A security assessment of hyperloop stations.

This article gives a brief summary of the report on the security at European hyperloop stations written by Delft Hyperloop. For the full report, click the button below!

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. 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? The aim of this report is to consider the security regulations for the European hyperloop network.

Threat and Vulnerability Risk Assessment

After a stakeholder analysis, a threat and vulnerability risk assessment (TVRA) is conducted to identify the project assets that are most at risk and therefore need to be protected at a hyperloop station. Figure 1 contains a diagram with an overview of the steps taken in the TVRA research method. The assessment 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 were given to each asset.

Figure 1: Steps for TTVRA research method 

Risk Mitigation

The results show 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 the risk scores for these assets.

Many mitigation strategies and their influence on the risk scores are discussed. For the recommended procedure, passenger- and luggage screening, Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) and trained staff are measures that are considered 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, to increase the efficiency, screening procedures could be combined in the future to create shorter or fewer steps for the passengers, as technologies keep developing, making the prospects for the hyperloop concept increasingly promising. Figure 2 is a conceptual visualization of a possible future security corridor that might be implemented at a hyperloop station. Here, the passenger flow is optimized because the processes of ticket verification, luggage screening and passenger screening are combined into one moment at the station.

Figure 2: Conceptual visualization of a security corridor as envisioned by Delft Hyperloop


While the possibilities for security procedures in the future are promising, the optimization of passenger flow at a hyperloop station remains a critical design challenge as the security issues of the hyperloop concept cannot be overlooked. A variety of risk mitigation strategies (e.g., passenger- and luggage screening, CCTV and trained staff) need to be implemented at any future hyperloop station in Europe to meet security standards. 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. It is also important that more research is performed into responsive measures against threat scenarios at a hyperloop station, as this report covers mostly preventative measures. Besides that, additional threat scenarios should be considered that do not only include attackers with malicious intent but also accidents or natural hazards. Lastly, in future research, a cost-benefit analysis is useful to identify the costs of the different mitigation strategies, which contributes to the feasibility of the hyperloop concept.

Authors: Puck Gerritse and Annemieke Visser


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