Independent study estimates the total cost for buildout of a Great Lakes Hyperloop system to be between $25 billion and $30 billion (less expensive than high-speed rail).

Hyperloop feasibility study for the Great Lakes region finds that the benefits would justify the costs.

Chicago,Illinois,United States; Cleveland,Ohio,United States; Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania,United States

Summary Information

First envisioned as a high-speed alternative to other modes of transportation, the Hyperloop consists of large-scale vacuum tubes with magnetic-levitation tracks that can carry capsules with passengers and/or cargo at speeds of up to 760 mi/h.

On February 26, 2018, the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT) entered into a public private partnership to complete a $1.2 million feasibility study for the technical analysis and evaluation of a Chicago, Illinois to Cleveland, Ohio corridor; known as the Great Lakes Hyperloop Feasibility Study (the corridor would later be extended to Pittsburgh).

Adoption of accessible ultra high-speed transportation has several spillover benefits separate and apart from the faster travel speed. Hyperloop mobility is expected to directly affect: travel time, operating costs, safety, noise pollution, air pollution, carbon footprint, separation effect/property efficiency, interface with existing infrastructure systems (transportation, telecommunications, energy) and maintenance.

Capital costs for technology elements include categories for Capsule, Linear Infrastructure, and Stations, each of which are applied on a per-capsule, per-mile, or per-station basis. The capsule costs include the capsule fuselage, capsule power, communications, and life support systems, passenger and cargo interiors, and capsule bogies that contain the levitation, motor, and wheel equipment that enables capsule movement. The linear infrastructure costs include the tubes, pylons, levitation system, propulsion system, control, communications, and traffic management, and power supply. Station costs include the spaces and equipment that enable efficient circulation of passengers, cargo, and capsules.

The tables below summarize overall capital costs for each route segment and option. Cleveland to Chicago costs are based on the full route option, whereas a segment-level breakdown is given for the optional extensions from Cleveland to Youngstown and ultimately to Pittsburgh. All costs include a 30 percent contingency and 28 percent soft-costs factor.

Chicago-Cleveland-Pittsburgh Cost Summary by Segment (All costs in millions of 2018 US dollars)
Cleveland-Chicago NO STOPS
Toll Road OptionHybrid OptionStraight Line Option
Guideway Infrastructure$8,446$7,738$14,095
Stations & Vehicles$549$549$549
Guidance & Propulsion Systems$7,912$8,080$6,131
TOTAL COST$16,907$16,366$20,774
Cost per Mile$51.23$48.56$65.89
Cleveland-Chicago w/ STOPS
Toll Road OptionHybrid Option
Guideway Infrastructure$8,446$7,738
Stations & Vehicles$1,013$781
Guidance & Propulsion Systems$7,912$8,080
TOTAL COST$17,371$16,598
Cost per Mile$52.64$49.25
Cleveland-Pittsburgh via Cranberry
Cleveland-Youngstown SegmentYoungstown-Pittsburgh SegmentTotal
Guideway Infrastructure$2,209$1,712$3,921
Stations & Vehicles$232$456$688
Guidance & Propulsion Systems$2,315$1,481$3,796
TOTAL COST$4,756$3,648$8,404
Cost per Mile$56.22$67.43$60.59

Cleveland-Pittsburgh via Airport
Cleveland-North Lima SegmentNorth Lima-Pittsburgh SegmentTotal
Guideway Infrastructure$2,377$2.044$4,421
Stations & Vehicles$232$576$808
Guidance & Propulsion Systems$2,392$1,491$3,883
TOTAL COST$5,001$4,111$9,112
Cost per Mile$64.22

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Great Lakes Hyperloop Feasibility Study

Published By: Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency

Prepared by Transportation Economics and Management Systems, Inc. In Cooperation with Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Inc.

Source Date: 12/16/2019


System Cost

$25 - $30 billion (in 2018 USD)


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Cost ID: 2020-00443