Only three routes around the world will ultimately be picked for development.

How would you like to go from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Houston, Texas in less than two hours without getting on an airplane? That’s 1,152 miles across the center of the United States, but since most people work and live in denser areas, how about Los Angeles to San Diego in 15 minutes, or Miami to Orlando in a half-hour? Those are three of 11 routes being proposed for the U.S. by Hyperloop One – perhaps the most colorful of startups building on Elon Musk’s idea of sending people and goods through tubes at near supersonic speeds.

The 11 routes were proposed by competing teams taking part in Hyperloop One’s Global Challenge. Of more than 2,600 participants in the contest, 11 teams in the U.S. presented routes that link 35 cities and cover over 2,800 miles. 24 additional teams from around the world are also part of the challenge; eventually that will be whittled down to 12 finalists of which three winners will be chosen.

What do these winners actually get? In short, the winners will be the locations where Hyperloop One will build its first super-duper transport tunnels. Rob Lloyd, Hyperloop One’s chief executive officer, says the company will have a team of 500 engineers, fabricators, scientists, and other employees ready to bring the technology to life by the end of the year.

 

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The technology of which he speaks includes creating a near vacuum in the transport tube, then propelling pods via magnets to speeds up to 700 miles per hour. It’s way more complicated than that obviously, but with very little resistance it would be an exceptionally efficient method of transportation, and the science behind it is sound. Equally sound are the concerns about safety, be it from terrorist attacks or plain-old Mother Nature. Imagine clipping along at a cool 600 mph on that LA to San Diego route when a 6.0 earthquake hits. Even minor damage at such speeds would almost certainly be disastrous.

Hyperloop One has also had more than its share of legal drama. Lawsuits and countersuits involving top executives rocked the startup last summer, with an undisclosed settlement finally being reached in November.

Still, the hyperloop could revolutionize transportation. Even if used primarily for transporting goods, that would free up all kinds of commerce traffic on highways. Smaller loops in busy metro areas like Atlanta or Chicago could take a big dent out of rush-hour traffic. Atlanta isn’t one of the cities served in the proposed routes, but Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Seattle, and Portland – as well as the cities mentioned previously – are among the semi-finalists.

Check the press release below for complete information on the proposed routes and distances.

Source: Hyperloop One

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