Ar­rivo to cre­ate traf­fic-bust­ing tubes

The Hamilton Spectator - - BUSINESS - MARCO DELLA CAVA

Colorado driv­ers may be the first to escape traf­fic due to a new part­ner­ship be­tween state of­fi­cials and a Los An­ge­les-based hy­per­loop tech com­pany.

Ar­rivo founder Bro­gan BamBro­gan joined Colorado trans­porta­tion of­fi­cials lead­ers in Den­ver on Tues­day to an­nounce a part­ner­ship to cre­ate a net­work of road­side tubes at the con­gested heart of the city that will whisk driv­ers and their cars to their des­ti­na­tions at speeds up to 320 km/h.

The pub­lic-pri­vate play­ers in­clude Ar­rivo, the Colorado Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion and E-470 Pub­lic High­way Au­thor­ity, which op­er­ates a 120-km user-fi­nanced toll road run­ning along the east­ern perime­ter of the city. The Ar­rivo test site will be near E-470 and ground­break­ing is slated for early 2018.

BamBro­gan says Ar­rivo’s first com­mer­cial sys­tem could be ready in 2021 de­pend­ing on the pre­dictable ar­ray of fund­ing, reg­u­la­tory and pub­lic per­cep­tion hur­dles.

By way of pitch­ing the Ar­rivo sys­tem, Colorado DOT of­fi­cials spec­u­lated that a net­work of tubes filled with high-speed trays to carry cars could cut a one-hour and 10 minute drive from down­town to the air­port down to a nine-minute Ar­rivo ride. A one-hour slog down the state’s busy Boul­der to Den­ver high­way cor­ri­dor would take eight min­utes.

“We’re the tech part­ner in what would be a big part­ner­ship in­volv­ing law­mak­ers, real es­tate peo­ple and oth­ers, but our job is to show that we can help pro­vide a pos­i­tive ROI (re­turn on in­vest­ment),” BamBrogam said. “Traf­fic is some­thing peo­ple are very ea­ger to solve.”

BamBro­gan said the idea is to use ex­ist­ing high­way rights of way to in­stall above ground tubes to help com­muters cheat traf­fic by grant­ing them ex­press trips in their own cars to pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tions.

Why not just build a train? “I have a young son, and my car is filled with ev­ery­thing I need for him so not tak­ing my car of­ten isn’t a great op­tion,” he said.

Ar­rivo’s sys­tem is no­tably dif­fer­ent from the more sci-fi ver­sion of hy­per­loop, the name Tesla CEO Elon Musk gave to the trans­porta­tion sys­tem in a white pa­per he wrote in 2013.

That vi­sion, one be­ing pur­sued by Ar­rivo ri­val Hy­per­loop One, in­volves above or be­low-ground vac­uum-sealed tubes inside which mag­net­i­cally lev­i­tated pods can travel at up to 1,126 km/h.

By def­i­ni­tion, these hy­per­loop sys­tems are aimed at cov­er­ing hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres in short time frames, such as turn­ing a six-hour Los An­ge­les to San Fran­cisco trek into a 30-minute hy­per­loop scoot.

BamBro­gan said that his new com­pany, which took root last sum­mer east of down­town L.A., is for the mo­ment fo­cused on “re­gional and su­per-re­gional so­lu­tions, which is typ­i­cally a lower pres­sure en­vi­ron­ment” when it comes to lo­gis­tics.

“Den­ver was a nat­u­ral fit, since the place is ur­ban­iz­ing fast and there is a need for a traf­fic so­lu­tion,” he said, adding that the com­pany plans to hire 40 to 50 peo­ple in Den­ver next year as it puts be­tween $10 and $15 mil­lion into its test track site.

Since dream­ing up hy­per­loop, Musk has launched The Bor­ing Co. in order to start drilling tun­nels for his own al­ter­nate trans­porta­tion sys­tem. Mary­land has said it wel­comes Musk’s drills, al­though the man him­self has yet to con­firm the plan.

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