WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
As transport becomes autonomous, and vehicles become pods, it opens the door to new form factors and ways of travelling.
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Considering the prices for plane or train tickets and hotel rooms, as well as the hours spent packing (and unpacking) and idly sitting at gates or terminals, it’s understandable when people opt for a staycation rather than a vacation. But what if you could forget almost all of the hassle that makes traveling a burden? Better yet, what if you could travel in your hotel room from city to city at incredibly fast speeds – something I’ve talked about before … ? That’s precisely the idea that took home top honors at this year’s Radical Innovation Award, an annual competition for imaginative, futuristic hotel designs.
The winning concept was designed by Brandan Siebrecht, a graduate architecture student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The idea brings together several elements into a singular experience. Siebrecht’s plan, which is called the “Hyperloop Hotel,” would connect 13 hotels across the country by way of a high-speed transit system that is in the process of being developed by Elon Musk. Yet it wouldn’t connect them in the traditional sense of high-speed travel; it would do so by actually moving passengers within the hotel room they are occupying. The concept: Transporting people in their rooms would eliminate the need to buy separate transit tickets for traveling between 13 of the largest cities in America – Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Denver, Sante Fe, Austin, Chicago, Nashville, Washington, D.C., New York City, and Boston.
The Future of Transportation, by keynote Matthew Griffin
The vast network of hotels would all be connected by Musk’s Hyperloop system. Indeed, the inspiration for Siebrecht’s plan was DevLoop, a functional test track for Hyperloop outside of Las Vegas. It’s there that Musk and his team are testing the capacity to transport people at speeds of up to 750 miles per hour in a podlike vehicle. If successful, the system could send travellers from Philadelphia to New York in just 10 minutes.
But it’s not just about speed – it’s also the proposed price that would appeal to many travellers. For a flat fee of $1,200, Hyperloop Hotel guests would be able to quickly move between the network of cities. This dollar amount does not, however, include the cost for actually spending the night in the room (that figure hasn’t been released yet). Which is all to say, business travellers, for example, could spend the morning in Boston, the afternoon in New York, and the evening in Washington, D.C., all without having to leave the comforts of their hotel room. It’s estimated that each room would cost roughly $10 million to build, which seems very high, and would be made of repurposed shipping containers that would be remodelled to look and feel luxurious. Each room unit would include an office space, a living room with a flat-screen TV, a bedroom, and a bathroom.
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The actual technology to build a Hyperloop Hotel does not currently exist. But that’s not to say it couldn’t happen sometime soon. Indeed, Siebrecht believes construction of his hotel concept could be feasible within the next five to ten years.