Technology and Transportation – the Links Between East and West

Nearly a year ago, in January 2017, the roll-out of the Columbus Smart City plan was announced.  As highlighted in one of our previous newsletters, it is a comprehensive plan proposed in October of 2016 includes new technologies, connected infrastructure, electric vehicles, integrated data platforms, and more. You may be asking “what’s next?”. Developments and plans for Smart City can be found on the Smart Columbus homepage (https://www.columbus.gov/smartcolumbus/). But that is not going to be the most recent project developing in Columbus. Now, it is the Hyperloop!

The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission has proposed a plan to build a high-speed transportation system between Chicago-Columbus-Pittsburgh. It was announced in September of 2017 that the Midwest route is one of ten international finalists chosen, and one of four in the U.S.

Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, invented the Hyperloop. It is a high-speed transportation system incorporating reduced-pressure tubes in which pressurized capsules ride on an air cushion driven by linear induction motor and air compressors. This new transportation technology will be a game changer for many industries.

The first industry is the aviation industry. If the Hyperloop is established, a 7-hour flight would take half the time. The airline companies that will be affected are those whose revenue comes from the domestic market. Next is the freight industry. Giant companies like Amazon will be very interested in high-speed freight services. Amazon fulfillment centers will be strategically placed along the Hyperloop routes. Lastly, the job market. The new Hyperloop transportation system will remake Columbus. Thea Walsh, Director of Transportation Systems and Funding for the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission stated that, “For people who don’t have access to the big cities like even Columbus may have a way to get in here to access the job market.” The job market will be more competitive because the location barrier will be lower. For example, if you have a job in Columbus, you could live in your hometown of Chicago. Can you think of any places where that is currently the case?

There are many socio-economic factors that would benefit from the Hyperloop relating to the Columbus Smart City. Just look at some of the impacts the Bullet Train had on regional economies in China. Studies by the World Bank found that over the span of 10 years, 15 cities benefited in 209,609.5 million yuan in GDP. The transportation industry alone gained nearly 2,000 million yuan during the time.

To read more check out the link below:

https://www.morpc.org/Assets/MORPC/files/forms/01.Midwest%20Connect%20Corridor%20-%20Hyperloop%20One.pdf