Hyperloop transportation routes could soon be running from Cleveland to Chicago

One small step for Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, one giant leap for travel in middle America. This week, HyperloopTT (HTT), one of the two companies seeking to create high-speed tunnel-based transportation systems, signed an agreement that could herald a new era in the feasibility of an interstate Hyperloop system. The new deal was struck with the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) and also involves the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), and will kick off a feasibility study for the region. Thus far, “several corridors have been identified for study connecting Cleveland to Chicago,” HTT notes in a press release.

Demand for such a high-speed transportation option in the region has been high for quite some time, as Ohio lawmakers passed a resolution to kickstart the initiative last year. And just in the past couple months, HTT has worked with congressional representatives from states including both Ohio and Illinois to send a formal letter to the White House requesting infrastructure funding support to bring a Hyperloop to life.

“Regulations are the ultimate barrier for Hyperloop implementation, and we are excited to build the first real public-private partnership to bring Hyperloop travel to the U.S.,” said Dirk Ahlborn, CEO of HTT. “With this agreement, we welcome innovative and industry-leading partners in both government and industry to our movement.”

HTT isn’t the only company looking to transport riders in low-pressure pods.In fact, Hyperloop One has also recently selected a Chicago-Columbus-Pittsburgh link as one of just 10 around the world that it would like to further explore. But for the time being, it would appear that HTT is ahead in the race. An independent engineering firm will lead the feasibility analysis on the Cleveland-Chicago route as early as March, and could take between six and 12 months. The study will ultimately determine potential routes and suss out cost, ridership, and possible station locations.

“We came here because places like Cleveland, Chicago and Pittsburgh have the manufacturing, the raw materials and the talented, hard working people in order to make it happen,” said Andrea La Mendola, Chief Global Operations Officer of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies. “We can source everything from this area. This is a place where you make big things.”