Today, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is the regulatory authority overseeing hyperloop system development. The announcement is an affirmation of HyperloopTT and the entire industry’s collective effort to establish a single regulatory home for the innovative mobility solution.
Since 2013, HyperloopTT has led the creation of the Hyperloop industry. The process to achieve a designated regulatory home began in 2016. One month after revealing our Inductrack passive magnetic levitation system and Vibranium Skin Material, HyperloopTT executives, myself included, met with then USDOT Secretary Anthony Fox.
Throughout 2017 and 2018, we continued meeting with the USDOT and began discussions with the FRA, the Surface Transportation Board (STB), and legislators on Capital Hill and in the White House. Continually updating them on the progress HyperloopTT was making in the Great Lakes region, in the development of insurance guidelines and toward building the world’s first full-scale passenger hyperloop capsule and test system in Toulouse, France.
Throughout many of our early discussions, one thing was clear; Hyperloop innovation defied traditional transportation categorization within the USDOT. This led to the March 2019 creation of the Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology (NETT) Council, an internal USDOT deliberative body, tasked with identifying and resolving jurisdictional and regulatory gaps that impede the deployment of new technology.
Shortly after the creation of the NETT Council, USDOT officials visited HyperloopTT’s European Hyperloop Research and Development Center, located in the world-renowned aerospace valley of Toulouse, France. While on site, USDOT officials developed an in-depth understanding of the system’s technical components and capabilities.
The USDOT’s visit to France was quickly followed by multiple technical sessions between HyperloopTT and the NETT Council in Washington D.C. These meetings covered a variety of topics including the generic safety and certification guidelines that we created in partnership with TUV SUD.
The past month has seen significant hyperloop regulatory progress made in the United States. Hyperloop regulatory efforts were included in a bill passed by the US House of Representatives, we released the world’s first public safety and certification guidelines with TUV SUD, and today the NETT Council and USDOT gave hyperloop a regulatory home.
I applaud the USDOT for taking this decisive action to help expedite the creation and adoption of industry unifying safety and certification guidelines. HyperloopTT is committed to working with all interested parties to create the next breakthrough in transportation. Hyperloop is coming and today is another reminder that it is only a matter of years, not decades.