Arrivo to create traffic-busting tubes
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.