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Elon Musk wants to build a high-speed transit system in Chicago

Planned electric pods would move people from downtown to O’Hare International Airport within 20 minutes.
Image: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk speaks
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk speaks at the International Astronautical Congress on Sept. 29, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia.Mark Brake / Getty Images file

In brief: Musk has officially announced his intentions to compete for a contract to build a high-speed loop in Chicago, through his venture The Boring Company. Not a hyperloop, this railway system will instead use electric pods.


Surprise, surprise — Elon Musk has announced another major new project via Twitter. This time, Musk has revealed a project within his drilling venture, The Boring Company. The company, according to Musk, will “compete to fund, build & operate a high-speed Loop connecting Chicago O’Hare Airport to downtown.”

The goal of the new system, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, is to shuttle Chicago residents between downtown and O’Hare airport in less than 20 minutes — half the time of the current commute. Musk and his competitors for the Chicago contract will have to include both a downtown and airport station, as well as a maintenance facility, and have a plan in place to minimize “potential conflicts or impacts on existing transportation systems and the environment.”

A part of the “O’Hare express project,” this concept has been a dream and goal of Chicago’s elected officials for many years. In fact, Chicago’s former Mayor, Richard M. Daley, tried to convince Chinese investors to build the railway system stemming from the Block 37 super-station. But until now, this concept has remained an ambitious, lofty hope — right up Elon Musk’s alley.


The Sun-Times notes that top mayoral aides took a trip to Los Angeles earlier this year, to discuss the hyperloop option with Musk. Current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanual has expressed enthusiasm over hyperloop technology, and previously said that Musk was “very interested.”

However, Musk has clarified that the Chicago system would not actually be a hyperloop. He explained the distinction on Twitter, saying that “A Loop is like a Hyperloop, but without drawing a vacuum inside the tube. Don’t need to get rid of air friction for short routes.”

Instead of the vacuum-pods that are part of Hyperloop’s signature, this venture will instead use electric pods to transport people.

There are very few details about the current status of this venture, but we hope to soon learn more about the future of high-speed, public transport in Chicago.

"Elon Musk Will Compete to Build New Chicago Transportation System" was originally published by Futurism, LLC on Nov. 30, 2017 by Chelsea Gohd. Copyright 2017. Futurism, LLC. All rights reserved.