It will move people at incredible speeds and create a better quality of life, but Hyperloop is not the latest sugar cereal, nor is it a type of medication. A hyperloop is an idea born in science fiction and given a recent, more detailed boost by Elon Musk, that would solve major mass-transportation problems. Musk has his own company that is working on their version of a hyperloop model and there are other companies creating their own visions; Hyperloop One’s vision is so compelling, Colorado submitted an entry to become a partner with them. On September 14th, Colorado’s Team Rocky Mountain (a partnership with AECOM and Colorado Department of Transportation) was named a finalist in Hyperloop One’s competition to engage in a feasibility study.
Colorado’s population is growing at a breakneck speed (current population is 5.8 million people, but expected to grow to 8 million in the next 20 years, according to CDOT executive Shailen Bhatt). After multiple highway-expanding projects over the years, Colorado’s most congested areas like Denver and the I-70 corridor from Denver to Vail have started to run out of traditional traffic management options. Hurdles to new growth have included financial barriers and geographical barriers. Hopefully, CDOT and Hyperloop One can figure out how to alleviate a financial barrier to at least further explore the project in Colorado.
In a quote from the Denver Post, Mr. Bhatt outlined some of the next steps. “Now that we’ve been named a winner – and I’ll put air quotes around that – we’re setting up the model for a public-private partnership,”
Bhatt continued, “There’s a chance this doesn’t come to fruition. 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.”
For more information about how Hyperloop One works, click here.—Sara Lacey