American Society of Civil Engineers

Feasibility of Using Pneumatic Capsule Pipelines in New York City for Underground Freight Transport

by Henry Liu, (Freight Pipeline Company, 3212 Woodbine Drive, Columbia, Missouri 65203)
Section: Oil, Gas, and Freight Transport, pp. 1-12, (doi:

     Access full text
     Purchase Subscription
     Permissions for Reuse  

Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Pipeline Engineering and Construction: What’s on the Horizon?
Abstract: Under the sponsorship of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), a project is now near completion to assess the technical and economic feasibility of using pneumatic capsule pipelines (PCPs) for underground transportation of freight in New York City. Four kinds of applications, using different sizes of PCPs, have been examined. They include using PCPs for: (1) tunnel construction, (2) delivering goods on pallets, (3) dispatching containers from seaports to an inland inspection/transfer station, and (4) ferrying trucks with their cargoes. The fourth application, using large conduits (tunnels) to ferry trucks, has been examined for possible use in a particular area of New York City — Hunts Point. Success in this project can lead to future use of PCPs in New York City and other places in the nation, resulting in a significant reduction of the number of trucks on streets and highways, thereby reducing traffic jams, accidents, and air pollution caused by trucks. It may also reduce the chance of any terrorist attack using truck bombs and containers, and hence improving transportation security in overcrowded cities and ports. The need for federal assistance to demonstrate this advanced new freight pipeline technology for underground freight transport is also addressed.

ASCE Subject Headings:
New York City
New York
Feasibility studies
Underground structures
Freight transportation