Both Virgin Hyperloop One and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies have competing projects now racing to get feasibility and environmental impact studies underway.
Both projects seek to connect America’s Midwestern manufacturing metropolises together in a way that could completely transform the nation’s supply chain. Hyperloop One’s route, proposed by the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) and one of ten winning submissions of the company’s Global Challenge, would travel from Pittsburgh through Columbus to Chicago in 47 minutes. It would create a Great Lakes Megaregion and connect 20 percent of the population. Feasibility and environmental impact studies are expected to total $2.5m, with the former taking nine months to complete and the latter building off those findings and taking a year.
The HTT project would whisk passengers and freight from Cleveland to Chicago in about 28 minutes, cutting the trip down from five to six hours.
Neither company has demonstrated they can get a train to reach these speeds using magnetic levitation in a near-vacuum environment. Elon Musk wrote a lengthy dissertation on how the technology could theoretically work, but the techno-savant has his hands full with making electric cars and then shooting them at Mars. So this will have to be completed by mere mortals. Or another magnetic billionaire with galactic ambitions.
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