Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

State to Study Pittsburgh-To- Philadelphia Hyperloop

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

State to Study Pittsburgh-To- Philadelphia Hyperloop

Article excerpt

Add Pennsylvania to the list of places reviewing whether to consider a hyperloop system and the effect such systems might have on existing modes of transportation.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission this week approved a four-year contract worth up to $2 million for consultant AECOM to review the potential for a hyperloop system that would extend across the state. The turnpike and the state Department of Transportation, which is part of the advisory group working with the consultant, were ordered to do such a study in a resolution approved last fall by the state House.

Hyperloop is a system that developers say can transport passengers and freight at more than 500 mph in pods that move through low-pressure tubes similar to pneumatic tubes at banks. The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission is working with one developer, Virgin Hyperloop One, to study and establish a system linking Pittsburgh, Columbus and Chicago, but other companies also are developing the technology.

It is important for the state to stay abreast of new transportation modes, Robert Taylor, the turnpike's chief technology officer, said Friday.

"This is a technology that can change us as a state, change us as a region," Mr. Taylor said.

Barry Altman, a communication specialist in the turnpike's information technology division, said the study will determine whether the use of hyperloop technology will help or hurt the turnpike's operation.

"Our interest in it is to take a look at it to see how we can use it to grow our business and what threat it presents to our business," he said. "We don't see it as a technology that will supersede our business. We're looking at it interfacing with what we do."

The study also will look at regulatory or environmental concerns about the technology and study whether a cross-state route linking Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Philadelphia, plus an extension from Philadelphia to Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, should be pursued. …

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