The futuristic 700 MPH mass transit system took another step forward last week when the US House of Representatives earmarked $5 million for the US Department of Transportation to develop safety and environmental standards for the Great Lakes Hyperloop System. The bill will now move to the US Senate per Chicago Curbed. If the bill is approved, it would open up the hyperloop project for future federal funding.
Elon Musk's subterranean tunnel that was planned to zip passengers from loop to O'Hare in 12 minutes looks like it may not go anywhere at this point, but a new project to go from Chicago to Cleveland in under a half an hour through high speed tubes is coming closer to reality.
Hyperloop's experimental transportation system calls for the construction of a closed steel pipeline between Chicago and Cleveland. Up to 164,000 passengers a day would travel in pressurized capsules through the tubes by electromagnetic propulsion and hover on a frictionless magnetic cushion at airplane speeds of over 700 MPH. At that rate, the commute between the two midwestern cities could take about 28 minutes for the 310 mile distance.
The technology company says they are building their pods from a new material called Vibranium. This is a sensor-embedded carbon-fiber material that is stronger than steel and five times as light.
HyperloopTT recently hosted USDOT officials at the company research facilities in Toulouse, France to see the preliminary system before the construction of a commercial system in Abu Dhabi where they are preparing human trials in 2020.
In the meantime, Virgin is developing a competing hyperloop system called Hyperloop One. They went to Capitol Hill last month to talk to Congress at the "Hyperloop On the Hill" event.
Virgin's Hyperloop One also has its sights on bringing the high-speed transportation technology to the Windy City. The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission is currently conducting a feasibility study for a proposed hyperloop route connecting Chicago, Columbus and Pittsburgh.
Posted by Judy Lamelza