High-Tech Shuttles to Blow Past Rush-Hour Traffic
Someday in the city’s increasingly science-fiction-like future, you’ll be able to sit in your 20-year-old Volvo station wagon and race from one end of the city to the other at a peak speed of 200 mph.
A futuristic transport that resembles a sled might just carry both of you, or even a semi-tractor trailer, on a track from point A to B rapidly and bypass heavy downtown traffic, Car and Driver magazine’s Pete Bigelow reported.
Improbable? Maybe. Impossible? Who knows? Brogan BamBrogan, an engineer who was a part of the pioneering space transport company SpaceX, and state transportation planners, aim to find out.
BamBrogan and his company, Arrivo, are developing the plans for a relatively short-range, high-speed system inspired by the Hyperloop One program.
Hyperloop, which BamBrogan cofounded, and which is also working with Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), is developing an intercity system that propels passenger shuttles through low-pressure tubes at speeds north of 500 m.p.h. Colorado is in the running with several other states to operate the first-ever functioning Hyperloop system. Hyperloop One received some extra credibility and a new name, “Virgin Hyperloop One,” in October as famed billionaire Sir Richard Branson invested $85 million into the program, Forbes reported.
CDOT, under the leadership of departing executive director Shailen Bhatt, has been actively encouraging all kinds of next-generation transportation modes and road enhancements to decrease the mounting numbers of serious and fatal auto accidents and to cope with the demands Colorado’s increasing population places on existing roadways.
Work Starting Soon
Arrivo’s crews will begin building a test track near the E-470 tollway in a few months, Car and Driver says. If it works, the partnership’s leaders intend to start building infrastructure and open one commercial route within four or five years. They’re eventually planning to build a whole network of tracks that will carry cars and cargo trucks across the metro area in minutes.
The company plans to spend between $10 million and $15 million on a research facility and the test track. It plans to hire 40-50 engineers in 2018 and increase that number to 200 engineers by 2020, the Denver Post reported. The company will qualify for about $760,000 in state incentives if it meets its hiring goals.
Beating Rush-Hour Traffic
While Hyperloop is focusing on moving people between cities; Arrivo is focusing on helping people get across the Denver metropolitan area fast.
Arrivo users may someday drive into a station and guide their vehicles into one of four types of carrier pods. The pod levitates on magnets, as a Japanese bullet train does, and sits in an enclosed track lined with electromagnets. The magnets quietly pull the pod along to increasing, incredible speeds, twice as fast as you’ve ever traveled on land. Rush-hour traffic on the adjoining Interstate rushes back past the windows in a blur theoretically, allowing a driver to cross the city in eight minutes. When asked, BamBrogan stated:
“What it means is that the whole region could be connected within 20 minutes. You can have dinner in Boulder and dessert in Golden, or get from Castle Rock to the airport in 13 minutes. We connect to other forms of transportation, too, so really we want to unlock the whole region within 20 minutes or less. And with Denver seeing a massive population spike, it can enable mobility and keep housing prices within reach. At a macro level, it enables the whole region to remain healthy.”