US Transportation Secretary Launches Council to Support Emerging Transportation Technology

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Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao has announced the creation of the Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology (NETT) Council.

NETT is an internal deliberative body at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) tasked with identifying and resolving jurisdictional and regulatory gaps that may impede the deployment of new technology, such as tunneling, hyperloop, autonomous vehicles, and other innovations.

Secretary Chao made the announcement during her remarks at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin, Texas.

“New technologies increasingly straddle more than one mode of transportation, so I’ve signed an order creating a new internal Department council to better coordinate the review of innovation that have multi-modal applications,” said Secretary Chao.

USDOT consists of 11 operating administrations, each with its own traditional jurisdiction over certain environmental and regulatory approvals.

New technologies may not always fit precisely into the Department’s existing regulatory structure, potentially resulting in a slower pace of transportation innovation.

Inventors and investors approach USDOT to obtain necessary safety authorizations, permits, and funding and often face uncertainty about how to coordinate with the Department.

The NETT Council will address these challenges by ensuring that the traditional modal silos at DOT do not impede the deployment of new technology.

Furthermore, it will give project sponsors a single point of access to discuss plans and proposals.

The NETT Council represents a major step forward for USDOT in reducing regulatory burdens and paving the way for emerging technologies in the transportation industry.

The internal council will hold its organizing meeting this week and will first take on the topic of tunneling technologies seeking various approvals in several states.

Representatives from the U.S. Department of Transportation held a series of interactive sessions and demonstrations at SXSW to showcase the Department’s overarching efforts to support innovation and market solutions to address transportation challenges across the country.

Learn more about the Department’s presence at SXSW here.

New Council to Support Hyperloop Commercialization

Virgin Hyperloop One looks forward to continuing to work with the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Secretary Chao to move hyperloop forward in the U.S.

Virgin Hyperloop One has been engaged with the DOT and Secretary Chao for months, taking the necessary steps to commercialize this technology in the U.S.

This council is the culmination of months of work at the federal, state, and local level.

“I want to thank Secretary Chao for her leadership setting up this forward-thinking council at DOT,” said Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group.

“Virgin Hyperloop One is eager to continue working with the Secretary and her team. Through our recent conversations, it is clear she wants to be at the forefront of exploring innovative technologies to improve transportation in the United States.”

As hyperloop is a new mode of mass transportation, it requires a forward-thinking consortium to bring this to commercialization in the U.S.

While some components are similar to rail, there are other components like cabin pressurization that look similar to a plane.

The council will explore how to integrate expertise across the Department to expedite or facilitate these projects moving forward.

“Hyperloop is a new mode of transportation that is built for the 21st century,” said Jay Walder, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop One.

“We want to be the company that spearheads the next giant leap forward in transportation here in the United States but we know we can’t do it alone. We applaud the DOT for their support of this technology.”

Read: Proposed fiscal 2020 White House budget allocates $21.4 billion for transportation

About Virgin Hyperloop One

Virgin Hyperloop One is the only company in the world that has successfully tested its technology at scale, launching the first new mode of mass transportation in over 100 years. The company successfully operated a full-scale hyperloop vehicle using electric propulsion and electromagnetic levitation under near-vacuum conditions, realizing a fundamentally new form of transportation that is faster, safer, cheaper, and more sustainable than existing modes. The company is now working with governments, partners, and investors around the world to make hyperloop a reality in years, not decades. They currently have projects underway in Missouri, Texas, Colorado, the Midwest, India, and the UAE. Learn more about Virgin Hyperloop One’s technology, vision, and ongoing projects here.

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