DFW High-Speed Transportation Connections Study

September 1,2021

Reposted from North Central Texas Council of Governments.

Phase 2 of the HSTCS kicks off with a collaborative process among stakeholders and numerous government agencies studying the I-30 corridor and the functionality of high-speed rail (HSR) and hyperloop. The HSTCS team studied 43 possible alignments in Phase 1 in a 230 square-mile area. The most direct and least disruptive route for connecting Downtown Dallas and Downtown Fort Worth with a stop in Arlington was determined to be along I-30.

Additional highspeed options are expected to accommodate the region’s exponential growth and provide residents with safe, reliable and efficient travel. The study’s final recommendation is expected to provide connections with local transportation systems and link to future high-speed services.

Also during Phase 2, the federal environmental approval process will be conducted, along with conceptional and preliminary engineering, financial analysis, and planning for project management.

Understanding Restrictions
Design begins by setting the alignment considering the characteristics of both technologies and fully recognizing the restrictions posed by residential, commercial, and industrial developments; the existing transportation infrastructure; and
wetlands. “We are trying to stay within existing transportation rights-of-way where reasonable and maintain the straightest alignments possible to maximize design speeds throughout the corridor,” explains Chris Masters, PE, Associate Vice President, HNTB, the engineering group for the study.

“Collaboration is paramount. We are working with the cities of Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, and Grand Prairie, the Fort Worth and Dallas Districts of the Texas Department of Transportation, North Texas Tollway Authority, Trinity Metro, DART, Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Class 1 Railroads,” Masters emphasizes. “Integrated into our planning will be future infrastructure development such as
the interchanges at SH 360 and the President George Bush Turnpike.”

Comparing Technologies
The horizontal alignment geometry between HSR and hyperloop is similar – mostly driven by physical restrictions rather than by the capabilities of the technology.

Vertically, there is significant difference between the capabilities of both. A desirable maximum grade for HSR is a slope of around 2%. Hyperloop is designed to operate at a much steeper grade, with a slope of around 10%. The characteristics of each technology will impact height obstructions or restrictions along the proposed corridor.

Once the alignment is refined for each technology, the location and configuration of the mid-point station
in Arlington will likewise be refined. Stations function differently for both technologies, requiring different footprints, configurations, and
orientations to the track. While HSR station platforms must align parallel and adjacent to main line tracks, hyperloop tubes carry pods off the
main line for docking at a station that may be located outside the high-speed transportation guideway.

Further comparison is given to the electrification system as it can affect the vertical clearance required
throughout the corridor for each technology. HSR technology uses overhead wiring infrastructure for electrification. These components are
incorporated inside the tube structure for hyperloop, reducing overhead conflicts that could otherwise restrict the vertical alignment of the corridor.