Category Archives: transit

A Primer on Hyperloop Travel: How far off is the Future?

By Joanna Simon

Supersonic travel in pods through frictionless tubes may sound like the basis for the next George Lucas creation, but it may be a reality in the near future. Planning for high-speed travel via a Hyperloop system is underway and could drastically reduce travel times between major cities.

Hyperloop One Desert Tube
Hyperloop One Desert Tube

What is Hyperloop?

The Hyperloop is a proposal for high-speed inter-city travel through steel tubes, in pod-like vehicles, for both passengers and cargo. This technology is estimated to reduce travel time from Los Angeles to San Francisco to a mere 35 minutes, a trip that takes even the fastest of drivers 5 hours to complete.

How does it work?

Hyperloop infrastructure consists of steel tubes, either underground in tunnels or elevated, which serve as a mechanism to transport pods. The tubes create a near-vacuum environment and utilize air and friction resistance technologies to transport pods at speeds faster than airplane travel. The technology is energy efficient: it requires relatively low power, and some companies suggest that the entire system can be powered via solar panels (however, some experts are skeptical).

What’s in a travel pod?

            Several versions of passenger travel pods will exist, including a standard coach pod resembling economy airplane seating, a meeting pod with tables and angled chairs and a sleek and comfortable lounge cabin.

Hyperloop Pod Rendering

How will a Hyperloop ride feel?

The idea of riding in a small and windowless capsule may raise concern for some passengers; engineers are working to consider comfort factors. They are also considering how to minimize pod vibration, as even the slightest tectonic movement could cause a jolt that would be felt while traveling at near-sonic speeds.

Where will Hyperloop be built?

Several companies are currently working to perfect the technology and have developed route proposals around the world. Many of these proposals are in development stage and have completion forecasted for 10-20 years from now:

Cities Travel Time by Car Travel Time by Plane Travel Time by Hyperloop Company
LA-San Francisco 5.5 hours 1.5 hours 35 minutes Hyperloop One
Stockholm-Helsinki 12 hours *includes ferry 1 hour 30 minutes Hyperloop One
Paris-Amsterdam 5.5 hours 1.5 hours 30 minutes Delft Hyperloop
Kracow-Gdansk, Poland 6 hours 1.3 hours 35 minutes Hyper Poland
Toronto-Montreal 5.5 hours 1 hour 30 minutes Transpod
Vienna-Budapest 3 hours 45 minutes 20 minutes HTTP


How much will it cost to build?

Hyperloop One, the company spearheading the California project, is privately funded. Their estimates show that the project will cost $5.4 billion and gross $300 million in annual revenue.

How much will it cost to ride?

With route and pod design still underway there have been few estimates to how much a single ticket to ride the Hyperloop will cost. Some design teams claim that it will cost the price of a bus ticket, but few actual figures are currently available.

What challenges exist?

Cost: Concerns are widespread about Hyperloop’s feasibility and success, particularly considering construction and testing costs. Much of this work relies on unproven technology; it is not yet known how much it will cost to bring it to reality.

Safety: Hyperloop travel is arguably safer than other transportation options: the system is enclosed, protected from the elements and controlled by pressure and internal dynamics, making it immune to human error. However, experts are concerned about the availability of oxygen in the chamber should an unexpected event result in a loss of pressure. Additionally, emergency braking and power outage scenarios are currently being tested.

Policy: Hyperloop infrastructure, whether above or below ground, will pass through towns, other cities and will disrupt public and private resources. A feasibility study of land use issues and potential human impact is needed to move forward.

Connectivity: One of the biggest concerns with the Hyperloop system is its’ potential connection to other modes of transportation. A 35-minute trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco could be doubled if the destination is downtown, but the docking stations are 30 minutes outside.

Demand: As driverless cars become more of a reality, they will make highway driving safer and more pleasant. Driverless cars may become more appealing to travelers, as they will provide door-to-door transport, rather than the less convenient and Hyperloop.

 

Information sources:

Hyperloop One

Business Insider

 

 

 

Why we need a LaGuardia AirTrain

In today’s Daily News, NYU Rudin Center Director Mitchell L. Moss makes the case for a 21st-century AirTrain to LaGuardia Airport in his op-ed “Getting from point A to point LGA: Why we need a LaGuardia AirTrain.”

“Improving LaGuardia Airport without transforming the way in which passengers can get to and from the airport makes no sense. With the proposed AirTrain, we will finally have an airport commensurate with New York.”

Read the full piece here.

Event: 2017 Outlook for the Intercity Bus Industry in the U.S.

Join us for the study release of the 2017 Outlook for Intercity Bus Travel in the United States, a new study by the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University. This program is hosted in partnership with The Chaddick Institute and with support from the New York chapter of the Transportation Research Forum.

Learn how the country’s travel landscape is likely to change in 2017 due to intercity bus expansion and hear about notable highlights of the past calendar year. In addition to commentary by DePaul professor Joe Schwieterman and Brian Antolin, this event will feature other prominent experts on bus travel and offer perspectives on the debate over the Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT) in New York. The technical tour will begin at the PABT one hour after the program ends.

January 13, 2017

Register here: https://intercitybusoutlook.eventbrite.com/

STUDY RELEASE:
Rudin Center for Transportation at New York University | 295 Lafayette Street
12:00-1:30pm: Join the study team and event hosts for a buffet lunch (for purchase) followed by the official study release event. Speakers include Mitchell L. Moss, Director of the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation, and Joe Schwieterman, Director of the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development.

This event is free, with lunch available for purchase.

TECHNICAL TOUR:
Port Authority Bus Terminal | 625 8th Ave
2:30-4:00pm: Following the Study Release event, an immersive tour led by Brian Antolin (industry expert and CEO of CoTo Travel), Joe Schwieterman (DePaul University), and Nicholas Klein (Columbia University) will highlight innovations and exciting advancements in bus travel. The tour will begin at the Port Authority Bus Terminal and will focus on key features of the PABT, the Megabus pickup locations near the Javits Convention Center (34th St. b/t 11th & 12th Avenues), and notable specialty lines operating out of Midtown Manhattan. Space is limited.

Register here: https://intercitybusoutlook.eventbrite.com/

Event: Cities, Data, And Mobility: The NYC Experience

Date: 11/15/2016
Time: 8:45am – 10:00am
Location: The Puck Building, The Rudin Family Forum for Civic Dialogue, 2nd Fl., 295 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012-9604
RSVPhttps://wagner.nyu.edu/events/rudin-11-15-2016

The  growth of NYC’s for-hire vehicle market means that the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission is gathering unprecedented amounts of trip data, yielding  a far more comprehensive view of how New Yorkers travel. The TLC uses this data to enforce consumer protections and safety requirements and to gain insight into emerging transportation models, accessibility and driver income. How can the public and private sectors use this data to inform policymaking?

Join us for a lively discussion.

Opening remarks: Meera Joshi, Commissioner and Chair, New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission

Panelists:
Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President
Cordell Schachter, Chief Technology Officer, New York City Department of Transportation
Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer, City of New York
Anthony Townsend, Founder, Bits and Atoms

Moderated by Mitchell L. Moss, Director, NYU Rudin Center

RSVP here.

Photo: Michael Greenberg

Map of the Month: Transpo on the Ballot

To gear up for Election Day, the NYU Rudin Center looked at transportation ballot measures throughout the United States. We created this handy map to help you explore initiatives across the nation (click on highlighted areas for details). Below the map: our first in a series of Ballot Highlights featuring the Kansas City Streetcar Initiative.

Ballot Highlight: Kansas City Streetcar
This November, voters in Kansas City will decide whether to approve an increase in sales taxes to support the expansion, maintenance and operation of a citywide light rail transit system. Currently, the Kansas City Streetcar’s Operating Budget is supported by a sales tax, a special assessment on real estate and a supplemental assessment on surface pay parking lots within the Downtown Streetcar Transportation Development District.

View the measure in a sample ballot courtesy of the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners here (p11): https://www.kceb.org/useruploads/11816Pres/Sample_Ballot_Web.F.11-8-16.pdf

More about the streetcar:

 

Additional resources:
Center for Transportation Excellence – http://www.cfte.org/elections

Reimagining Southwest Brooklyn

The NYU Rudin Center for Transportation hosted Reimagining Southwest Brooklyn last week. Chris Ward of global engineering firm AECOM presented a redevelopment plan that would add thousands of residential units to the Brooklyn waterfront and a subway connection to lower Manhattan.

Read the Southwest Brooklyn study here.

L Train Closure: CityLab Coverage

The NYU Rudin Center’s report “L Train Closure and Mitigation,” was covered in CityLab last week.

“MTA and city leaders had better get a game plan in place, according to the report’s authors. They suggest some obvious steps, such as bolstering subway service on other lines, ramping up the frequency of ferry connections, and adding high-speed bus service over the Williamsburg Bridge during peak hours. Increasing car-share options and creating partnerships with the likes of Uber and Lyft should also be on the table.

And, as the authors point out, the L train closure might also be an opportunity to pursue some outside-the-box transit improvements, like a scooter share system modeled after San Francisco’s and even a high-speed gondola.”

Read the full article here.

L Train Closure and Mitigation

The L train tunnel between Manhattan and Brooklyn will close fully to trains for 18 months in 2019 to repair extensive damage from Superstorm Sandy.  The L has become synonymous with the Brooklyn brand; ridership at Brooklyn’s Bedford Avenue station has increased more than thirty percent since 2010.

The NYU Rudin Center addresses the effects of this closure in our newest report, “L Train Closure and Mitigation,” written by Mitchell L. Moss, Sarah M. Kaufman, Jorge Hernandez and Sam Levy.

This report analyzes how the L train’s surrounding Brooklyn communities will absorb the economic impact of this tunnel closure: jobs, commutes dining and nightlife will be affected, and recommends mitigation measures.

Download the report [pdf]

Read the Wall Street Journal coverage.

Job Access report featured in NY Times

The NYU Rudin Center’s report, “Mobility, Economic Opportunity and New York City Neighborhoods” was featured in The New York Times this week. The article applied lessons learned from New Yorkers living in transit deserts to those dreading the L train’s impending closure.

Sarah M. Kaufman, NYU Rudin Center assistant director, commented in the article: “‘It is a perpetuating cycle because rents are closely correlated to transit access’ … adding that people with long commutes often face hardships like higher child care costs because they get home later.”

Talking Traffic on Popular Mechanics

NYU Rudin Center Assistant Director Sarah Kaufman spoke with Popular Mechanics on Facebook Live yesterday. The conversation covered gridlock, bikes and driverless cars while sitting in traffic. Check out the video here: