There are some who doubt whether an ultra-fast hyperloop is really possible. But a new study in Missouri suggests it’s not a fantastical concept.
Missouri government and businesspeople partnered with Virgin Hyperloop One last year to study whether a hyperloop that could offer exceedingly fast transportation between St. Louis and Kansas City was feasible. The findings, which were released on Wednesday, suggest not only that it’s feasible, but also that it could save commuters between the two cities $410 million per year.
According to The Verge, which obtained a copy of the results, the study found that the hyperloop should be built alongside the I-70 corridor and offer people an alternative to standard driving. Based on their assessment, the researchers believe 6,000 people during peak transportation hours would utilize the hyperloop. They estimate that it would take just 31 minutes to travel the 248 miles between St. Louis and Kansas City. It currently takes 55 minutes to travel between the cities by plane and nearly four hours in a car.
It’s that time savings and the speed of travel that hyperloop supporters often tout. The hyperloop concept was hatched by Elon Musk in 2013. The concept centers on the idea that a single, massive tube can connect two cities. Transport vehicles inside the tube that could travel at 700 miles per hour would carry people from city to another in far less time it would take to drive or fly. Ultimately, Musk and others believe the concept could transform travel.
Opponents, however, say that hyperloops could be too expensive and technologically advanced. There are also concerns about pressure buildup in the tube harming commuters.
The Missouri study suggests it’s possible. But according to The Verge, it lacked one important component that might ultimately determine whether it’ll work: cost. It’s unclear what the technology might cost and how it would be paid.
Still, for now, the Missouri hyperloop is just a concept. It’s unknown whether it’ll ever make its way to Missouri.