Hyperloop study: Pittsburgh to Chicago in 56 minutes for $93 is feasible

It’s feasible to build a high-speed hyperloop system to carry passengers from Pittsburgh to Columbus, Ohio, in about 20 minutes at a cost of $33, and to Chicago in about 56 minutes at a cost of $93.

That’s the conclusion of a feasibility study released Wednesday by the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, one of two groups studying the new transportation mode that moves pods through low-pressure tubes at speeds of more than 500 mph. The other group, the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, said in December a route connecting Pittsburgh to Cleveland also would be feasible.

“It’s basically the cost of gas or less,” said Thea Ewing, director of transportation for the Mid-Ohio group. “That’s one of the reasons we like working with [Virgin Hyperloop One]. Their strategy all along is we have to keep the cost below the cost of flying.”

The best path for a hyperloop system would be on flat, straight ground using existing railroad corridors, but the 19-page study by engineering firm AECOM determined that could only be done on parts of the route.