Part of a series highlighting proposed U.S. routes from the Hyperloop One Global Challenge. Posts featured Hyperloop proposals in the Midwest, Texas, Florida, and Nevada. Update: The US: Pueblo-Denver-Cheyenne route was named one of ten winners of the Challenge and Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Hyperloop One and AECOM entered into a public-private partnership to begin feasibility study in September 2017.
When Americans think of Colorado they usually think of sweeping Rocky Mountain vistas and outdoor wonderlands, not bumper-to-bumper traffic. But locals know that hassle all too well, especially during rush hour. Shailen Bhatt, the executive director of Colorado’s Department of Transportation, doesn’t want Colorado to become synonymous with congestion, but he is battling uphill against strong population growth.
“Colorado’s transportation network was planned in the 1950s and built in the 1960s for the population of the 1980s,” says Bhatt. By 1990, Colorado’s population had reached three million. Today, the state has 5.3 million people and is expected to grow to 8 million over the next 20 years as new residents are drawn to the state for its plentiful jobs and famed outdoor lifestyle. “I can’t build my way out of the current congestion, let alone the congestion that will come,” Bhatt noted in a recent article in Wired.
Representatives from Rocky Mountain Hyperloop believe that Hyperloop One could help address Colorado’s future transportation challenges, and transform the Front Range into a 200-mile-long mega-region with less congestion and more efficient access to some of the most beautiful natural resources in the world. They shared with us their plan for connecting Colorado at our recent Vision for America event.
Anywhere in the Colorado Front Range in 30 Minutes
Larry Loften works for the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley but lives an hour away in Northglenn, a suburb of Denver. Every day he gets up around 5:30 a.m. to make the 54-mile trek along I-25 and departs at 4:30 p.m. in order to pick up his kids and beat traffic.
“As a higher education professional, there are only so many opportunities at universities in the area. So it’s either move or learn to live with the commute,” said Loften. Like Loften, many professionals choose lengthy commutes along the Colorado Front Range rather than relocating, a dynamic that adds to congestion on the state’s few interstate routes.
Rocky Mountain Hyperloop’s ultimate plan is to connect the cities along the Front Range from Cheyenne to Pueblo with commute times between any cities clocking in at under 30 minutes.
This would bolster Colorado’s booming sectors in aerospace, high tech, bioscience, health services, science-led agribusiness, and renewable energy by improving accessibility and connectivity between employers and talent, industry clusters, and the thirty research institutions in the state.
Metro Denver ranks first among the 50 largest metros for aerospace workers per capita. Hyperloop could link this talent with employers in Denver, Boulder/Longmont, and Colorado Springs. Similarly, Greeley has one of the fastest growing renewable energy sectors and could connect with renewable energy manufacturing plants in Pueblo and research facilities in Denver, Boulder, and Longmont.
Hyperloop would also support passenger and freight movement through Denver International Airport. It would create efficient, packetized connections to distribution facilities and help boost the movement of high-value and time sensitive freight throughout the entire Rocky Mountain region.
The Rocky Mountain Hyperloop plan has garnered great support from institutions throughout Colorado including Colorado Department of Transportation, the City and County of Denver, Denver International Airport, the City of Greeley, AECOM and other public and private institutions.
“The Hyperloop technology directly aligns with our goals of reducing the cost of transporting goods, of turning rural state highways into zero death roads, and of decreasing congestion within Colorado’s critical corridors,” says Bhatt.