Hyperloop feasibility study for the Great Lakes region finds that the benefits would justify the costs.
First envisioned by entrepreneur Elon Musk as a high-speed alternative to other modes of transportation, the Hyperloop consists of large-scale vacuum tubes with magnetic-levitation tracks that can carry capsules with passengers and/or cargo at speeds of up to 760 mi/h.
On February 26, 2018, the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT) entered into a public private partnership to complete a $1.2 million feasibility study for the technical analysis and evaluation of a Chicago, Illinois to Cleveland, Ohio corridor; known as the Great Lakes Hyperloop Feasibility Study (the corridor would later be extended to Pittsburgh).
Adoption of accessible ultra high-speed transportation has several spillover benefits separate and apart from the faster travel speed. Hyperloop mobility is expected to directly affect: travel time, operating costs, safety, noise pollution, air pollution, carbon footprint, separation effect/property efficiency, interface with existing infrastructure systems (transportation, telecommunications, energy) and maintenance.
The Great Lakes Hyperloop Feasibility Study evaluated the feasibility of an interstate hyperloop network using the existing USDOT Federal Rail Administration and Tiger Grant cost-benefit analysis methodology. The Project Partners utilized the HyperloopTT System embodiments for evaluative purposes. In performing its economic evaluation of the hyperloop corridor, Transportation Economics and Management Systems Inc. (TEMS Inc.) relied on publicly available scientific, economic, and technical reports where available. Where the HyperloopTT System substantially differed from publicly available technical embodiments of other hyperloop systems, HyperloopTT contributed technical specifications and expertise for the benefit of performing the economic analysis, including where the HyperloopTT embodiments enable TEMS to perform their analysis relied upon the technical specifications. To ensure that all of the USDOT FRA criteria and factors are fully evaluated, the study team followed the framework set by USDOT in its grant application guidelines. The economic evaluation framework specified by USDOT for all highspeed ground transportation modes (1997 Commercial Feasibility Study and BUILD Grant Program 2018) was used.
Key Findings from the Great Lakes Hyperloop Feasibility Study: