The creation of a transport-in-a-subway system that promises to get passengers from Houston to Dallas in 30 minutes was heavily promoted by the federal government on March 12th.
During an appearance at SXSW, US Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said she had set up a transportation technology council aimed at removing regulatory and legal barriers to the traffic-calming Virgin Hyperloop One concept and similar transit innovations.
In September 2017, the company behind Hyperloop One selected a 640-mile route in Texas for the initiative. The futuristic system – with passengers riding in pods carried through a massive tube – would connect Houston, Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Laredo, and San Antonio. Hyperloop One would have two stops each in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas and one each in Austin, Laredo and San Antonio.
Hyperloop One’s north-south section would run between Dallas-Fort Worth and Laredo, while the east-west section would run between Houston and San Antonio. As now envisaged, a journey between Austin and Dallas would take 19 minutes at a speed of up to 100 km / h – two to three times faster than a high-speed line and ten to 15 times faster than a conventional train. A drive from Houston to Austin would take 21 minutes while a hike from Houston to San Antonio would take 26 minutes.
“Texas is exploring how to make Hyperloop a state and local level, but federal support is a key key to being certified and successful,” said Ryan Kelly, director of marketing and communications for Virgin Hyperloop One CultureMap. “It’s exciting that the federal government is recognizing us as a potential new mode of transportation that can be a leap forward for America. Hopefully Texas can lead the way. “
Aside from Texas, Virgin Hyperloop One has US projects underway in Colorado, Missouri, and the Chicago-Columbus-Pittsburgh corridor. The Virgin Group, led by Sir Richard Branson, is one of the investors in Hyperloop One.
The Federal Council unveiled at SXSW will help expedite a unique transportation network in the US that shares components with trains, airplanes, and self-driving vehicles. Council members will examine technological innovations such as transit tunnels and self-driving vehicles to accelerate the development of Virgin Hyperloop One and other emerging mass transit systems.
“Hyperloop is a new form of transportation designed for the 21st century,” said Jay Walder, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop One, in a press release. “We want to be the company that leads the next big leap in transportation here in the US, but we know we can’t do it alone.”
Kelly says it’s unclear when Texas passengers might be able to travel on Virgin Hyperloop One’s network, but the company hopes the first route – wherever it is – will be ready by the end of 2028.