Virgin Hyperloop One, the University of Missouri System, and engineering consulting company Black & Veatch are conducting a feasibility study to see if a 240-mile stretch of Interstate 70 could be home to one of the first North American Hyperloop systems.
The effort is being championed by the Missouri Hyperloop Coalition, a public-private partnership that is trying to connect Kansas City, Columbia, and St. Louis, Missouri with a high-speed Hyperloop system.
The feasibility study will look at the potential economic impact, and identify the next steps that the coalition needs to take in order to get the project off (or under) the ground. The study will also include the project’s estimated cost, as well as potential funding models for the extensive infrastructure project.
A hyperloop system would dramatically change the transport of goods and people between the highly trafficked corridor. Right now, if you left Kansas City and headed east, it would take you about 3.5 hours to get to St. Louis (about 27 hours by bicycle, and 89 hours if you were walking). With a hyperloop, it would take less than 30 minutes. According to the company, the route has the potential to give greater regional access to the five million residents in the three areas as well as attract new businesses to the area.
With Hyperloop's technology, passengers and cargo are loaded into a pod that accelerates gradually using electric propulsion in a low-pressure tube. The pods lift off of the track using magnetic levitation (or maglev technology) and travel at speeds of up to 640 mph.
The feasibility study may be happening now, but it will still take some time for the tube technology to catch up. In recent tests, the team at Hyperloop One set a record when it hit 240 miles per hour. It's not quite the 640 mph, but that still will take you through that 240-mile corridor in an hour. It beats the traffic anyways.
- "Missouri Is One Step Closer to a Hyperloop with In-Depth Feasibility Study." N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2018 <https://hyperloop-one.com/blog/missouri-one-step-closer-hyperloop-depth-feasibility-study>.