The Midwest Connect Hyperloop corridor is a proposed freight and passenger transportation corridor between Chicago and Pittsburgh via Columbus. As a result of MORPC’s ongoing planning and coordination efforts to improve connectivity with neighboring regions, MORPC has partnered with the Columbus Partnership, and both public and private sector entities throughout the corridor, to develop this proposal for the Hyperloop One Global Challenge. 

What is Hyperloop?

Hyperloop is a new mode of transportation that moves freight and people quickly, safely, on-demand and direct from origin to destination. Passengers or cargo are loaded into the Hyperloop vehicle, or 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 airline speeds for long distances due to ultra-low aerodynamic drag. Hyperloop systems will be built on columns or tunneled below ground to avoid dangerous grade crossings. It is fully autonomous and enclosed, eliminating pilot error and weather hazards. It is safe and clean, with no direct carbon emissions.

What is the Hyperloop One Global Challenge?

The Hyperloop One Global Challenge is a worldwide challenge sponsored by Hyperloop One to find the strongest Hyperloop routes. The Challenge was kicked off in May 2016 as an open call to individuals, universities, companies and governments to develop comprehensive proposals for using Hyperloop One’s disruptive transport technology in their region. More than 100 countries submitted applications, and the field was narrowed down to 35 semi-finalist routes from every continent (except Antarctica) in January 2016, including the Midwest Connect route.

MORPC worked with many local partners to enhance the Midwest Connect proposal and to develop support and partnerships from regional councils, governments, and businesses across the corridor from Chicago to Pittsburgh. In April, a delegation from MORPC and the Columbus Partnership traveled to Washington, D.C .to present its case to a panel of experts in transportation, technology, economics and innovation, and to Hyperloop One team members.

Challenge Winner Announcement

Hyperloop One announced the Midwest Connect proposal to connect Chicago, Columbus, and Pittsburgh via high-speed transportation as one of 10 winners of Hyperloop One’s Global Challenge in September 2017. The Midwest Connect corridor is one of four U.S. routes and joins routes located across five countries and three continents. The winning routes can connect 53 urban centers and 148 million people through routes spanning 4,157 miles in five countries and three continents, including in the United States, India, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Canada. 

In its announcement of winning routes, Hyperloop One stated that the Chicago-Columbus-Pittsburgh route was selected for its strong public/private stakeholder involvement across multiple states and its unique implementation of Hyperloop technologies to solve the lack of infrastructure in the region. The announcement goes on to state that:

“A Hyperloop connecting Pittsburgh, Columbus, and Chicago would create a Midwest megaregion to rival the country’s coastal economic powerhouses. The proposal was chosen for the unique opportunity to realize this vision: there is currently no direct freight or passenger rail connection along the corridor, resulting in untapped economic potential; Hyperloop would transform the movement of goods and people in the Midwest, and leapfrog these communities into the next century.”

In late 2017, the Midwest Connect team expects to meet with Hyperloop One to discuss next steps and project implementation. 

For more information on the Hyperloop One Global Challenge, visit www.hyperloop-one.com.

Learn More about the proposal by viewing our overview brochure.  

For more information on the proposal, contact Thea Walsh at 614.233.4160.