Tech Travel

The Hyperloop – Kansas City to Saint Louis in 28 minutes

If you have never heard of the term Hyperloop, you’re probably not as obsessed with new technology as I. The ‘too long; didn’t read’ version is that the Hyperloop concept was introduced by Elon Musk back in 2013 as an electromagnetically levitated pod that glides through a tube at speeds up to 670mph, providing a more efficient method of travel for passengers at a fraction of the cost of air travel.

The Virgin Hyperloop One team, a ~280 employee company based out of LA, is one of the major firms attempting to bring this concept to reality. Recently, the team hired Black and Veatch, a global engineering company, to perform a major study to determine if this project would be viable on the heavy commuter route of Kansas City to Saint Louis, a ~250 mile/3.5 hour trip.

route

The consensus? It’s viable.

With the technology today, the team suggests the completed project would allow passengers to complete the trip in 28 minutes, for a price tag of around $30 (less than what gas would cost if one were to drive).

The test track for Virgin Hyperloop One exists today only as a test bed in the Nevada desert, but this study moves the Kansas City — Saint Louis corridor one step closer to reality as the first project of its kind. Additional studies will take place to weigh the viability of the other contenders; L.A. to San Diego, Reno to Las Vegas, Seattle to Portland, and a handful of others.

hyperloop one test track

So what makes Kansas City to Saint Louis a good choice?

A few things, at least.

First off, I-70 runs straight from the middle of downtown Kansas City right to the heart of Saint Louis. This straight-line approach makes planning significantly easier, as they don’t have to worry about buying up private land to build their tube through. The federal government already has right of way with the interstate, so the proposal plops the Hyperloop tubes right between the two directions of traffic, significantly reducing costs.

The other reason, that I feel warrants discussion at a high level, is the amount of commuter traffic that takes place every day between the two cities. I am always surprised to hear how many technology vendors, businessmen, and others make the KC/St. Louis trip on a daily or weekly basis; just about every vendor that I work with lives in St. Louis and has to make the trip to KC to meet with their business partners and take part in sales initiatives on a very regular basis. This solution would not only make that significantly less painful time-wise, but also reduce the number of vehicle accidents, reduce emissions, and provide a cost savings for all parties involved.

There is still a long way to go until this becomes a reality, but this is a huge step in the right direction. The heartland of the US seems like a great option to get the Hyperloop party started.

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JoyB
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JoyB

That makes a whole lot of sense, but I think the ticket price might be an issue initially. Most people don’t think through the cost of gas per round trip. Then there’s the transportation issues once you reach where you’re going.

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