Columbus to Pittsburgh in 18 minutes: The future of transportation

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Imagine leaving your house and just two hours later, being in downtown Chicago — without getting on a plane. One company thinks it’s possible with new technology that could make its debut in Ohio.

From Youngstown — if you take the highway — it takes a little over an hour to get to Pittsburgh and two and a half hours to get to Columbus. But what if you could go from Columbus to Pittsburgh in just 17.9 minutes?

The new technology by Hyperloop One will be the fifth major mode of transportation if it’s successful.

A pod will take 20 to 40 people through a tube with less air to reduce friction, traveling at speeds of up to 750 miles per hour. The pod lifts above the track using magnetic levitation and glides for long distances.

The Midwest route (Chicago-Columbus-Pittsburgh) is one of 11 possible routes under consideration, thanks to the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.

“I think there is a lot of focus around the passenger movement but this is equally, almost even to some degree, more significant when you talk about freight movement,” said Thea Walsh, the commission’s director of Transportation Systems and Funding.

The 488-mile route would serve 13.8 million people. To get from Pittsburgh to Chicago, it would only take 47 minutes.

When asked, people in the Valley are excited about the idea.

“I think that anytime you can get people moving anywhere, it brings jobs to the community, it brings people to the community,” said Suzanna Gomochak, of Boardman. “I just don’t see any negatives. I’d say it’s fairly all positive, and let’s see how it goes and go for it.”

Robert Roerich, also of Boardman, said the new technology would help improve the economy.

“If someone would want to go shopping in a far away city where there is probably more options, they could do that and I think that would benefit the economy.”

If the Midwest Hyperloop does make the final three, the CEO said he wants construction to be completed in the next five years.

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