Connecting the Metropolis of The Netherlands with the hyperloop

“Heading to the French city of love for lunch, before being home on time to tuck into mother’s traditional home fare.”

It’s one of today’s most popular innovations, as well as being a firm favourite in discussions about the future. The hyperloop has been making a lot of noise, perhaps due to the involvement of well-respected visionaries such as Elon Musk and Richard Branson, but primarily because when distance no longer plays a role of any importance, an endless series of new opportunities lies in wait.

A quick lunch in Paris…

In the Netherlands, the romantic idea of a super-fast connection between Amsterdam and Paris is one that has stuck. Heading to the French city of love for lunch, before being home on time to tuck into mother’s traditional home fare. This might be a highly appealing idea, but it probably doesn’t represent the actual opportunities offered by the hyperloop all that accurately.

… or travelling from Amsterdam to Maastricht, Groningen or Enschede at 500km/h

The speed of the hyperloop is what most people deem to be its key added value. With a top speed of more than 1000km/h, which is considerably faster than planes, that’s an obvious conclusion. The next step is to start looking for situations in which this maximum speed can be reached. It would require considerable distance to do so, which makes a connection between Amsterdam and Paris a feasible assumption. That, however, is a crying shame, because it means missing out on what is perhaps the key added value of this revolutionary new means of transport. The actual difference between the hyperloop and its equivalents lies in its scalability: the hyperloop will work just as well between Amsterdam and Maastricht or between The Hague and Brussels.

It’s similar to a traditional highway, which is connected to regional roads by means of ramps and exits. The hyperloop will also be comprised of a high-speed network and regional networks, which will connect urban areas and important hubs (such as ports and airports) to the high-speed network. When we look at user needs, network capacity and energy consumption, for example, it appears that a regional network is, in many cases, a lot more effective when it doesn’t reach top speed at all times.

This approach will make the hyperloop suitable for a much wider range of applications, and once it has shed its one-sided image, we can start focussing on the product’s actual economic added value. Imagine how it would let us connect our cities beyond the Randstad, from north to south and west to east. You’d be able to live and work wherever you want in the Netherlands, without worrying about municipal, provincial or maybe even national borders. The hyperloop would give us access to a single area to live and work with over 30 million inhabitants, connected by an extremely reliable, safe and sustainable network.

The hyperloop seamlessly fits into the vision of the Metropolis of the Netherlands, or: TristateCity, an initiative of BV Nederland, developed by Peter Savelberg and supported by VNO-NCW and a number of institutional investors.

Copyright TristateCity

With the TristateCity model, they position the Netherlands, combined with Flanders and Rhein-Ruhr, as the largest green Megacity in the top 10 of the world’s largest urban networks. Whereas the Netherlands is often considered one of the world’s most densely populated countries, the initiators of TristateCity prefer seeing it as the least densely populated megacity in the world. This area (stretching from Amsterdam-Brussels to Cologne) isn’t just home to 30 million people, but also accommodates more than 150 billion euros worth of internal trading every year. Generally speaking, Dutch cities are far too small to compete with emerging world cities in Asia, for example. In the decades to come, the global population and economy are both set to concentrate into approximately 60–100 large urban areas with 15–30 million inhabitants. Amsterdam, or even the Randstad, simply isn’t in a position to compete. Only the Netherlands as a whole, or preferably the Netherlands along with its neighbours, can participate in this Titanic battle.

“The future lies in the hands of innovative minds who are capable of combining creativity with digital technologies”.

We are in the fortunate position that our knowledge landscape is of grate value and that our Triple-Helix approach (the cooperation between educational institutes, the government, and businesses) is still unique. There are, however, insufficient rapid connections between our so-called knowledge-interaction centres. You’ll need about 2.5 hours to get to Twente University of Technology from Delft, and travelling between the medical faculties of Groningen and Maastricht will take even longer. Ensuring better connections between our knowledge centres, in all possible ways, will let us enhance our ability to safeguard our knowledge landscape in the future, as well as making our country a more appealing destination for foreign investors and knowledge workers.

The future lies in the hands of innovative minds who are capable of combining creativity with digital technologies. These people can be found all over the country and they will have to be able to meet a lot quicker and more often in the future. Besides digital meetings, face-to-faces are of crucial importance for our capacity to innovate. Nationally speaking, we are not a well-integrated innovation system yet, but that’s where the hyperloop can be of help.

In a broader context, we can see that, for the Dutch, 80% of all movements take place in their own, regional ‘daily urban system’ (such as Twente, Brainport, South Limburg). In the future, people will have multiple jobs at once and work for several clients (the time of working a single job until we could retire with a healthy pension is a long way behind us). That means that, in the long term, many more people will start to travel and that the distances will only get longer. You might work in Breda today, head to Enschede tomorrow and be based in Amsterdam next week… Life will be different: the roads are already full, even more asphalt hardly seems like a solution, and scheduling more trains to use the same tracks will hardly lead to shorter travel times.

Is hyperloop the solution?

The hyperloop, backed by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk in a paper published in 2013, is being developed by various companies around the world. Worldwide, hyperloop development is a field subject to considerable investing. In Europe, the Dutch business Hardt hyperloop is working with various partners on developing the hyperloop. The hyperloop is the transport system of the future, which can be scaled to routes long and short and will get its users from A to B at lighting speed, with the same ease as travelling with a subway, while being completely emission-free, safe and accessible to everyone. With this new system, you’ll be able to travel to your preferred destination on-demand, without requiring any transfers.

Bio Peter Savelberg

Peter Savelberg studied architecture at Eindhoven University of Technology and obtained his Masters of Real Estate at the University of Amsterdam. He occupied several management and board positions at KPN and TNT-Post Group over a period of 10 years and has been an independent entrepreneur since 2000.

Having travelled the world for inspiration, he first shared his Vision for the future of the Netherlandswith a select group of critical friends in 2013. In the years that followed, Tilburg professor of economics Dirk Brounen invited him to give several talks and he has since become a popular speaker/chairman, as well as becoming a guest lecturer at the universities of Tilburg (TIAS Business School) and Amsterdam (UvA/ASRE). Peter organises innovation workshopsunder the moniker ‘Urban Game Changers’ in collaboration with Provada and Rabobank.

In his TristateCity Marketing Model he presents the Netherlands as a large, green World City capable of competing with 60 other Urban Power Centres in The Battle of the Cities. TristateCity is now supported by VNO-NCW, the IVBN (an umbrella organisation of institutional investors) and a number of corporate sponsors, and the Dutch government, along with several cities and provinces, has recently also registered their interest. TristateCity’s ambition is to present the first edition of the (serious) Game version in 2018.

This article is a joint initiative of Hardt hyperloop and TristateCity and was written by Jelte Altena — Head of Marketing at Hardt hyperloop and TristateCity’s Peter Savelberg. For more information about the activities of Hardt hyperloop, please contact us at jelte@hardt.global