U.S. Department of Transportation Endorses New TechnologiesAugust 5, 2020
On July 23, 2020 the Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology (NETT) Council along with Elaine Chao, who is U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary published the guidance document called „Pathways to the Future of Transportation”. The document can be found here.
In it there are chapters on regulations and authorities for projects, and project maturity, as well as NETT council engagement, combined with additional information, such as examples of potential federal requirements and federal resources.
Its main goal is to provide clear guidelines for innovators and visionaries working on new technologies. By unveiling this policy document, a coherent regulatory framework for emerging transportation technologies, including hyperloop, is being created for entrepreneurs in the United States. It is the first document of that kind in the world, which proves that the U.S. is taking innovation very seriously and wishes to be its leader on a global scale.
Hyperloop idea has been placed under the Federal Railroad Administration, and Finch Fulton, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy stated that hyperloop projects, as well as magnetic levitation proposals, are eligible for grants and loans.
There are some hyperloop companies which are already involved with the NETT Council. One of them is Virgin Hyperloop One (VHO), which has been collaborating with the council for over a year in order to ensure safe and quick hyperloop deployment. For VHO having an opportunity to get a grant or a loan is especially important, since the company is currently working on a hyperloop project which would connect Pittsburgh with Chicago. However, their proposal has been presented as a public-private partnership and its cost would exceed $20 billion – a sum of which a public share would be hard to obtain only from local agencies. According to the report, as soon as the hyperloop technology is proven, it might be possible to get funds under four different categories. With that being said, in the current fiscal year, there could be even $2 billion dedicated to the advancement of hyperloop technology.
Jay Walder, who is the CEO of Virgin Hyperloop stated:
“Secretary Chao and the NETT Council are working at an unprecedented speed to ensure that the United States is at the forefront of hyperloop development. It’s clear that the USDOT shares our vision for infrastructure development as a way for the country to not just rebuild, but evolve as we emerge from this crisis.”
The second company working alongside the NETT Council is Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT). It has already been collaborating with USDOT since 2016 – years before the council was formed. This firm also has conducted the most comprehensive hyperloop feasibility study in the Great Lakes Region. It has also presented the first complete certification guidelines concerning hyperloop. Therefore, it has been steadily contributing to the development of this system in the U.S. over the past years.
The above-mentioned document can, and most likely will be the key endorsement which will push the design of the hyperloop forward in the U.S. Now American companies have to use it and push their projects forward.