We’ve seen a lot of technical exploration around how a hyperloop system might one-day fling humans and goods across the Earth at the speed of sound inside low-vacuum tubes but not much about the structural elements that would hold everything in place. That’s why startup HyperloopTT has teamed up with MAD Architects to imagine what this kind of infrastructure could look like.
What they came up with is, frankly, quite beautiful. Ever since the idea of the hyperloop was unveiled in 2013, using renewables as a power source has been the name of the game—with the vision being that solar panels would line the hyperloop’s tracks. But for busier areas and metropolitan areas, MAD Architects envision green walkways for pedestrians instead of solar arrays. On top of the hyperloop tubes, the architects imagine spaces that are suitable for urban farming purposes. The idea is that urban farms would be entirely self-sustainable, helped in part by LEDs that line the tube above and provide a continuous source of light.
While these kinds of concepts are certainly an interesting look at what a hyperloop system might look like, the technology is still some years away, so they are better viewed as thought experiments, rather than realistic interpretations of the future of transport. As for how many years away exactly, HyperloopTT has suggested it could welcome its first passengers aboard as soon as 2022. Last year it opened a dedicated test facility in France and unveiled its first full-scale passenger pod, Quintero One. It now says it is in the process of integrating the capsule for the first trials carrying people in 2020.