Hyperloop is a new transportation technology that utilizes magnetic levitation to move a capsule through vacuumed space with a speed of nearly 760-800 mph. The technology is yet to be implemented; however, introducing it might bring numerous benefits. The purpose of this paper is to assess the most frequent purposes of interurban traveling of the UAE residents and their attitudes to Hyperloop, and to estimate the potential benefits of implementation of this technology.
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To do this, primary data was collected via surveying, and a literature review was conducted. It was discovered that interurban travelling may often be associated with career or studying purposes; that the respondents are inclined to be distrustful of the new technology; and that implementing Hyperloop might result in numerous benefits. It is concluded that it is worth introducing Hyperloop in the UAE.
Nowadays, the pace of life has become extremely fast. The need to do numerous tasks in a short period results in the want for quick and effective transportation. Thus, certain innovations and developments in the area of transportation are sometimes proposed. One of these in the Hyperloop technology, which has been offered by Elon Musk, a Canadian-American entrepreneur, inventor and engineer, who also occupies the position of the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, and also has similar positions certain other successful businesses (Kosowatz, 2014; Mairs, 2016). The Hyperloop is an innovative transportation system that utilises the technology of magnetic levitation to move a capsule through vacuumed space with tremendous speed (Hodaib & Fattah, 2016).
It is stated that Hyperloop could be used in the space industry (Belfiore, 2013). However, this technology could be employed to transport people and/or cargo at speeds greater than those of some of the contemporary aircraft (Kosowatz, 2014). This technology is to be implemented and tested in the U.S.; in addition, it is planned that several Hyperloops will be built in the UAE, allowing for quick travelling between such cities as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Doha, and Riyadh (Mairs, 2016). On the whole, the introduction of Hyperloop in the UAE appears to have good perspectives.
However, there certain concerns needing to be addressed for the implementation of the new Hyperloop transportation technology to be successful (Kosowatz, 2014). For instance, even though there exists a need for effective and viable transportation services in the UAE, it is also important to know the preferences of passengers and the purposes for which people travel between different points in the country (the willingness to utilise the new means of transportation might depend on these purposes, especially because of the possible fear of the Hyperloop technologies), and whether they perceive the new invention as a safe method of getting to a certain destination (Alkaabi, 2014; Worku, 2013).
It is also essential to consider whether the implementation of the new technology is capable of solving a different type of problems related to the traditional means of transportation, such as the pollution of the natural environment and the high costs involved in their production and maintenance (Waked & Afif, 2012). Therefore, the goal of this study is to attempt to provide an insight into the named concerns by conducting both primary and secondary research.
The research questions addressed by this study are:
- What are the main purposes for which passengers utilise interurban transport in the UAE?
- As has been stated before, the aim of using interurban transport might determine the willingness of clients to use the Hyperloop. Therefore, it is important to scrutinise these aims. Such an investigation might provide insights into the extent to which the Hyperloop will be used in the future, at least initially.
- Do people perceive the Hyperloop technologies as safe, and are they willing to use them?
- Safety is one of the key factors affecting one’s choice of transportation. Thus, the perceptions of the safety of Hyperloop may play a critical role in its successfulness. If it is believed that the transport is unsafe, it will be paramount to ensure that, when the issues of safety are addressed, the potential customers will be aware of it.
- What are the potential benefits of introducing Hyperloop in the UAE?
- The benefits of the implementation of Hyperloop are crucial for its popularity. Therefore, it is essential to discuss these advantages to stimulate the use of the new technology. The advantages might then be utilised in promotion campaigns.
The current section presents the results of the review of literature conducted for this study. It is worth stressing that very little research related to the Hyperloop technology has been published; scholarly literature is rather scarce. Several issues about the potential use of the Hyperloop technology in the UAE are investigated. The overall situation in the UAE, which corroborates the need for innovative and efficacious transportation, is discussed; several major problems related to the safety of the technology are considered, and a review of some potential benefits of using Hyperloop instead of the traditional transportation systems is provided. All the three questions will be partially addressed by the current research in the further sections of the paper.
The Need for Quality Transportation Service
It is stated that over the past few decades, the UAE has undergone a process of major urbanisation (Worku, 2013). In particular, it is worth noting that Dubai has become one of the major urban centres of the world (Acuto, 2014). This has led to the situation in which the cities of the country are faced with considerable traffic congestions (Alkaabi, 2014). In addition, the fact that a large share of jobs in the country is provided in the urban setting, there exists a large number of individuals who are forced to commute to the city and back to their home daily.
In addition, because the amount of traffic has considerably increased as a result of the urbanisation, the government of UAE has adopted policies that are aimed at lowering the number of private vehicles on the roads of the country and increasing the number of units of public transport, so that individuals who previously utilised their cars to get to the city and back home would now use the services of public transportation (Worku, 2013).
This fact means that there is a need for a reliable and fast transport service which would allow people to more quickly and effectively reach their intended destination – either when they are travelling home, to work, or to any other place. Therefore, it might be possible that the implementation of new technologies which would allow commuters to faster reach their destinations using the means of public transport may help solve the problem of traffic congestions, simultaneously saving the time of commuters. In particular, it might be worth considering using the Hyperloop technology for this purpose. Exploring for which purposes people commute or travel between cities, as well as their willingness to potentially use Hyperloop, are some of the objectives of the current study.
Safety Concerns of Hyperloop
The conception of Hyperloop transportation systems is completely innovative; it is based on the fact that vehicles, while travelling at high speeds, are considerably slowed down by the forces of friction, as well as by the strong resistance of air. Hyperloop is aimed at eliminating this problem by using long metal tubes inside which vacuum is maintained; a capsule should move inside this tube using the technology of magnetic levitation, for which purpose linear induction motors should be placed throughout the tube to accelerate or slow down the capsule (Hodaib & Fattah, 2016).
This conception, therefore, allows for eliminating both friction and air resistance, and it is predicted that Hyperloop capsules should be able to move at speeds up to nearly 760-800 mph, which is equivalent to approximately 1220-1285 km/h (Kosowatz, 2014). However, the capsule can only be of the maximum diameter of 2.2 meters, and can only permit for transportation of maximum 14 passengers seated in two rows (Hodaib & Fattah, 2016).
The passengers should not be allowed to move, remaining almost immovable in their seats. In addition, there also are major safety concerns; a blackout or any malfunction leading to a deviation of the capsule from its intended trajectory is almost certain to lead to the death of passengers, as well as to large amounts of destruction due to the immense speed at which the capsule would be moving (Zhou, Hessami, Xin, & Wang, 2015).
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In addition, the considerably uncomfortable conditions and the need to remain almost unmoving while being seated in a small enclosed space might render the transport unusable for some passengers who might suffer from claustrophobia; in fact, a passenger might experience a panic attack (Drenckhan et al., 2015), which could be an additional hazard if movement of passengers inside the capsule may lead to a deviation of the capsule from its intended course and a subsequent crash.
The safety concerns are a serious issue, because lies of people will depend on the level of safety of Hyperloops if this technology is implemented. In addition, the fear of using the new technology (which is also studied in the current paper) might considerably affect the number of potential clients of Hyperloop transportation systems.
The Problems that Might Be Solved by Using the Hyperloop Technology in UAE
It is known that the use of transportation is associated with some problems and inconveniences. A major issue related to the use of transport is the pollution of air with exhaust gases; for instance, it is stated that the measurement of concentrations of PM10 and SO2 in the UAE showed that these concentrations greatly exceeded the recommended maximum numbers, which is, in particular, due to extensive use of transport (Waked & Afif, 2012).
Another problem is related to the fact that travelling is often a time-consuming process, especially due to traffic congestions (Alkaabi, 2014). The introduction of effective transportation systems might also be able to reduce the costs that are spent on logistics (Kaewunruen, Sussman, & Matsumoto, 2016). The introduction of the Hyperloop technology might potentially be able to solve these problems; this issue is further investigated in the current study.
Therefore, the literature review was carried out; it was discovered that the UAE has undergone a considerable urbanisation over several decades, which results in need of large numbers of people to commute to the city and then back at home daily; also, traffic congestions pose a serious problem to the passengers of public transport and the drivers of private vehicles, which corroborates the need in some innovative transportation systems. However, Hyperloop might be a dangerous means of transportation, which means that even if safety concerns are addressed properly, passengers might fear to use it. In addition, it was discovered that traditional transport leads to several problems, which include noxious emissions, a large amount of time needed to get from one place to another, etc. It is hypothesised that Hyperloop might help address these issues.
The current study utilised the mixed design (DePoy & Gitlin, 2016) to seek answers to the research question which were declared above. The first two questions were investigated with quantitative methods, whereas the third question was addressed by reviewing the relevant literature and synthesising the gathered information.
The data for answering the first and second questions was gathered with a survey. The survey is provided in Appendix C, whereas the results can be found in Appendix D. The convenience sampling procedures were utilised, for it would be nearly impossible to implement the proper techniques for random sampling in the given situation, because the target population (individuals who regularly travel between cities or commute to the city) is too vast and is practically incapable of being listed and randomly selected (Gravetter & Forzano, 2012, p. 151).
A total of 75 individuals completed the questionnaire. 25 of these people did so while arriving by railway to Dubai or waiting in Dubai for their train; another 25 people completed the quiz while arriving at Dubai by an interurban bus or waiting for such a bus, and the rest 25 persons were stopped like hitch-hiking while going by their car to or from Dubai. (Individuals who were unaware of Hyperloop technologies did not complete the survey.) All the people were randomly chosen and approached, or stopped while driving a car. Each of the participants agreed to take part in the study, and informed consent (DePoy & Gitlin, 2016) was obtained from them.
The data was analysed using the Microsoft Excel software; frequencies of answers to the questions of the survey were calculated, and bar charts were created to create a visual representation of the results (Gravetter & Forzano, 2012). Conclusions were drawn about the purposes of interurban travelling and about the attitudes towards using the Hyperloop technology.
The survey was formulated in a way allowing for directly answering the first two research questions formulated above (Gravetter & Forzano, 2012). The calculated frequencies provided answers to these questions for the given sample.
The reliability and validity of the survey was provided by the fact that the possible answers to the first question were formulated so that they would be non-overlapping and mutually exclusive, whereas the answers to the second question used the Likert scale, which is commonly utilised for scientific purposes, and is considered to be a reliable and valid tool of measurement if the number of categories is adequate (Lozano, García-Cueto, & Muñiz, 2008).
As for the third research question, the answer to it was obtained by analysing secondary data, mainly from research articles. The sources were thoroughly analysed, and conclusions were drawn.
This section reports the results of the study. Each research question is discussed separately. The answers to the first and second questions are based on the collected primary data, whereas the answer to the third question is proposed by using information gathered from the literature.
Research Question 1
The first research question was formulated as follows: “What are the main purposes for which passengers utilise interurban transport in the UAE?” This question can be answered by considering the results of surveying, which are provided in Figure 1 below.
Therefore, among the respondents, most (53 persons, or 70.7%) most often travelled between cities because of work; 15 people (20%) usually commuted to study; 3 individuals (4%) usually travelled to visit friends or relatives; 2 persons (2.7%) travelled as tourists, or because they wanted to spend their leisure; and 2 (2.7%) respondents travelled to attend to their health needs. None of the participants used interurban transport to fulfil other purposes.
Thus, it can be seen that among the sample which was drawn, the most popular purpose of travelling was to be able to do one’s work; the second widespread aim was to visit one’s school, college, or university.
Research Question 2
The second research question was: “Do people perceive the Hyperloop technologies as safe, and are they willing to use them?” To find the answer to this question, the participants of the study were asked to answer the second question in the survey. The results are shown in Figure 2, which is provided below.
It is easy to see that most people would be willing to use Hyperloop, and would believe that it is safe (21 persons, 28%). Simultaneously, 20 people (26.7%) would not be sure whether they should use Hyperloop, 15 respondents (20%) would not be willing to use it, 13 individuals (17.3%) would be unwilling to use the new transport technology, and only 6% (8%) would be certain that it is safe, and would be completely willing to use it.
Thus, even though the number of people who would be willing or willing to use Hyperloop is roughly the same as the number of people who would be unwilling or unwilling to use it (27 vs. 28), it appears that the participants were generally more inclined to be unwilling to use the technology, for a strong conviction about non-safety was found more often than the strong conviction about safety.
Research Question 3
The third research question was as follows: “What are the potential benefits of introducing the Hyperloop in the UAE?” An attempt to answer this question was made by reviewing the research literature.
It was found out that several problems are associated with the current system of transportation. It has already been stressed that the transport pollutes the air with exhaust gases, which, in particular, leads to extremely high concentrations of PM10 and SO2 in the air in certain parts of the UAE (Waked & Afif, 2012). On the other hand, the Hyperloop technology should use relatively little power, and will be powered by electricity rather than by gasoline fuels, and it is possible to produce electricity in environmentally friendly ways (Hodaib & Fattah, 2016; Kosowatz, 2014).
The technology should also be cheaper than the traditional transport; while certain managers of traditional transportation systems struggle to make their service profitable (Al Nahyan, Sohal, Fildes, & Hawas, 2012; Hazarika & Boukareva, 2016), the Hyperloop is assumed to be able to transport not only people but also cargo profitably (Werner, Eißing, & Langton, 2016).
In addition, the immense speed with which the Hyperloop is expected to carry passengers (Kosowatz, 2014) can permit for saving considerable amounts of time of passengers, who would otherwise spend it travelling or even waiting in traffic congestions; for instance, it is estimated that the Hyperloop could travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi in only 12 minutes (Mairs, 2016).
Research Question 1
Therefore, as a result of the study, it was found out that the majority of respondents (more than two-thirds) utilised interurban transportation to get to their job or do tasks which are related to their work, and that a considerable part of participants (20%) commuted to study. It should be noted that the results cannot be outright generalised to the whole population due to the convenience sampling technique, as well as to the fact that only descriptive and not inferential statistics were used to analyse the data.
However, assuming that the data reflects the situation in the society, the social implications of the study are that people mostly use interurban transport for career-related purposes; thus, usually they are likely to be obliged to travel. The technical implications are that they might need faster and more reliable transport, because being late due to the issues of logistics can have serious consequences. The ethical implications are that an effort should be made to minimise the time people spend travelling. The economic implications are that technologies providing a faster way to travel might be profitable.
Research Question 2
The answers of the respondents to the second question of the survey revealed that participants were almost equally divided when it came to deciding whether they trust that Hyperloop is safe technology or not, and whether they are willing to use it for travelling. However, strong convictions about its non-safety were more frequent than strong convictions about its safety. On the whole, it might be possible to conclude that people are more inclined to distrust this technology, because the number of unwilling participants was so large despite the condition mentioned in the question that safety of the technology was shown by numerous studies.
It should be noted that, as with the previous question, the results cannot be outright generalised to the whole population due to similar reasons: convenience sampling technique and the use of only descriptive statistics.
However, if it is assumed that the results of the study reflect the situation in the society, the social implications of the answer to this research question are that people might behave conservatively and be unwilling to embrace the new technologies although their safety was evidenced by numerous studies; however, this is easy to understand because at the estimated speeds of Hyperloop’s movement, even the slightest malfunctions in the system might lead to lethal consequences for the passengers.
The ethical implications are that even if the Hyperloop technology is successfully implemented, people should still have the ability to use the traditional means of transportation (including the public transport) if they desire to do so. The economic implications are that to attract more customers, the safety of Hyperloop will have to be extraordinarily high. The technical implications are that the provision of such safety will require additional efforts.
Research Question 3
The third research question was answered by utilising the secondary data gathered from the review of the literature. The implementation of the Hyperloop technology has the potential to at least partially handle the numerous problems originating from the utilisation of the classic transport.
The social implications of these findings are that it might be useful to popularise the Hyperloop technologies among the residents of the UAE, for this might help to address several environmental issues, make the transportation cheaper and faster. The technical implications are that it might be better to give preference to the Hyperloop technology where possible when providing the population with the means of transportation between cities, especially those which are located far away from one another; in addition, to make the Hyperloop transportation environmentally friendly indeed, it is also needed to use sustainable sources of electrical energy.
The ethical implications of these answers are that it might be ethically responsible to implement the new technologies, for they may lead to considerable improvements in the quality of life by reducing the pollution and saving the time of individuals. The economic implications are that the benefits of this new transportation system also might make the Hyperloop technology profitable.
Therefore, a study was conducted to assess the perspectives of implementation of the Hyperloop travelling technology in the UAE by considering the reasons why the residents of the country travel, their willingness to potentially use the new technologies, and the possible benefits of Hyperloop. The study had several limitations; in particular, the convenience sampling technique was used, and no inferential statistics were employed, which adversely affects the generalisability of the research. On the other hand, the research about the use of Hyperloop in the UAE is scarce, so this study might be able to provide some additional insights into the issue for some readers.
The results of this study imply that the implementation of Hyperloop might have good perspectives in the UAE. The technology might be relatively cheap, environmentally friendly, and immensely fast. People are forced to travel much, either for work or for study, and, despite showing some conservative tendencies, they could be willing to use the new technologies to save their time. However, it is necessary to make sure that Hyperloop is very safe if the lives of passengers are not to be endangered, and if customers are to purchase its services.
Once the safety of Hyperloop is provided on the required level, it might be recommended to popularise the benefits of using this technology to attract more customers. However, once the critical mass can see that people use Hyperloop and it is fast, safe, and convenient, the new transport might be expected to become rather popular.
Acuto, M. (2014). Dubai in the ‘middle’. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 38(5), 1732-1748.
Al Nahyan, M. T., Sohal, A. S., Fildes, B. N., & Hawas, Y. E. (2012). Transportation infrastructure development in the UAE: Stakeholder perspectives on management practice. Construction Innovation, 12(4), 492-514. Web.
Alkaabi, K. (2014). Analyzing the travel behaviour and travel preferences of employees and students commuting via the Dubai metro. The Arab World Geographer, 17(1), 42-65. Web.
Belfiore, M. (2013). The rocketeer: forget Tesla. Forget the Hyperloop. Elon Musk is all about space. Foreign Policy, 203, 102-104.
DePoy, E., & Gitlin, L. N. (2016). Introduction to research: Understanding and applying multiple strategies (5th ed.). St Louis, MO: Elsevier.
Drenckhan, I., Glöckner-Rist, A., Rist, F., Richter, J., Gloster, A. T., Fehm, L.,…Gerlach, A. L. (2015). Dimensional structure of bodily panic attack symptoms and their specific connections to panic cognitions, anxiety sensitivity and claustrophobic fears. Psychological Medicine, 45(8), 1675-1685. Web.
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Hazarika, I., & Boukareva, B. (2016). Performance analysis of major airline companies in UAE concerning profitability, liquidity, efficiency, employee strength and productivity. Eurasian Journal of Business and Management, 4(4), 71-80. Web.
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Academic Honesty Form
Membership Responsibility Matrix.
|Student 1|| |
|Student 2|| |
|Student 3|| |
Survey Used for the Study
- Please state for which purpose you most often travel between cities, or from the country to the city and back. Choose answer that is correct for you:
- I go to work;
- I travel to study;
- I visit my relatives or friends;
- For tourism, or to spend my leisure;
- For health care;
- Other purposes:
- Please suppose that numerous studies have shown that travelling by Hyperloop is safer than travelling by car. Would you believe that Hyperloop is safe, and would you be willing to use it for travelling between cities, or from the country to the city, if the option was as available to you as your usual means of transportation?
- I would be sure that it is unsafe, and would be completely unwilling to use the Hyperloop.
- I would think that it is unsafe, and would be unwilling to use the Hyperloop;
- I am not sure whether or not I would use the Hyperloop;
- I would think that it is safe, and would be willing to use the Hyperloop;
- I would be sure that it is safe, and would be completely willing to use the Hyperloop.
Results of Surveying
Note: transport: 1=bus, 2=car, 3=train. The meaning of coding in the columns purp_of_travel and willing corresponds to the answers provided in Appendix C.