High-speed transportation along Colorado's Front Range just moved a small but significant step forward, as a route connecting Cheyenne, Wyoming to Pueblo, Colorado was selected as one of ten winners worldwide in the Hyperloop One Global Challenge.
The challenge, from Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One, sought proposals aimed at discovering the most viable locations for the technology. Hyperlooops use magnetic levitation to move passenger and cargo-filled pods through tubes at high speeds for long distances.
The win formalizes a public-private partnership between the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Hyperloop One to conduct a feasibility study and determine viability of a possible project. Among other things, the study will look at transportation demand, economic benefits, proposed routes and strategies, as well as regulatory environments, according to CDOT. The partnership comes with support from engineering firm AECOM.
Colorado's proposal, from a team called Rocky Mountain Hyperloop that includes CDOT, Denver, and Greeley, would cover 360 miles and 10 urban centers with a population of more than 4.8 million; it would connect Cheyenne, Wyoming to Pueblo, Colorado, and include Pueblo, Colorado Springs, the Denver airport, Greeley, and Vail. In theory, it would take nine minutes to travel between Colorado Springs and Denver, and six minutes between Colorado Springs and Pueblo.
"There's a chance that this doesn't come to fruition," CDOT's Executive Director Shailen Bhatt told the Denver Post. "But I'm sure there were a lot of people who told the Wright brothers they would never fly. Or transcontinental railroads wouldn't work. We have significant challenges in both public safety, freight and congestion issues and if there's technology out there that can help us solve it, it's our (duty) to explore it."
Hyperloop One says more than 2600 teams worldwide registered for the Global Challenge. Colorado's proposal joins three others nationwide, plus six international locations, in being named a winner. Other locations include Chicago-Columbus-Pittsburgh, Miami-Orlando, and Dallas-Laredo-Houston; with international locations in Canada, India, Mexico and the United Kingdom.
The company says it wants to build three of the transportation systems by 2021.
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