Entire neighborhoods in San Francisco would have to be trashed and rebuilt if the Hyperloop — Elon Musk’s proposed high-speed tube-train along the California coast — is to fulfil its promise of transporting people at an average speed of 600 mph, according to calculations published on the MathWorks blog.
The Hyperloop would move people in cars sealed inside a tube of moving air at speeds up to 760 mph. The idea is to travel between San Francisco and Los Angeles at an average speed of 600 mph. The problem is the corners: A vehicle moving that fast around corners would subject passengers to G-forces in excess of 0.5g, worse than a race car accelerating to 60 mph in 6 seconds. Above 0.5g, humans start to get sick and throw up on each other.
And it’s a very small capsule for so much vomit:
The intended route for the Hyperloop would follow the I-580 freeway, sitting on concrete pillars above it for most of the way. Matt Brauer published some fascinating calculations that suggest there are too many sharp turns on that route to accommodate the Hyperloop‘s proposed speed:
From the perspective of geographic constraints and rider comfort, the 760 mph peak speed is not an issue. It’s the 300 mph section through the suburbs of San Francisco that requires closer consideration.
In order to limit lateral accelerations experienced by the passengers to 0.5g, there needs to be “minor deviations when the highway makes a sharp turn”.
As you can see from the above map he created, those “minor deviations” cut right through some dense neighborhoods.
That’s not to say the Hyperloop shouldn’t be built. But it would mean a lot of angry homeowners and a bunch of litigation before the first shovel hits the dirt.