Florida Interview

Connecting Orlando with Miami Beach

Gretchen Ushakova
Strategic Communications

Part two of a series highlighting the Hyperloop One Global Challenge semifinalists and their Hyperloop routes.

In the great “Sunshine State” of Florida, even the state nickname is designed to attract tourists. Over 112 million tourists (5 for every 1 resident) flocked to Florida’s world-class attractions, beaches, and cruises last year.   

What would it mean for Florida’s $82 billion tourism industry if it were possible to fly into Miami and travel to Disney World in less than 30 minutes? This isn’t a ride in Fantasyland, but rather the plan representatives from Florida’s transportation and planning agencies laid out at Hyperloop One’s recent Vision for America event.

Miami to Orlando Route

The Florida representatives propose a Hyperloop between Miami and Orlando with extensions east and west to Florida’s coastal cities, and eventually stretching north to additional U.S. cities. Hyperloop Florida would connect the state’s most populated regions, transportation and trade hubs, and attractions.

We sat down with the director and assistant director of Miami-Dade’s Department of Transportation and Public Works, Alice Bravo and Carlos Cruz-Casas, who shared how Hyperloop could help boost the state’s tourist economy and create a mega-region within Florida.

Creating a Tourist Corridor  

66 million people visited Orlando alone making it one of the most visited cities in the U.S.

Many arrive via Orlando International Airport, which is already over capacity, welcoming 2 million more passengers in 2016 than it was built to handle. 50 million people fly or drive between Orlando and South Florida annually, jamming roads and straining airport capacity.

By connecting Orlando and Miami with a 26-minute travel time, the two cities can create a tourist and economic megahub. Travelers could fly into either airport and easily transport to attractions throughout Florida reducing regional flights and increasing airport capacity.

Hyperloop can also boost Miami’s 18 cruise lines. The Port of Miami holds the world record for number of cruise passengers. With a Hyperloop in place, visitors at Disney World could also take a cruise from Miami all in one week without losing a day to travel between the two cities.    

Beyond Tourism

Connecting the Port of Miami via Hyperloop could also dramatically improve the movement of goods throughout Florida and eventually the rest of the country. The port is the ninth largest seaport in the U.S. and the primary gateway to Latin America, and the only major port south of Virginia currently capable of handling the largest shipping vessels in the world. Hyperloop could speed the movement of high-value freight including fresh foods and vegetables from Latin America.

Additionally, the port of Miami takes up a large portion of downtown complex. Miami Beach has already undertaken a recognized restoration of portions of their waterfront. Hyperloop would allow the City of Miami and the County to do the same for its prime waterfront real estate.

“Hyperloop could help move goods inland from the Port of Miami freeing up space currently used for backland operations, container storage, and trucking operations,” according to Nick Earle, Hyperloop One SVP for Global Field Operations and Marketing speaking today at the Container Terminal Automation Conference in London. “New waterfront access means room for parks, recreation, marinas, commercial developments and residential complexes.”

The Florida representatives are well on their way to gathering the support needed to move the Hyperloop from an idea to reality. They already have the backing of the Miami Dade Department of Transportation and Public Works, Florida Department of Transportation, Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization, AECOM, and additional private and public-sector partners.

“This is reality and we’re excited to see how we can make this a project on the ground,” said Carlos Cruz-Casas.