Hyperloop One, the potentially revolutionary new transportation mode now under development, has completed a year-long consultation to examine and define routes which would best benefit the US economy and its citizens most, in what the company believes will be the first step in revolutionising American, and indeed the World’s, transportation infrastructure. Proposals were made by local stakeholders and transportation authorities and from these Hyperloop identified eleven corridors which the company states would connect 35 metro areas and 83 million Americans.
Amongst the ideas are some which would see transportation between Las Vegas to Reno take just 42 minutes (compared to 7 hours by car or 1 hour 15 minutes by plane), Chicago to Columbus in 29 minutes and Denver to Boulder in 5 minutes (compared to a 90 minute drive).
The Hyperloop, slogan ‘Think Broadband for Transportation’, for which a development track is being built in the Nevada desert and which is expected to be running trials this year, runs a transportation pod capable of carrying either passengers or freight in a sealed tube which has had most of the air removed to minimise friction and is projected to able to run at 1080 km/h - three times the speed of high speed rail at two thirds the cost, according to Hyperloop One. Rehi Alaganar, Senior Business Analyst at Hyperloop One said:
“Whichever part of the US you’re currently in, it’s easy to feel like our country’s grasp on these ideals has been slipping. We have failing dams, toxic water, airports belonging in a ‘third world country’, and collapsing bridges. The European Union now has a larger economy than us, and China is leading the world in clean tech. Hard-working Americans often struggle to find jobs, and last year’s election exposed a rift in this country that will take years to heal.
“The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave our infrastructure a D+ in its 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, advising that deficiencies will have a ‘cascading impact’ on employment, incomes and international competitiveness. The ASCE estimates that the average US family will lose $3,400 a year from 2016 to 2035 because of bad infrastructure. Surface transportation is the sector with the largest gap, with more than 53% of required spending remaining unfunded to 2025. Congested roads alone cost US drivers $160 billion in wasted fuel and time in 2014. Traffic fatalities increased 7% from 2014 to 2015, with 35,092 people dying on America’s roads. Americans are ready for solutions - within years, not decades.
“The Hyperloop is real, and it’s fast becoming an American reality. This week we finalized tube installation on our 500 metre-long DevLoop, located at our site in the desert outside of Las Vegas. In the coming months, we will run the first pod through it, proving the core set of system components work together. Then we’ll look to build proof of operations centers in locations around the world to demonstrate the system is reliable and safe, and scale up from there.
“The country needs a new network. One that’s smarter, faster and cleaner. One that will help businesses react faster to shifts in demand and unlock more productivity and growth. Let’s build a network that’s owned by Americans and made by an American company. One that’s an example for the rest of the world to follow. All we ask is to be part of the solution.”
The proposed routes are:
- Boston-Somerset-Providence – 64 miles
- Cheyenne-Houston – 1152 miles
- Chicago-Columbus-Pittsburgh – 488 miles
- Denver-Colorado Springs – 360 miles
- Denver-Vail – 242 miles
- Kansas City-St. Louis – 240 miles
- Los Angeles-San Diego – 121 miles
- Miami-Orlando – 257 miles
- Reno-Las Vegas – 454 miles
- Seattle-Portland – 173 miles
- Dallas/Fort Worth-Austin-San Antonio-Houston – 640 miles
Photo: Detail from a Hyperloop promotional video showing a successful test of the magnetic drive outside of the vacuum tube.