July 12, 2019
North Carolina's high-tech Research Triangle may get even more advanced in years to come.
The Tar Heel State announced on Friday that it is exploring options to bring Virgin Hyperloop One technology to the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill corridor, which has grown into a hub for technology companies and research universities.
"You can literally begin to start thinking about the cities like they're metro stops," Jay Walder, the CEO of Virgin Hyperloop One, told Cheddar. North Carolina's inquiry makes it the ninth state to explore hyperloop as a potential regional transportation system.
"We have stopped our imagination somewhere around 1956, which is when the interstate highway system was created, and it is time to restart our imagination," Walder said.
Virgin Hyperloop One, which was developed by Virgin founder Richard Branson, is the first company to successfully operate a full-scale hyperloop vehicle system, which uses electric propulsion and electromagnetic levitation in depressurized tubes to propel vehicles at hundreds of miles per hour.
"Imagine being in a super-fast vehicle that is completely smooth, no turbulence moving at airline speed," Walder added.
Although still in its early stages, hyperloop technology is proving to be a far faster, safer, and more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional forms of transportation, according to the company.
"The Research Triangle area is uniquely positioned from a technology focus, spatial layout, and favorable mid-East Coast location to benefit from a hyperloop travel solution that could quickly link America's R&D cities of Raleigh and Durham with each other and with neighboring regions in the southeast and mid-Atlantic," Joe Milazzo II, the executive director of North Carolina's Regional Transportation Alliance, said in a statement.
Trips between Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill are expected to be under 10 minutes, according Virgin Hyperloop One's initial estimates.
"You can take it a step further — Raleigh-Durham to Washington DC it just over 35 minutes," Walder told Cheddar.