloop One is confident that once the regularity formalities are finalised - hopefully next year, they could begin construction in 2019 and have the hyperloop system in use in 2020/2021.
Additionally, Dubai has already been looking into the feasibility of using a hyperloop transport system to move containers from its Jebel Ali Port to an inland storage depot still to be built.
It seems that it won't be long before the Middle East sees perhaps the first commercial application of the hyperloop and that will mean many opportunities for construction professionals. From specialist engineers to quantity surveyors and project managers, there will be many possibilities.
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Recruitment Director – Asia & Middle East