Innovative mobility concepts have repeatedly been the subject of our research. This blog post summarizes the study results on the acceptance of hyperloop, a transportation method based on low pressure tubes and a magnetic levitation belt. Hyperloop promises a faster and more energy-efficient alternative, especially compared to airplanes. As with most innovations, one major challenge is gaining the acceptance of (potential) users. Due to the limited knowledge among the general public and little research around hyperloop, this study aimed at identifying the factors impacting user acceptance of hyperloop while focusing on different levels of the users’ knowledge about them.
Research was conducted in cooperation with Hardt Hyperloop, a Dutch technology company which developed a test facility using main elements of the hyperloop concept. In 2020, data from 387 online survey participants, between the ages of 18-75 years (mean: 41 years) was collected in the Netherlands. While the participants represented a vast variety of occupations as well as income and education levels, most (70%) reported that they utilize a car at least once per week. Furthermore, the majority of survey respondents utilized airplanes and high speed trains very rarely. To identify the impact of knowledge on the user acceptance of hyperloop, some acceptance items were asked repeatedly after information about the technology was provided to the participants.
- More than half of the participants did not know about hyperloop technology before the study.
- In the beginning, the respondents’ attitude towards hyperloop was mainly positive (68%).
- Only 18 % of respondents had concerns about hyperloop, while potential barriers to the usage are: missing windows and staff members as well as possible failure of the technology, the low-pressure environment, and high travel speed.
- After receiving more information on hyperloop, acceptance increased, especially for participants with little prior knowledge and those who had few concerns beforehand.
- Approximately half of the respondents would utilize hyperloop in the future.
- The main factors for participants to be willing to use hyperloop were the reduced travel time and joy because of using the technology.
- Younger participants (<30 years) showed higher willingness to utilize hyperloop than older respondents (>50 years).
- Respondents who use (high-speed) trains and airplanes frequently were more likely to use hyperloop.
- Most participants, specifically those who would use it themselves, expect hyperloop to be a success in the Netherlands.
This study provided first insights into the acceptance of the hyperloop technology as a mean of transportation. Even though most participants had very little prior knowledge about hyperloop, study results indicate a high level of acceptance, as more than half of the respondents would use the technology, when it becomes available. Thus, to further increase acceptance, more information should be provided, focusing on the benefits, especially the short travel times and joy of usage, and potential concerns of consumers should be addressed, such as the lack of windows. Furthermore, offering the opportunity to experience hyperloop in real life could be especially effective for those with high levels of concern.