The high-speed transport technology will be included in a federally-required environmental impact study being compiled by WSP and in a feasibility study that Aecom is carrying out.
The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) announced the inclusion of hyperloop as part of its Rapid-Speed Transportation Initiative (RSTI) project. The work will include both feasibility and environmental impact studies (EIS) to explore intercity routes between Chicago, Columbus, and Pittsburgh that could use either traditional passenger rail or Virgin Hyperloop One technology -.
“MORPC and its public and private partners in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Pennsylvania are excited to take this important next step in moving innovative transportation technology forward in Central Ohio and across the Midwest,” said MORPC executive director William Murdock. “This is the first route in the world that incorporates hyperloop technology into both a feasibility study and an environmental impact study. Adding Aecom and WSP to the RSTI team demonstrates our commitment to this effort.”
Virgin Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd added: “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. 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.”
Midwest Connect, spearheaded by MORPC and other regional partners, was one of 10 global winners of the Virgin Hyperloop One Global Challenge. It was the only route selected in the United States to cross over four states; Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.
In the first phase of the initiative, Aecom will conduct the feasibility study of hyperloop technology for the corridor, building upon the work already completed by MORPC. The study will also include two potential route alignments for evaluation. At minimum, the potential routes will include the following cities: Chicago, Fort Wayne, Lima, Marysville, Columbus and Pittsburgh. The study is expected to be completed by March.
For the second phase of the initiative, WSP USA will conduct Tier One of the environmental impact study (EIS) of the corridor. The EIS, which is expected to be completed in July, will collect data, document existing conditions, prepare a purpose and need statement, provide route alternatives and service alternatives for proposed routes,and evaluate infrastructure investments.