Imagine cutting a trip that takes an hour or two down to a few minutes. That’s the basis behind the vacuum-sealed tube known as a “hyperloop."
The startup Hyperloop One has created an international competition for the first working hyperloop transportation system, and three teams from the 35 semifinalists have proposed hyperloop tubes along Colorado’s Front Range.
- One is the Rocky Mountain Hyperloop network, backed by the Colorado Department of Transportation. The first phase would be between Greeley and Denver International Airport, and would later extend to Cheyenne, Wyoming and Pueblo, with an offshoot west to Vail.
- The second is the proposed Colorado Hyperloop, connecting Cheyenne and Pueblo with a branch to Greeley.
- The third would wind a hyperloop tube from Cheyenne, Wyoming through Colorado to Houston, Texas.
Winners of the competition will be able to use Hyperloop One’s network of partners and its technology to raise funds for the project.
Shailen Bhatt, CDOT’s executive director, told Denver Business Journal that CDOT’s team has spoken with the others and is willing to work with them if they win.
“I’m open to anything that will help us move people and freight in a safe manner — the reason there are three groups coming out of Colorado is because of the significant transportation challenges that we have in Colorado,” Bhatt said to the journal.
A test track has been built in Nevada with a demonstration scheduled for next month, Nick Earle, senior vice president of global field operations and co-founder of Hyperloop One, told the DBJ.
State-level support, such as what CDOT provides its team, is critical for the semifinalists making their cases on building in their region, Earle said.
"We can build it, but [if] we’re stuck in the permitting cycle for four or five years, then we’ll go somewhere else,” he said.
You can read all the reporting in the Denver Business Journal.