Commuting at the speed of sound: Potential effects of the Hyperloop on passenger flows in the Stockholm-Helsinki region
Abstract: In a pre-feasibility study from 2016 KPMG and Ramböll showed the potential for a Hyperloop connection between Stockholm and Helsinki that could enable daily commutes in a region where that as of today is impossible. The Hyperloop, a technology using train-like pods in a vacuum tunnel was first proposed by Elon Musk in 2013 and would enable faster than airplane travel at ground level and have significant effects on city-to-city travel. This thesis investigates the potential sources for parts of the travel volumes proposed in a KPMG pre-feasibility study, by focusing on commuters, that could be a key group for making the infrastructure investment worthwhile. The project being far in the future if completed prompts a qualitative investigation with empirical evidence from other border regions and infrastructure projects and takes clues from economics, sociology and geography to determine the potential for successful integration and high amounts of daily commuters. The Stockholm-Helsinki border region is assessed from different perspectives and three scenarios of speed of integration and growth of commuting is created. Results are that Swedish Finnish-speakers and Finnish Swedish-speakers who decide to relocate or start to work on the other side of the sea could be essential for the success of the project, as well as the careful statement that the region seem to have factors indicating that an investment could be justified.
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