Japanese technology could help improve Colorado gridlock

High speed solutions from Tokyo could help Denver
Posted at 5:07 PM, Jun 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-20 01:54:08-04

DENVER — Tokyo, Japan is nearly 6,000 miles away and about nine times bigger than Denver, but the two cities share the common problem of traffic and the need to improve congestion.

In Japan, a mass transit solution has been part of life for the last fifty years. In Japanese it’s called Shinkansen, otherwise known as the bullet train.

The bullet train travels about 177 miles per hour, more than twice the speed of the A-Line to the airport. It could make the trip from Denver to Vail in about 30 minutes.

The entire operation is efficient. The average delay is less than one minute. There have been no fatal passenger accidents since 1964.  Cars are quickly cleaned in about seven minutes.

"It's really convenient," said Yoshinori Hatta, of Japan's Central rail, who feels the technology could benefit Coloradans here at home.

He told Denver7’s Marc Stewart in Tokyo it's all about demand and routes long enough to compete with cars and airplanes.

In Colorado, a high speed line into the mountains isn't likely. There just aren’t enough people to justify such a project. But Colorado could see something nearly supersonic that's influenced by Japan.

Colorado is a semifinalist in a race to build the Hyperloop One. Once constructed, it promises to take passengers and cargo through a tube using magnetic levitation technology at up to 700 miles per hour.

The technology was developed in part by Japanese engineers. While it may be about 20 years off, planners are closely looking at a link between Denver International Airport and Greeley. Other front range and mountain routes could be added as a way to cut down on the congestion on the interstates.

While the hyperloop is still a work in progress, officials estimate a 5 minute travel between Denver and Boulder. Travel between Denver and Colorado Spring would be just seven minutes.