The hyperloop is a future mode of transportation that enables high-speed international travel in a near-vacuum environment. The concept is envisioned as a turn-up-and-go system, where passengers enter the station a short time before departure and go to the pod in a short amount of time. This requires an efficient passenger flow at the station. However, a high level of security is crucial as the high-speed near-vacuum environment could be an attractive target for terrorist attacks and publicity will be high when the concept is first implemented. This leads to the following dilemma: How can sufficient security measures be implemented, while minimally disrupting the passenger flow?
As Vanderlande is a global market leader for future-proof logistic process automation at airports, we reached out to them for a collaboration about the entrance procedure of hyperloop passengers. Their expertise in internal airport logistics and luggage screening combined with their future-proof outlook was a perfect fit for this hyperloop challenge. The aim of our research was to consider the security regulations for the European hyperloop network. A threat and vulnerability risk assessment (TVRA) was conducted to identify the project assets that are most at risk and therefore need to be protected. This was done by first identifying the station assets and the possible threat scenarios that can occur. After that, the risk scores of every asset were calculated based on the criticality, vulnerability and consequences scores given to each asset. dThroughout this process, several round-tables with the Delft Hyperloop researcher and Vanderlande experts were organized to discuss the station assets, possible threat scenarios, consequences and risks.
The results showed that the passengers, the hyperloop pod, the structural system and the airlock system have the highest risk scores and are therefore the most attractive target for attacks as the impact will be severe. This implies that the recommended security procedure needs to focus on lowering these risk scores.
With the help of the Vanderlande experts, many mitigation strategies and their influence on the risk scores were investigated and discussed. For the recommended procedure, passenger- and luggage screening, Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) and trained staff are measures that are unavoidable to implement at a hyperloop station. This entails that the efficiency of the system in terms of passenger flow is limited when these measures are implemented. However, our researchers also discussed the future possibilities of passenger- and luggage screening with Vanderlande experts, as they work to make the internal logistics and automation at airports increasingly time- and space efficient. From this discussion it was concluded that with developing technologies, the efficiency of the procedure might be improved in the future if the passenger- and luggage screening procedures could be combined to create shorter or fewer steps for the passengers. This makes the prospects for the hyperloop concept increasingly promising.
Further research should focus on investigating security measures that are suitable in the future as technology develops, focusing on limiting the space and time needed for the security process to make the transportation mode more efficient. Moreover, as soon as international standards are set, more precise security regulations can be documented. Therefore, it is important that collaborations between hyperloop development organizations and companies such as Vanderlande keep existing, as their experience and knowledge in fields related to the hyperloop concept are vital for the realization of the hyperloop in the future.