Genertec America Incorporated has announced that it is offering the Arrivo Corporation a $1 billion line of credit to help construct a high-speed network that could end up connecting Denver with Boulder on a jaunt lasting 8 minutes.
In making the announcement Yalin Li, the president of Genertec America, said, “Arrivo provides a unique solution for regional mobility and a great complement to high speed rail and airports,” adding, “We look forward to many opportunities to build this new mode of transportation in regions around the world.”
The Genertec/Arrivo partnership in reality means that Arrivo could use the Chinese company’s backing for “financing the first Arrivo system anywhere in the world,” notes Andrew Liu.
But, continues Liu, the co-founder and president of Arrivo, “the proposed network in Denver, Colorado is certainly eligible to receive this funding.”
Launched in 2016 in Los Angeles, Arrivo has generated regional and national attention by emphasizing the potential of high-speed routes designed in their essence to make life easier in metro Denver.
It would uniquely use a highway center lane populated with sleds that will carry vehicles up to 200 miles per hour, a futuristic system that, in turn, could handle up to 20,000 vehicles an hour.
“Arrivo’s system uses a dedicated roadway and variety of pods,” notes reporter Tamara Chung for the Denver Post. “Some hold entire cars, others just freight, while another version acts like a shuttle bus.”
This approach stands in contrast to the blueprint for the Virgin Hyperloop One company, which is touting a system that would whisk riders along a 360-mile route with stops in Cheyenne, Fort Collins, Denver, and Pueblo.
In November, the Colorado Department of Transportation, along with the E-470 Public Highway Authority, announced the formation of a partnership with Arrivo to begin a feasibility study for a leg of a proposed route serving the Denver metro area.
Noting that Arrivo had additionally decided to locate their test facilities in the Centennial State, Governor John Hickenlooper offered the thought that Colorado’s “rapidly growing population and booming economy makes for the ideal location for the development of an Arrivo system.”
Then-CDOT executive director Shailen Bhatt, in a statement, added that his department was “committed to working with Arrivo on the feasibility of how we address mobility in our state.”
That study is now underway, notes Liu, with expectations that it will be completed this fall.
Meanwhile, says Liu, in a parallel move, the CDOT is in the process of developing a statewide benefits study that will evaluate “new technologies, such as Arrivo, and as part of this study they are also developing a framework for implementing new technologies such as Arrivo from a regulatory perspective.”
“The latter is of major benefit to all technology companies developing new transport technology,” says Liu, adding that Colorado’s embrace of its Road X program, tasked with bringing together the state and private industry to address today’s transportation challenges, serves as a “pioneer in regulatory innovation in the United States.”
If made reality, the Arrivo system would see the building of what has been described as a “super-urban” network offering high-speed travel throughout the often traffic-clogged Denver metro area.
The system, transporting both people and cargo, will use magnetic levitation to make its vehicles stay afloat.
Once in operation, the Arrivo system would reduce a 1 hour and 10 minute car ride from downtown Denver to the Denver International Airport to 9 minutes. A current 1 hour and 5 minute journey from downtown Denver to Boulder would take 8 minutes.
The Arrivo approach to high-speed transportation and the Virgin Hyperloop One approach is, to some degree, a difference of nuance.
Both use magnetic levitation technology, notes Liu.
“The primary differentiator between the two is that the Arrivo system takes out the vacuum because we are developing technology for a regional transportation network, as opposed to a long distance city to city connector, and thus do not need the level of speeds that require a vacuum.”
By removing the vacuum ingredient, continues Liu, “we have a system that is significantly cheaper to build, easier to maintain, quicker to load and unload, and most importantly superior from a safety perspective as people are able to walk outside of the vehicle in an emergency evacuation scenario.”
The future of Arrivo’s proposed system for metro Denver will ultimately come down to numbers. If the costs to build the system, as revealed by the feasibility study, are within the expectations of both Arrivo and the CDOT, work could begin on an initial leg of the network early next year.
Meanwhile, says Liu, Arrivo, with its headquarters in Los Angeles, has become emphatically bullish on Denver.
Hailing the CDOT and Denver’s Regional Transportation District as “forward thinking,” Liu says a matrix of components, including the city’s high rate of growth and the inevitable congestion issues that come along with that, makes the Denver region “a great first market for our company in the U.S.”
By Garry Boulard
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