An artist rendering shows what the Virgin Hyperloop One could look like if it is built in Columbus.

Hyperloop in Ohio? Two firms to study feasibility

Two companies will begin studying the feasibility and environmental impact of a potential hyperloop connecting Columbus, Chicago and Pittsburgh.

Hyperloop One is a worldwide challenge to create a transportation system that moves both people and products quickly. The hyperloop is expected to transport pods of people and goods through a tube — traveling 671 miles per hour. The hyperloop is expected to reduce the commute from Columbus to Chicago to 35 minutes and from Columbus to Pittsburgh to 23 minutes..

AECOM and WSP USA have been hired by the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission to do the studies by July 2019.

The companies will collect data, review existing conditions, provide alternative routes and evaluate infrastructure. The federally-required study will also give local officials an opportunity to win federal funding for the project.

The study will include two potential route alignments for evaluation, one from the original proposal and one alternative to be defined in the study. The potential routes will include at least the following cities: Chicago, Fort Wayne, Lima, Marysville, Columbus and Pittsburgh. The study is expected to be completed by March 2019.

“It is because of visionary transportation agencies like MORPC that hyperloop is moving forward in the United States. We are excited to collaborate with these world-class public and private sector partners to connect the Midwest with rapid speed transport that will fuel future economic activity,” said Virgin Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd. “The potential is enormous – to connect some 20 percent of the nation’s population and economic activity and create a vibrant, globally-competitive Great Lakes Megaregion.”

The Columbus-Pittsburgh-Chicago route is one of 10 potential routes from around the world selected as finalists of the Virgin Hyperloop One Global Challenge, and it was the only route selected that would cross four U.S. states, according to a release.

A second proposal for a hyper loop by Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has proposed a route from Cleveland to Chicago that includes a stop in Dayton.

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