Hyperloop-inspired transport system planned for Denver – minus the vacuum

A public-private partnership between the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Denver’s E-470 Public Highway Authority and transport firm Arrivo has been formed to build a Hyperloop-inspired system in Denver.

It is now carrying out a feasibility study for the first commercial leg.

Unlike the long-distance Hyperloop One model, Arrivo is focused on connecting an urban region. Arrivo says that its system can could travel times between downtown Denver and the airport from 40 minutes to nine, and from Denver and Boulder from 53 minutes to eight.

The Arrivo system can propel four types of vehicles (pictured) that serve different passenger and cargo needs through an enclosed highway at a speed of 322kmh.

Like Hyperloop, the technology uses magnetic levitation to make the vehicles float and electric power to move them forward, but would not use a vacuum tube to reduce drag.

The partnership’s first phase involves a feasibility study by Arrivo and CDOT for a commercial leg in conjunction with construction of the Arrivo test site near the E-470 toll road that runs between north and south Denver.

If successful, Arrivo predicts that the route could be operational in four to five years and would serve as a high-speed connector for other transit systems entering into the Denver area.

Arrivo was founded by former Hyperloop One engineer Brogan BamBrogan, who said Hyperloop’s model of rapid long-distance travel was unnecessary: "If I want to travel really fast between two cities in a low-pressure environment inside a metal tube, I would use an airplane. They’re very efficient, the ride is smooth, the orange juice is free," he said.

John Hickenlooper, the governor of Colorado, said: "Colorado’s rapidly growing population and booming economy makes for the ideal location for the development of an Arrivo system.

"Arrivo’s additional decision to locate its test facilities, adding up to 200 employees by 2020 and $10 to $15m to our economy in 2018, is a testament to the culture of innovation that drives our economic engine."

Arrivo has previously partnered with American engineer Aecom.           

Two Colorado routes have been chosen as part of a shortlist for 11 possible lines for a Hyperloop in America.

Images courtesy of Arrivo

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