Local transportation officials are interested in hyperloop technology to shuttle travelers across North Texas.
The Regional Transportation Council, made up of dozens of elected and appointed officials, announced Wednesday that it will consider hyperloop as a potential option to connect Dallas, Arlington and Fort Worth.
The mode of transportation is designed to allow passenger pods to travel through a low-pressure tube at speeds up to 700 miles per hour.
Transportation council officials recently met with engineers at Virgin Hyperloop One and saw the technology firsthand at the company’s test track in Nevada.
The Regional Transportation Council later this year will hire consultants to evaluate hyperloop in North Texas, as well as high-speed rail. Then, consultants will use their findings to write an environmental impact statement, which will cost about $5 million and take two to three years to complete, The Dallas Morning News reports.
A preliminary analysis by Virgin Hyperloop One engineers estimated it would take just six minutes to travel between Dallas and Fort Worth via hyperloop, according to the Regional Transportation Council.
“As our region grows from 7.2 million people now up to 11.2 million by 2045, we are planning a transportation system that offers choices to our residents,” Michael Morris, transportation director for the North Central Texas Council of Governments, said in a statement.
Morris says adding hyperloop to the region’s existing system of roadways, rail transit, bicycle and pedestrian facilities as well as the proposed bullet train from Dallas to Houston, would be an "exciting" expansion.
“Connecting other regions in Texas through hyperloop would open up economic opportunities throughout the state,” Morris said.
The transportation council says it has also provided and secured funding to study the feasibility of high-speed technology, including hyperloop, to connect Fort Worth, Waco, Temple-Killeen, Austin, San Antonio and Laredo.
Hyperloop technology is the brainchild of SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk. A system that carries passengers isn't available yet, but Texas has been on Hyperloop One’s radar for a while.
The company last fall included a Texas route on its shortlist of potential hyperloop sites. The Texas proposal would connect Dallas-Fort Worth to Austin, San Antonio and Laredo, with a spur going to Houston.
According to the Morning News, Virgin Hyperloop One began talking to North Texas officials because of the proposal, and the Dallas-Fort Worth hyperloop route could be the first phase of a larger, statewide project.