Admittedly, I went into the meeting with high hopes to talk with Dan Katz and Diana Zhou about the possibility for Hyperloop to be involved with the tech-side of premiering The Bridge in time for the LA Olympics, connecting LAX directly to Union Station within minutes.
Not surprisingly that pitch was kindly shot down. Still, Katz had an interesting suggestion - one that I know I would not have taken as seriously coming from anyone else - Katz made the point that at the speeds I was proposing The Bridge reach (90 mph) that maglev was not required or even ideal. Suggesting that those speeds could be more cost-effective using electric motors.
To hear the head of Transportation Policy Counsel at a company founded around the idea of 'maglev being the future of high-speed transit' making the case for a non-maglev Bridge system, it was a key turning point in this project.
I left the meeting considering that perhaps Phil Washington, MTA Chief Executive, who often advocates for buses being key to solving LA's gridlock, isn't as far off as I often assumed.
If The Bridge is nothing more than a right-of-way rapid bus designed to take advantage of the wider freeways of Los Angeles than it feels like less of an unknown and untested approach to transit. Every major city in the world relies on buses to move people around - the issue in LA is those buses share the worst-in-the-world congested roadways, making the buses unreliable and a method of last resort for residents and especially tourists.
I'll be redesigning the models and reworking the proposal in the coming months.