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Columbus clears first major hurdle for hyperloop technology

Columbus clears first major hurdle for hyperloop technology

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One of the original sins of the initial Columbus city planners was not implementing a subway system. Public transportation in the capital city is usually a mixed bag of uncertainties, but Columbus may just be getting the consolation prize that they’ve been waiting for since 2012.

On Wednesday, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) released a report that detailed cities with a feasible location for hyperloop technology. The locations listed in the final “Midwest Connect” Hyperloop Feasibility Study included routes connecting Columbus to Chicago (via Lima, Ohio, and Fort Wayne, Indiana) and Pittsburgh.

The price to travel from Columbus to Chicago or Columbus to Pittsburgh is very practical. At an estimated cost of $0.20 per mile fare cost, a trip to Chi-town will run you about $60 while it’ll only cost you $33 to visit Mister Rogers’ neighborhood.

Columbus became a hotspot for hyperloop technology beginning in 2018. The proposed transportation technology has the potential to “spur economic growth, generate opportunities for development, and create new opportunities for people and businesses in the Midwest megaregion.”

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Some of the additional findings from the study that strengthened the hyperloop case for Columbus included straight track alignment for optimal speeds, no current passenger rail service, and exponential population and employment growth.

The long-term potential economic benefits of the Hyperloop as outlined by the MORPC include:

  • 1.9 billion automobile drivers converted to hyperloop passengers 
  • 2.4 million tons ($126 million) of reduced CO2 emissions
  • 450 million commercial truck vehicle hours traveled eliminated 
  • $300 billion in overall economic benefits
    • $19 billion directly from transportation benefits

Although the findings in the study don’t guarantee that a hyperloop will eventually run through Columbus, it’s a major step in the right direction.

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