Hyperloop One Set To Enter UAE: An Interview With Leslie Horwitz
Hyperloop One inked an agreement with the Roads and Transport Authority to explore using Hyperloop One technology in Dubai.
The Gulf Traffic team interviewed Leslie Horwitz, Strategic Communications Manager for Hyperloop One to understand the progress of their vision to connect Dubai to the greater United Arab Emirates.
How is the vision of HL1 progressing in the UAE?
In partnership with the RTA in Dubai, we completed a feasibility study earlier in the year, and the results are encouraging. The study looked at how to use a Hyperloop system to meet Dubai’s transportation needs, enhance value to the country and city’s citizens, as well as unlock wider economic development and enable Dubai to become a hub for the development of next generation transportation and technology solutions. We are currently exploring next steps with the RTA, which includes building a full pod mock up in Dubai using local contractors and expertise that we plan to unveil in the near term.
What challenges have you faced when trying to implement such an advanced mode of transport, and how did you overcome them?
Hyperloop is an entirely new mode of transportation, so no one existing transportation regulatory and certification method applies directly to Hyperloop One. This was one of our biggest challenges, but also a great opportunity. Working with RTA we jointly devised a preliminary certification plan and roadmap to enable the Hyperloop One system to go from its current concept design, which includes a full-system test track in Nevada, to full commercial implementation in the UAE.
How do you plan to seamlessly integrate the HL1 transport system to the UAE's current transport system?
Integration with current modes of transport was a key focus area for the feasibility study we completed in partnership with the RTA. Both Hyperloop One and RTA wanted to devise a solution that was complementary to the UAE’s existing and planned transportation investments. We assessed ridership scenarios that fully incorporated bus feeder systems, real estate development plans, car parks/urban design integration, and interconnections with metro lines such as the red and green line.
How many passengers do you think the HL1 system will be able to shuttle on any given day, and for people who are currently commuting do you see the HL1 system mitigating the need for having a car?
We are designing the system so that, at a minimum, it will meet the capacity and throughput of high speed rail systems. Based on our phase one feasibility study with the RTA we think this will meet ridership projections. In line with the study, we do foresee some migration from cars to the Hyperloop system as a way to ease congestion on main roadways and reduce accident and carbon emissions in the UAE.
How much would a one-way trip cost someone travelling in a HL1 capsule?
Similar to a metro ticket.
A key goal of the RTA and Hyperloop One is to ensure that the Hyperloop One system is accessible to all citizens and residents in the UAE. We analyzed fares at a variety of price points to assess the impact on ridership and found the most optimal point was a price near that of a multi-zone premium metro ride. We found that this price served a dual purpose of meeting project economic objectives and making the system economically available to as many people as possible.