Study: A Hyperloop Connecting Kansas City to Columbia and St. Louis is Feasible

The future of transportation is among us. A new study by Black and Veatch and Olsson Associates confirms that a Hyperloop system connecting Kansas City to Columbia and St. Louis is, indeed, feasible. The system, which utilizes floating pods, carries passengers on freight within low-pressure tunnels where friction is reduced by removing air.

According to a release from Virgin Hyperloop One, here are the main findings from the study:

  • Travel time between Kansas City and St. Louis could be cut to 28 minutes, and travel time from either Kansas City or St. Louis to Columbia could take only 15 minutes
  • Time is money: the Hyperloop could give time back to its users, worth up to $410 million per year 
  • The reduction in accidents along the I-70 could put up to $91 million per year back in people’s pockets
  • There is also the potential that the cost to take the Hyperloop from Kansas City to St. Louis could be less than the cost of gas to go from Kansas City to St. Louis
  • 80% increase in ridership demand from 16,000 to 51,000 riders per round trip

The report states that because of Missouri’s alignment and geography, it is an ideal location for a Hyperloop, and Ryan Weber, president of the Kansas City Tech Council, says that Kansas City and all of Missouri does not receive proper recognition for being a hub for technology, especially in the transportation sphere.

“Kansas City has been a leader in transportation since the days of the covered wagons, and even the interstate system started here, so in reality, it’s just the next evolution of transportation and logistics, and we should be leading on something like this,” Weber said.  “There should be more of an assumption that Kansas City or the Midwest would lead on projects like this than a place like Silicon Valley. It is futuristic tech, so I think that’s why people kind of assume this is something that should happen in California.

Additionally, Weber said the economic development that would follow from the development of something like the Hyperloop would be massive.  “Basically what we’re talking about is building an airport terminal with no runways. That’s the kind of development that you would see with a station for something like this,” Weber said. “Everywhere around that, people are going to need to have access to public transportation, they’re going to want to eat, they’re going to want to sleep, they’re going to want to travel throughout our city, so it’s going to create a whole lot of new opportunities for us that we haven’t even begun to think about.”