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Proposal for Hyperloop Between Chicago and Columbus Receives a Boost From Startup

Brent Warren Brent Warren Proposal for Hyperloop Between Chicago and Columbus Receives a Boost From StartupPhoto from Hyperloop One.
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A proposal from the Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission to build a hyperloop from Chicago to Pittsburgh (with a stop in Columbus) received a boost from a startup looking to build the first prototype of the futuristic transportation idea.

Hyperloop One is a Los Angeles-based company that is researching the technology, which it describes as “an integrated structure to move passengers and cargo between two points immediately, safely, efficiently, and sustainably.”

What that means is small, pod-like vehicles that are shot through a giant pneumatic tube, using magnetic levitation to achieve speeds of over 600 miles per hour.

The Columbus proposal, called Midwest Connect, was selected as one of 35 semifinalists, from a reported pool of 2,600 applicants.

“MORPC is excited that our Midwest Connect proposal was selected,” said MORPC Executive Director William Murdock, in a statement. “It connects the people and freight of Columbus, which is the fastest growing region in the Midwest, to major transportations hubs in the west (Chicago) and to the east (Pittsburgh).”

Although the hyperloop concept has received lots of attention since Tesla founder Elon Musk first floated the idea in 2013 – sketching out a plan to transport people between Los Angeles and San Fransisco in 35 minutes – urban planning and transportation experts have raised a number of red flags about the idea from the very beginning.

Count Harvey Miller, OSU Geography Professor and Director of the Center for Urban and Regional Analysis, among the skeptics.

“Hyperloop is an unproven technology, while high speed trains are well-proven in many parts of the world,” Miller said. “Why don’t we just build high speed trains?”

MORPC has also been involved in a proposal to build a high-speed passenger rail connection between Chicago and Columbus – that idea is in the early planning stages, but the City of Columbus is not participating in the effort.

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  • jukied

    I’d rather we got a local train, subway, or trolley line rather than that.

    • Anthony Di Mascio

      You’d rather pay for something that’s already obsolete? Why would you want something that’s already behind the curve, rather than something that has the prospect of revolutionizing and revamping your surroundings?

      • JDS

        Is it a proven technology? I’ll stick with Maglev trains.

        • Chris Sauerzopf

          They are testing/proving it right now outside of Las Vegas. Check out their Facebook page.

      • http://www.columbusunderground.com Walker Evans

        So what you’re saying is that no one should buy a human-piloted car ever again since the technology is behind the curve compared to autonomous vehicles?

        • Anthony Di Mascio

          You seem to be arguing that we should waste money on infrastructure that is already obsolete and crumbling, before we even begin digging… Rather than investing in advanced sustainable infrastructure.

          • DC

            “Advanced, sustainable infrastructure” is a bit of a stretch for something that just ran a few bikers off the road and blew a few red lights in California. I am not saying that there is no value in the technology, but try to keep it realistic for now? And in the mean time, tell Japan that their train system is “obsolete” because some guy in Ohio said so.

          • Chris Sauerzopf

            People don’t run people off of the road? People don’t cause accidents? They do. 1.3 Million deaths a year are attributed to vehicles and caused by human error.

            We are 1-3 years away from driverless vehicles being an affordable solution for most Americans. Super exciting stuff!

          • http://www.columbusunderground.com Walker Evans

            1-3 years is ridiculously optimistic. Especially for Americans who can’t afford any car at all right now.

          • Chris Sauerzopf

            Won’t be for everyone initially. Tesla presold +300k Model 3s at a base of $35k. They will be on the road within 2 years. Fully equipped with self driving tech. Hyundai has a working, lower priced prototype, Ford, etc.

            It’s happening. What Uber is doing in Pittsburgh and in SF is pioneering the driverless experience. Once passengers begin feeling safe, game over. We’re already choosing our phones/text/FB over driving. Look around. Distracted driving is everywhere. This is a safer, more efficient technology that is revolutionary.

            I have a Tesla and use Autopilot all the time. It’s amazing, yet only a quarter of the full potential of self driving vehicles.

          • http://www.columbusunderground.com Walker Evans

            That’s great. Sounds cool.

            Still… “Most Americans” can’t afford a $35,000 car.

            And I can’t imagine the 2018-2020 models of that Tesla being sold for $5000 in 1-3 years.

          • Chris Sauerzopf

            Never suggested “Most Americans” Walker, however a few hundred thousand vehicles a year is a great start.

          • DC

            “Most Americans” is exactly what you stated. Read your comment again.

            I never said “People don’t run people off the road.” Read my comment again.

            There are some serious software issues that they need to address, stated by Uber’s own people, as well as some serious regulatory issues. It takes a lot more than “passengers feeling safe” for this to become a reality. In the mean time, 1000 more people are moving to Columbus this month, filling up the highways and road systems by putting more cars on the road.

          • Chris Sauerzopf

            Totally did state that and completely misspoke. Most is definitely a stretch in 1-3 years however, change is coming my friends. And I believe, that is a good thing. IMO

          • DC

            We’ll see what happens. It’s going to be a while before the government allows the human “back-up/emergency” driver to exit the vehicle while the software alone drives it.

          • Scott McLain

            I agree that 1-3 years is optimistic, but it will happen fast- I say 10 for three primary reasons. First, Volvo and others already have semi-autonomous cars slated for 2020. Second, once people especially under 35 are comfortable with the experience, they will prefer to sit back and text, facetime, etc. Driving will be “uncool”. Finally, Once traffic deaths and accidents are cut to near zero, government will mandate that most roadways be dedicated to autonomous cars.

            I recall a news report in 2003 predicting that we would be watching TV on our phones in ten years. I looked at my state-of-the-art Motorola StarTac and thought, “no way! besides who would want to watch TV on their phone”.

        • Scott McLain

          At some point in the very near future “driving a car” will be indeed obsolete, if not banned. Younger generations, probably being conceived and born now, will wonder why grandpa is so uncool. I agree that rail is still attractive for travel say between campus and Downtown, but if I can get to back to Columbus (I live in Chicago) in 35 minutes, that will indeed make a 3 hour high speed train a thing of the past.

  • jman

    Great news for the new year, very hopeful and exciting indeed. Yea!

  • Chris Sauerzopf

    The infrastructure costs to high speed rail are so much more expensive and intensive than the Hyperloop. All you need is the pod, a cement pilon and a minimal amount of electricity. Oh, to mention it’s also 2 and a half times as fast!!!

    Let’s review… Easier to build, cheaper and faster… This is the most exciting transportation technology since the combustion engine!

    • Brett

      Where is there a hyperloop built out and in operation that proves your supposition?

  • Bret Drive

    Love the idea of connecting the 3 cities.
    Not sure about the hyperloop tech.

  • gaucho25

    Count Harvey Miller, OSU Geography Professor says they should just build a high speed rail at 150MPG ground level with 100′ right of way. This is opposed to the 15′ elevated right of way that travels over 600MPH.
    That is why Geologists also weigh in on global warming which they also know nothing about.

  • Koenig Brademeyer

    I would prefer to share a train, but the hyperloop would not only provide flexibility in time schedules but would also carry cargo as well. It will never have the charm of the dirty old NYC subway system but would not only compete against airlines but probably kick their buckets.

  • Koenig Brademeyer

    And how about employing gondolas in Columbus where light rail doesn’t work. The 71 corridor has room for a gondola and would not have to mix with freight rail. They are proven technology and are being used more frequently throughout the world.

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