We may not be riding around on hoverboards or powering to work with jet packs. But with the likes of self-driving cars and space tourism already making in-roads, who’s to say sci-fi style transport won’t soon become part of our daily lives?
When it does, it could spell opportunity for the business centre and coworking industry.
Consider the massive impact that the daily commute has on a prospect’s decision to move into your workspace. When it comes to choosing a serviced office and particularly a coworking space, priorities such as distance from home, proximity to public transport and local parking are usually up there with cost and number of workstations.
Many workers are heavily reliant on public transport, but let’s face it – the infrastructure is ancient, overworked and more often than not, in desperate need of a facelift. London’s underground is over 150 years old. The Tokyo Subway, the world’s busiest metro system, dates back to 1927. Russia’s Moscow Metro was opened in 1935. The New York Subway launched in 1904.
These systems were built to last, and they’ve certainly done that. But given our massive reliance on public transport and huge advances in technology, isn’t it time for some radical alternatives?
Elon Musk thinks so. And if anyone has the vision (and the finances) to shake up the public transport industry, he does.
We’re talking about the Hyperloop, a futuristic public transportation system that could whisk passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles – more than 380 miles – in just 30 minutes. It would knock half an hour off the standard one-hour flying time, and it promises to be cheaper too.
How? The Hyperloop would use electromagnetic pulses to shoot pod-like carriages along a tubular overland system at speeds of up to 800mph. The system would be solar-powered, and some pods would be big enough to carry cars.
Some have likened it to a Futurama-style existence, and in our current age of Victorian underground trains and overburdened metro systems, it’s difficult to imagine business centre clients Hyperloop-ing into work anytime soon.
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But guess what? It’s gaining interest from investors and private companies alike. Billed as a visionary extraordinaire, Musk has already delivered his fair share of era-defining creations, including PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla Motors. Other private companies are also actively pushing ahead with plans for their own beta systems based on similar Hyperloop technologies.
Yes, it could happen. And if or when it does, the business centre industry could be looking at a goldmine.
“The Hyperloop is privately funded and it’s way ahead of other older technology solutions,” says Frank Cottle, Chairman of ABCN. “My guess is that Hyperloop technology will be the first to arrive on the scene, and with their scheduling process, will generate a lot of business traffic and opportunity for business centers located nearby.”
As Frank points out, this is the first conceptual transportation system that approaches high-speed public transit (privately funded and operated) in the US, and the outcome of location proximity will be a huge driver. “Think of how important being near a tube station is in London… or near a Metro station in Washington D.C.,” he added.
The Hyperloop has been dubbed the fifth mode of transportation (after planes, trains, cars, and boats), and this article is one of many that demonstrates just how close we are to seeing this visionary system becoming reality.
Today, there are more cars on the road than ever before, and with it comes constant road congestion and daily rush-hour commuting misery. It’s unsustainable, and despite the hype and investment around self-driving cars, the future of transportation must focus on better public access, streamlined services and cleaner, more reliable technology.
We need a public transport solution that’s fit for 21st century businesses – and this could be it. What’s your take? Is the Hyperloop a multi-billion dollar investment worth its weight in gold? Or just a load of expensive ‘hype’?