By 2050, nearly 70 percent of people worldwide are expected to be living in cities, meaning that sustainable development depends increasingly on the successful management of urban growth (UN SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities).
As cost consultants for Virgin Hyperloop One, in the Maharashtra State of India, we are supporting the realisation of a radical transport solution to pressures resulting from urban growth and car dependency. Hyperloop is a new high speed transport system which offers an innovative approach to alleviating congestion between the cities of Pune and Mumbai, reducing astronomical commute times of up to four hours each way and tackling rising emissions.
Hyperloop also has the potential to bring widespread social, economic and environmental benefits to Maharashtra: the route could result in USD55bn in socio-economic benefits over 30 years, supporting 150 million passenger trips annually, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 150,000 tonnes every year.
The project represents a big step forward in ambition for the Indian government, as this will be the first of its kind worldwide.
Our team in India has been responsible for providing cost estimates and assessing risk since the project’s beginning; supporting Hyperloop’s proposition to the Indian government and setting up a detailed whole-life cost model which improved the cost benefit to the local economy.
Drawing on our global experience in supporting major infrastructure programmes, our team pulled together a dynamic cost model for the programme, allowing it to be quickly flexed as necessary if, for example, the route is changed. These techniques allow us to ascertain project costs in different geographies.
Throughout the process, we have been conscious of the need to protect existing communities along the proposed route and minimise the impact of the development work.
The project is designed to follow the same pathway as the existing six-lane motorway. Then, when the project reaches Mumbai, we will build as much of the system underground as possible.
I am so proud to have been associated with such a unique project. There are huge implications for the future: when it is successful, Hyperloop will change the transport industry worldwide.