Tue 30 Jan 2018

Kansas City to St. Louis Hyperloop Project Kicks Off with Feasibility Study


  • Virgin Hyperloop One, Black & Veatch, and University of Missouri System Will Partner to Complete Study


KANSAS CITY, MO (January 30, 2018) – The Missouri Hyperloop Coalition, a public-private partnership dedicated to advancing a hyperloop route linking Kansas City, Columbia, and St. Louis, today announced an agreement to move forward on a groundbreaking, in-depth feasibility study of an ultra-high-speed hyperloop route along I-70 in Missouri. Black and Veatch, a global leader in building critical infrastructure, headquartered in Kansas City, will conduct the study in partnership with Virgin Hyperloop One and the University of Missouri System.


"Led by a coalition that first met through the Governor's Innovation Task Force last summer, the Missouri Hyperloop Coalition is bringing innovators from across Missouri together to imagine how we can act boldly to compete in the future," Missouri's Chief Operating Officer, Drew Erdmann said.


"Black & Veatch is pleased to be part of the Missouri Coalition team working to bring the hyperloop to our region," said Steve Edwards, Chairman and CEO of Black & Veatch. "Working with the team at Virgin Hyperloop One, University of Missouri System and our Coalition partners, we believe our experience in next-generation transportation and large scale infrastructure development will play a key role in moving the project forward."


The feasibility study will analyze the technical alignment as well as the potential economic impact and benefits of integrating hyperloop into the I-70 corridor connecting Kansas City, Columbia, and St. Louis. It will also outline the next steps required for an eventual hyperloop project in the state, including development of a high-level cost estimate and funding model recommendations to enable the project to move forward.


"MoDOT is committed to delivering transportation solutions of lasting value and moving passengers and freight across Missouri safely and reliably. The State of Missouri will be a beneficiary of the feasibility study, and we look forward to contributing data and information to the study. We are especially pleased that the private sector is taking the helm and MoDOT will be able to participate without using Missouri taxpayer dollars," says Michael DeMers, Director of Innovative Partnerships and Alternative Funding at the Missouri Department of Transportation.


"We are very excited and supportive of this effort to bring hyperloop to Missouri," said Mun Choi, president of the University of Missouri System. "This project has enormous economic potential for our state and could improve collaborative efforts of our researchers with colleagues throughout the state in ways we can only imagine right now. Additionally, I believe there are significant benefits to current faculty and students and prospective students with this transformational transportation system."


"By embracing innovations like hyperloop, Missouri can enhance its competitiveness and dramatically alter the way people and goods move," said Virgin Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd. "A hyperloop connection between the state's two thriving cities can help provide millions of residents with greater access to jobs and opportunities -- giving Missouri an undeniable edge in attracting new business and talent."


"The ability to seamlessly connect the economy in Kansas City with the rest of the state, and beyond, should have every business leader dreaming about the possibilities," said KC Tech Council president Ryan Weber. "Tech industry leaders, in particular, are thrilled about the opportunity for our transportation and infrastructure to match the innovative spirit and demonstrated growth in Kansas City's tech community."


"The fact that the broader business community has embraced this opportunity sets Missouri apart," said Andrew Smith, Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the St. Louis Regional Chamber. "We have a long history of transportation innovation-from the birth of the interstate highway system to funding the first trans-Atlantic flight. There is no reason why Missouri can't be the site of the first inter-city hyperloop route."


"It's exciting to see this project moving forward," Rob Dixon, Director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development said. "With innovations like hyperloop, we're demonstrating that Missouri isn't afraid to take on bold new ideas that make our state a better place to live and do business."


Missouri's proposed hyperloop route would connect a combined five million residents in Kansas City, Columbia, and St. Louis with a journey time under 30-minutes, enabling residents to access growing business communities, research universities, and a network of world-class technology, plant science and animal health research hubs. A hyperloop connection could help to ease increasing passenger and freight congestion in the 240-mile corridor.


Hyperloop is a new ultra-high-speed mode of transportation that moves freight and people quickly, safely, on-demand and direct from origin to destination. In a hyperloop, passengers and cargo are loaded into a pod, and accelerate gradually via electric propulsion through a low-pressure tube. The pod quickly lifts above the track using magnetic levitation and glides at speeds up to 640 miles per hour for long distances due to ultra-low aerodynamic drag. Recently Virgin Hyperloop One set a historic test speed record of nearly 240 miles per hour (387 kilometers per hour, 107 meters per second) during its third phase of testing at DevLoop, the world's first full-scale hyperloop test site.


Missouri originally proposed the I-70 route to Virgin Hyperloop One two years ago as part of the Missouri Department of Transportation's "Road to Tomorrow" project to promote innovation along the I-70. The project was also referenced in the summary report issued by the Governor's Innovation Task Force.


Press Assets


To view Missouri's proposed hyperloop route map as well as hyperloop b-roll click here.


About Virgin Hyperloop


Virgin Hyperloop is the only company in the world that has successfully tested hyperloop technology at scale, launching the first new mode of mass transportation in over 100 years. The company successfully operated a full-scale hyperloop vehicle using electric propulsion and electromagnetic levitation under near-vacuum conditions, realizing a fundamentally new form of transportation that is faster, safer, cheaper, and more sustainable than existing modes. The company is now working with governments, partners, and investors around the world to make hyperloop a reality in years, not decades. Learn more about Virgin Hyperloop's technology, vision, and ongoing projects here.


About the Missouri Hyperloop Coalition


Formed in October 2017, the Missouri Hyperloop Coalition is a public-private partnership to advance the building of a hyperloop route linking Kansas City, Columbia, and St. Louis along the I-70 interstate corridor. The coalition is comprised of the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), the St. Louis Regional Chamber, the KC Tech Council, the University of Missouri System, and the Missouri Innovation Center in Columbia. Coalition organizers include Andrew Smith, Bill Turpin, Ryan Weber, and Thomas Blair as well as other private sector leaders.


About Black & Veatch


Black & Veatch is an employee-owned, global leader in building critical human infrastructure in Energy, Water, Telecommunications and Government Services. Since 1915, it has helped clients improve the lives of people in over 100 countries through consulting, engineering, construction, operations and program management. Company revenues in 2016 were $3.2 billion. Follow Black & Veatch at www.bv.com and in social media.


Media Contacts


Virgin Hyperloop
Ryan Kelly
Vice President of Marketing and Communications
press@virginhyperloop.com
+1 (610) 442-1896


Black and Veatch
Patrick MacElroy
macelroyp@bv.com
+1 (516) 477-0914


MoDOT
Michael DeMers
Michael.DeMers@modot.mo.gov
+1 (573) 751-7452


St. Louis Regional Chamber
Andrew G. Smith
asmith@stlregionalchamber.com
+1 (314) 327-2750


Missouri Innovation Center
Bill Turpin
bill@missouriinnovation.com
+1 (408) 482-0915


KC Tech Council
Ryan Weber
ryan@kctechcouncil.com
+1 (816) 804-3461


University of Missouri System
Dr. Mun Choi
umpresident@umsystem.edu


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FAQ

  • Q. What is Virgin Hyperloop?

    We're a privately-held company on a mission to create fast, effortless journeys that expand possibilities and eliminate the barriers of distance and time.

  • Q. Why are you building a hyperloop?

    There are too many people caught bumper-to-bumper in traffic, who have to make a hard choice with their family on where to live and work, and who are limited in their access to experiences and opportunities. We're building a system that will give back time and deliver the travel experience of the future.

  • Q. Why do we need hyperloop now?

    The number of cars is set to double worldwide by 2040, same with air and trucking. We are already dealing with the effects of pollution, lack of access, and congestion. If we only invest in the same technologies we’ve had for more than a century, tomorrow will look like today, only much worse. It’s been over a century since the Wright Brothers first showed us human flight was possible. It’s time for a new era in transportation capable of carrying us forward for the next 100 years.

  • Q. How much funding has Virgin Hyperloop received?

    To date, we have received over $400 million.

  • Q. Who are the key investors in Virgin Hyperloop?

    A major investor of ours is DP World, a leading enabler of global trade who sees the potential of sustainable hyperloop-enabled cargo systems. Additionally, we are backed by the Virgin Group, an industry leader across rail, aviation, ships, and even spacecrafts. For more on our investors, visit the company page.

  • Q. Does Virgin Hyperloop have any partners?

    Virgin Hyperloop One is the only hyperloop company that has a strategic partnership with a mass transportation company, the Virgin Group, an industry leader across rail, aviation, ships, and even spacecrafts. Another key partner of ours is DP World, a leading enabler of global trade who sees the potential of sustainable hyperloop-enabled cargo systems. Other industry-leading partners include KPMG, Foster + Partners, Systra, BIG, SNCF, GE, Deutsche Bahn, Black & Veatch, McKinsey, Deloitte, Jacobs, Turner & Townsend, ARUP, and Steer, among others.

  • Q. Is Elon Musk an investor or affiliated with Virgin Hyperloop?

    No, there’s no connection with Elon Musk.

  • Q. How do you plan to scale up operations around the world?

    We aren't just building a hyperloop; we're building a network of public and private partners to scale an integrated supply chain ecosystem. Our business model is based on partnerships that create local jobs and opportunities for those who choose to invest in this technology. We are working at the highest level of governments around the globe to put in place commercial agreements to make hyperloop a reality.

  • Q. What is hyperloop?

    Hyperloop is a new mode of transportation designed to eliminate the barriers of distance and time for both people and freight. It can travel at speeds approaching 700mph, connecting cities like metro stops - and it has zero direct emissions. The journeys can be booked on demand so there’s no wait time or delays.

  • Q. How does hyperloop work?

    With hyperloop, vehicles, called pods, accelerate gradually via electric propulsion through a low-pressure tube. The pod floats along the track using magnetic levitation and glides at airline speeds for long distances due to ultra-low aerodynamic drag.

  • Q. Has hyperloop technology been proven?

    On May 12th, 2017, we made history two minutes after midnight when we successfully launched our vehicle using electromagnetic propulsion and levitation under near-vacuum conditions at our full-scale test site in the Nevada Desert. We've since run hundreds of tests, acquiring validated knowledge that only comes from real-world testing. For more info on DevLoop, our 500 m test track, visit our progress page.

  • Q. How fast can hyperloop go?

    We estimate that the top speed for a passenger vehicle or light cargo will be 670 miles per hour or 1080 kilometers per hour. That is about 3 times faster than high-speed rail and 10-15 times faster than traditional rail. The average speed vehicles travel will vary based on the route and customer requirements.

  • Q. Why keep the tube at low-pressure and not at a perfect vacuum?

    A perfect vacuum would decrease the drag on the vehicle even more, but not significantly. We have already gotten rid of 99.9% of the air in the tube. Lower levels of vacuum than this are important if you are performing scientific experiments, but the cost would not be worthwhile.

  • Q. How is hyperloop different from high-speed trains?

    Hyperloop is an entirely new mode - think the best of trains, planes, and the metro. Hyperloop is on-demand, offering flexible travel schedules with no stops, no transfers, and no weather delays – all at speeds about 3 times faster than high-speed-rail and less cost. Hyperloop is highly efficient, with a smaller environmental impact than high-speed rail because the closed system can be tunneled below or elevated above ground, avoiding dangerous at-grade crossings. The VHO system is 100% electric and can reach higher speeds than high-speed rail for less energy due to our proprietary electric motor and low-drag environment.

  • Q. Is hyperloop safe?

    Fast, effortless journeys go hand-in-hand with journeys where everything works reliably without interference, and where all passengers feel comfortable and safe. The Virgin Hyperloop is designed to be inherently safer than other modes, with multiple redundancies in place. Our system operates autonomously in an enclosed tube and is not susceptible to weather delays, accidents from at-grade crossings, human error, or power outages. Our proprietary high-speed switching architecture eliminates unsafe track configurations and moving trackside parts, a failure point of traditional rail with mechanical switches.

  • Q. How do you plan to get hyperloop certified?

    As new mode, we have to prove our safety case to regulators and work with them to develop a regulatory framework, so passengers can ride the hyperloop in years not decades. We are encouraged by the support we are seeing at the local and federal level around the world to support hyperloop certification based on the fundamentals of safe operating that are already standard practice. In March 2019, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao, created the Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology (NETT) Council to explore the regulation and permitting of hyperloop technology to bring this new form of mass transportation to the United States. This Council is an important step forward in recognizing hyperloop is a new transportation mode and that we need to shift our mindset and acknowledge that this technology does not fit into a regulatory structure that is over 100 years old. The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DGMOVE) has also been leading discussions with hyperloop companies to advance regulatory standards and, in India, the Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA), Prof. Vijayraghavan, has set up an independent committee called the Consultative Group on Future of Transportation (CGFT) to explore the regulatory path for hyperloop. For more, visit our regulatory progress pages.

  • Q. What will it feel like to ride hyperloop?

    While flying through a tube at more than 1000km/h might seem like a thrill ride, the truth is we are able to mitigate any uncomfortable acceleration forces within our controlled environment. The journey will be so smooth, you could sip a coffee the whole time without spilling a single drop. Normal acceleration and deceleration of 0.20 Gs will feel similar to a train. As a comparison, flooring a typical sedan gives between 0.4-0.5 Gs and commercial airplanes see 0.3-0.5Gs depending on the plane and load.

  • Q. What happens if there's a sudden breach in the tube?

    Pods will continue to travel safely to the next portal even with a large breach. Our response to a breach would be to intentionally repressurize the tube with small valves places along the route length while engaging pod brakes to safely bringing all pods to rest before it is deemed safe to continue to the next portal. A sustained leak could impact performance (speed) but would not pose a safety issue due to vehicle and system architectural design choices. This assessment is based in solid understanding and analysis of the complex vehicle load behaviors during such an event.

  • Q. Is hyperloop sustainable?

    Without a massive leap forward, pollution from the transportation industry is expected to almost double by 2050 - well above the carbon budget. By combining an ultra-efficient electric motor, magnetic levitation, and a low-drag environment, the VHO system can reach airline speeds for 5-10x less energy (depends on route length) and can go faster than high-speed rail using less energy. In regions like the Middle East, we could power the system completely by solar panels which cover the tube. As fighting against climate change becomes an existential issue for cities across the globe, hyperloop will create a new, shared, electric mobility model for helping to permanently reform an industry with some of the world’s highest carbon emissions.

  • Q. How much energy does hyperloop use?

    We are designing Virgin Hyperloop to be more efficient than other modes of transportation. Modern jetliners use up to 10 times the energy we use per passenger-mile over the entire journey. We can cruise at 500 miles per hour for less energy (per passenger) than an electric car doing 60 miles per hour. At peak speed, the VHO system consumes approximately 75 watt hours per passenger kilometer (Wh/pax-km). To put this in perspective, the fastest conventional maglev train travels at about half our speed and consumes 33% more energy.

  • Q. Where will hyperloop get its power?

    Our system is 100% electric with zero direct emissions. We're energy-agnostic. Our system can draw power from whichever energy sources are available along the route and support a transition to a renewable energy-powered future. In regions like the Middle East, we can completely power the system with solar panels which cover the tube.

  • Q. How much noise does hyperloop make?

    It’s similar those new electric vehicles that are so quiet they need to create noise to indicate movement. With hyperloop, we eliminate sources of mechanical noise, like wheels on track, and we actually have a sound barrier inherent in our tube design

  • Q. Can hyperloop be used for cargo?

    DP World Cargospeed is a global brand for hyperloop-enabled cargo systems operated by DP World and enabled by Virgin Hyperloop technology. These systems will deliver freight at the speed of flight and closer to the cost of trucking for fast, sustainable, and efficient delivery of palletized cargo.

  • Q. What type of cargo would a hyperloop system transport?

    The focus would be on high-priority, on-demand goods – fresh food, medical supplies, electronics, and more.

  • Q. How can hyperloop help transform logistics?

    With DP World Cargospeed, deliveries can be completed in hours versus days with greater reliability and fewer delays. It will expand freight transportation capacity by connecting with existing modes of road, rail, ports, and air transport, and will provide greater connectivity with manufacturing parks, economic zones, distribution centers, and regional urban centers. This can shrink inventory lead times, help reduce finished goods inventory, and cut required warehouse space and cost by 25%. DP World Cargospeed networks can also enable just-in-time, agile manufacturing practices.

  • Q. Will the first hyperloops be passenger or cargo systems?

    The Virgin Hyperloop is unique in that it doesn’t need to be passenger-only or cargo-only. We are designing a mixed-use system that fully utilizes system capacity while maximizing economic and social benefits. However, it is possible to run cargo commercial operations while certification and regulation are still ongoing for passenger use.

  • Q. When will hyperloop systems be ready for cargo and passengers?

    We are working with the most visionary governments around the world to make sure you can ride the hyperloop in years, not decades. Our goal is to have operational systems in the late 2020s. Our ability to meet that goal will depend on how fast the regulatory and statutory processes move.

  • Q. Where will the first hyperloop get built?

    We are working with visionary governments and partners around the world to make hyperloop a reality today. To learn more about our projects around the world, visit our progress page.

  • Q. How much will hyperloop cost to build and operate?

    Capital and operating costs will range widely based on the route. We recently released a study that showed our linear costs are 60-70% that of high-speed rail projects. In addition, we expect the operational costs to be significantly lower than existing forms of transportation.

  • Q. How much will hyperloop cost to ride?

    It’s simple – if it’s not affordable, people won't use it. We are looking to build something that will expand opportunities for the masses, so they can live in one city with their family and work in another. Currently, that kind of high-speed transport is not feasible for most people. The exact ticket price will vary for each route, but a recent study showed that riding a hyperloop in Missouri could cost less than the gas needed to drive.

  • Q. How are hyperloop routes selected?

    We are in the business of serving local needs, not the other way around. Public and private support is key. In some cases, we will respond to solicited bids with partners when we feel the technology matches the project’s objectives. In other cases, we will make an unsolicited bid for a project when we see that hyperloop could offer a unique solution to market needs.

  • Q. What is the process for getting a passenger route up and running?

    While the technology is different, the process for building a hyperloop is similar to that of building a highway, railway, or any other type of linear infrastructure. The first stage is project development. This phase includes feasibility studies, and then more detailed engineering reports and environmental impact studies. Once a project is approved to move forward, a consortium is formed to finance and deliver on the project.

  • Q. How much land does hyperloop require?

    Many infrastructure projects succeed or fail based on right-of-way issues. We are designing a system that requires only about half the right-of-way as high-speed rail and can more easily adapt to existing right-of-ways. At high speeds, the VHO system has a 4.5 times tighter turn radius compared to high-speed rail and can climb grades that are 6 times steeper, reducing the disturbance at crossings. Portals will be purposely integrated into and support existing communities and landscapes. Low noise levels will expand opportunities to build hyperloops closer to the city center.

  • Q. With the focus on connecting cities, how will hyperloop support rural communities?

    Hyperloop also holds enormous promise for rural communities. Virgin Hyperloop systems can be built below or above ground, which means no one’s farm needs to be cut in half. Our system enables rural areas to retain residents, who can now have more access to urban job centers, educational opportunities, and health care facilities. Additionally, hyperloop could enable freight distribution centers to be placed in rural areas, leading to job growth and industrial clusters. After a system is built, there is the opportunity to add additional on and off-ramps, supporting a greater number of people along the route.

  • Q. How will hyperloop projects be financed?

    Transportation infrastructure has traditionally relied on extensive government funding. This is because the benefits of clean, safe, and efficient transportation are enjoyed by the entire community, not just the user buying a ticket. However, most existing mass transportation modes are unprofitable and hindered by existing infrastructure built in the past century or by legacy systems. We want to change that and are focused on public-private partnerships. By developing a new mode of transportation from scratch, we're able to leverage technological developments that have occurred in the last century, especially the IT revolution. We're able to keep maintenance costs low, energy efficiency high, and transport tens of thousands of passengers per hour. This keeps margins and accessibility high, contributing to more financially attractive returns than if the corridor was served by existing modes. These benefits aren’t just hypothetical. While this is an exceptional case due to high demand, a third-party evaluation found that our Mumbai-Pune Hyperloop Project could be funded 100% by private capital. In the U.S. we see enormous potential to attract investment from the private sector, leveraging public investments. Involving government stakeholders as well as potential private investors early in the project development process is critical.

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