Economic benefits assessed in a feasibility study of a Midwest hyperloop system from Chicago to Pittsburgh total approximately $300 billion, with nearly $19 billion of that in direct transportation benefits.

Study by Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) assesses the potential economic impacts of a hyperloop corridor between Chicago, Columbus and Pittsburgh.

Date Posted

2020 Hyperloop Feasibility Study

Summary Information

The purpose of this study was to determine if a Chicago-Columbus-Pittsburgh corridor is feasible for hyperloop technology at optimal average speeds of 500 miles per hour. This included considerations for route alignments that needed to have limited curves since the technology needs straight alignments to achieve the desired speeds.

The first task was to analyze the existing rail corridor between the three anchor cities to determine if a hyperloop route could be constructed within existing rail corridors. Hyperloop technology experts worked with the study team to determine that, while some portions of the route could be built within existing rail corridors, the route would also need new right-of-way in order to achieve optimal speeds.

Once technical feasibility was confirmed, the study team completed preliminary screenings of the best route and station locations. For route screening, the study looked at environmental constraints, engineering complexity, and right-of-way ownership. For station location screening, the study focused on local preference from community officials, population centers, and adjacent land uses. Potential stations in Ohio were identified in Lima, Marysville, Dublin and Columbus. This does not mean other stations are not feasible – rather, that for this initial study, station locations were limited to those communities which have been working and funding projects under Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC)’s Rapid Speed Transportation Initiative.

The study also performed an economic benefits analysis to demonstrate the economic impacts of a hyperloop corridor between Chicago, Columbus and Pittsburgh. The economic analysis was conducted in accordance with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT’s) 2019 Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) Guidance for a 38 year assessment period beginning with capital outlays in 2022 through to 2029 and 30 years of operations from 2030 to 2059.


  • There is currently no passenger rail service connecting the Fort Wayne-Lima-Columbus-Pittsburgh market. Columbus is currently the second largest metro area in the United States with no passenger rail service.
  • The study analyzed current (year 2015) and forecasted (year 2040) population and employment for the cities of Chicago, Fort Wayne, Lima, Columbus and Pittsburgh only. Fort Wayne and Pittsburgh are expected to grow in population by at least 10 percent between 2015 and 2040, with Chicago and Columbus seeing the highest increase of over 20 percent population growth. All five cities are expected to grow in employment, with at least 12 percent employment growth in Lima and Pittsburgh, and over 15 percent employment growth in Chicago, Fort Wayne and Columbus.
  • The study found that, over 30 years, a hyperloop route would result in the following:
    • 1.9 billion autos shifted to hyperloop passengers
    • 2.4 million tons of reduced CO2 emissions (over $126 million in emissions savings)
    • $300 billion in overall economic benefits (nearly $19 billion of that in direct transportation benefits)

The study identified next steps of: collaborating with stakeholders to advance a certification corridor segment for Virgin Hyperloop One technology in Central Ohio; creating a travel and economic demand advisory panel to improve and further refine the high-level analyses developed under the feasibility study; and working with state and federal transportation officials to advance a regulatory framework for hyperloop technology.

Results Type
Deployment Locations