California-based Hyperloop One revealed this week that its worldwide top 10 strongest potential transportation routes do not include any in California.
Hyperloop One is out to change transportation by building electromagnetic levitated pods that will travel in at up to 700-miles per hour in vacuum tubes, while using only a fraction of the energy needed by conventional cars, trains and planes. Although the concept may seem very complicated, the key technology to accelerate the pod to high sub-supersonic speed simply uses an electrically powered round induction motor, like the one used for Tesla vehicles, that has been increased in scale and rolled-out flat.
The Hyperloop One launched its “Global Challenge” in May 2016 with a request for “comprehensive proposals to build Hyperloop networks connecting cities and regions around the world.” Over 2600 teams registered for the competition, and Hyperloop One narrowed the field to the top 35 entrants that could combine the corporate financial and engineering capabilities, along with supportive government leaders and urban planners.
It had always been assumed that the Los Angeles-based company would prioritize building a 382-mile California route to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco, and then extend connections to reach San Diego and Sacramento. But the California proposal was rated as a bottom tier “semi-finalist”, not even making the second tier of 11 “finalists”.
The winning 10 routes include: Canada, Toronto-Montreal (360 miles); India, Bengaluru-Chennai (208 miles); India, Mumbai-Chennai (685 miles); Mexico, Mexico City-Guadalajara (330 miles); UK, Edinburgh-London (414 miles); UK, Glasgow-Liverpool (339 miles) US, Chicago-Columbus-Pittsburgh (488 miles); US, Miami-Orlando (257 miles); US, Cheyenne-Denver-Pueblo (360 miles); and US, Dallas-Laredo-Houston (640 miles).
California seemed ideal for Hyperloop One, because the Los Angeles Basin and the San Francisco Bay Area were rated by the Texas A&M Urban Mobility Scorecard as having two of the three worst most congested commutes in the nation. Only Washinton, DC is slightly worse.
Los Angeles Basin commuters suffer about 622.5 million hours of commuter delays per year. That works out to 80 hours a year per commuter, with an average annual cost per commuter of $1,711. The San Francisco Bay Area is almost as bad, with 146 million hours a year of commuter delays per year. That works out to 78 hours a year per commuter, with an average annual cost per commuter of $1,675.
Of the U.S. Global Challenge winners, Houston, Texas. is rated as having the eighth worst commuter congestion in America, with 203.2 million hours a year of commuter delays per year. That works out to 61 hours a year per commuter, with an average annual cost per commuter of $1,490.