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Interest on the rise for hyperloop in the USA 04 Jul 2019

Hyperloop One News Release

Plans to bring hyperloop high speed transportation to the USA is closer to reality following progress in India, the Middle East and Europe. Support within the USA is growing with the formation of the Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology (NETT) Council, the creation of the Missouri Blue Ribbon panel and a visit to the hyperloop test track in Las Vegas, Nevada, by Federal Government House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter De Fazio.

Richard Branson (right) a champion of hyperloop
Richard Branson (right) a champion of hyperloop

“We are seeing growing interest and excitement in the hyperloop vision from across the United States at both local and federal level,” said Virgin Hyperloop One Co-Founder Sir Richard Branson. “I believe we could see a hyperloop in operation in the US in years, not decades.”

Within the USA, developments include introduction of the NETT Council, set up by USA Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao to support the commercialisation of hyperloop technology. The council will work to identify and resolve jurisdictional and regulatory gaps which will help bring the technology to commercialisation.

“I want to thank Secretary Chao for her leadership setting up this forward-thinking council,” said Branson. “Virgin Hyperloop One is eager to continue working with the Secretary and her team. Through our recent conversations it is clear she wants to be at the forefront of exploring innovative technologies to improve transportation in the United States.”

While some components are similar to rail, others like cabin pressurisation are similar to aeroplanes. The council will explore how to integrate expertise in the Department of Transport to facilitate the technology moving forward.

Hyperloop on the Hill conference
Hyperloop on the Hill conference

“Hyperloop is a new mode of transportation that is built for the 21st Century,” said Jay Walder, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop One. “We want to be the company that spearheads the next leap forward in transportation here in the United States but we know we cannot do it alone. We applaud the DOT for its support.”

“New technologies increasingly straddle more than one mode of transportation, so I have signed an order creating a new internal Department council to better coordinate the review of innovations that have multi-modal applications,” said Secretary Chao.

Virgin Hyperloop One has successfully tested its technology at full scale, launching the first new mode of mass transportation in over 100 years. Its hyperloop system uses electric propulsion and electromagnetic levitation under near-vacuum conditions, creating a faster, safer, cheaper, and more sustainable mode of transport. The company is now working with governments, partners, and investors around the world and currently has projects underway in Missouri, Texas, Colorado, the Midwest, India, and the UAE.

In Washington DC a Hyperloop on the Hill event was attended by 400 Members of Congress and federal stakeholders and provided an opportunity to view the technology first hand. This summer, Virgin Hyperloop One will be travelling across the USA to showcase its XP-1 vehicle, connect with communities, and educate local and state governments on the tangible benefits of hyperloop.

Proposed Missouri route
Proposed Missouri route
Proposed Midwest route
Proposed Midwest route
Proposed Texas route
Proposed Texas route

House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio recently toured the Virgin Hyperloop One full-scale test track outside Las Vegas.

Students from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri have been working with Virgin Hyperloop One to map the social, political and physical context of the State and explore hyperloop infrastructure proposals for Missouri. Associate Professor Linda Samuels at the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts created a Master of Architecture (MArch) studio for the purpose.

“We are so excited to be collaborating with students and faculty at this world-renowned university," said Walder. "Partnerships are central to our business model, so it is encouraging to see academia, the public sector, and the private sector rallying together to bring hyperloop to Missouri.”

In addition, an Infrastructural Urbanism class visited the Virgin Hyperloop One headquarters in Los Angeles, California, as well as its full-scale test track in Las Vegas. The students were able to engage with company engineers, architects, business analysts, and other subject-matter experts to gain a firm grasp on the technology and understand its potential to transform regions.

“My research centres around infrastructural opportunism, which seeks to leverage large scale infrastructure investment for more equitable and productive social, environmental, and economic gains. New high-speed ground travel like hyperloop will have profound impacts on the inter-connectivity of people and systems. Now is the time for architects, landscape architects and urban designers to play a role in the future of mobility,” said Professor Samuels.

This momentum in Missouri comes as the state is exploring a hyperloop route to connect Kansas City and St. Louis in under 30 minutes. In late 2018, an independent report, authored by Black & Veatch, confirmed the commercial viability of the route along the I-70 corridor. Since the release of that report, House Speaker Elijah Haahr announced the formation of a Blue Ribbon Panel to explore funding mechanisms to take the project through its next steps (Fig 1).

The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission is conducting a feasibility study of hyperloop technology for a Chicago-Columbus-Pittsburgh corridor (Fig 2). This will be followed by components of an environmental impact statement along the route. In Texas, the Dallas-Fort Worth Regional Transportation Council has launched a hyperloop feasibility study of a Fort Worth to Laredo route (Fig 3). This potential for the system will be included in an environmental impact study along a Dallas to Fort Worth corridor.

References

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