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The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) has announced that AECOM and WSP USA will be the lead consultants on the feasibility and environmental impact studies within MORPC’s Rapid-Speed Transportation Initiative (RSTI).
This involves exploring intercity routes between Chicago, Columbus and Pittsburgh that could use Virgin Hyperloop One’s technology.
This will be one of the first studies to initiate both a feasibility and environmental impact investigation around hyperloop technology.
“MORPC and its public and private partners in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Pennsylvania are excited to take this important next step in moving innovative transportation technology forward in Central Ohio and across the Midwest,” said MORPC Executive Director, William Murdock. “This is the first route in the world that incorporates hyperloop technology into both a feasibility study and an environmental impact study. Adding AECOM and WSP to the RSTI team demonstrates our commitment to this effort.”
AECOM will conduct the feasibility study of hyperloop technology, including visioning and technology application, route planning, transportation demand and economic benefit analysis, regulatory framework and implementation strategy, project management, and stakeholder and public engagement.
The study will include two potential route alignments for evaluation. One option follows the rail corridor featured in the Hyperloop One Global Challenge Midwest Connect corridor proposal, the other is an alternative to be defined. The study is expected to be completed by March 2019.
“It is because of visionary transportation agencies like MORPC that hyperloop is moving forward in the United States,” said Virgin Hyperloop One CEO, Rob Lloyd. “We are excited to collaborate with these world-class public and private sector partners to connect the Midwest with rapid speed transport that will fuel future economic activity. The potential is enormous – to connect approximately 20 per cent of the nation’s population and economic activity and create a vibrant, globally-competitive Great Lakes Megaregion.”
WSP USA will conduct Tier One of the environmental impact study (EIS). The components of this study will collect data, document existing conditions, prepare a purpose and need statement, provide route and service alternatives, evaluate infrastructure investments and coordinate public involvement. The EIS is expected to be completed in July 2019.
Midwest Connect, led by MORPC and other regional partners, was one of 10 global winners of the Virgin Hyperloop One Global Challenge. The advanced route analysis, essential in winning the challenge, included the only route to cross four states. It is also the first in the U.S. to focus on leveraging major freight assets in the Midwest, the epicentre of freight movement in North America.
This article first appeared on www.globalrailwayreview.com
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