Los Angeles — AECOM was selected to design and build the world’s first Hyperloop test track as part of the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition, a university-focused challenge to help spur student innovation. Hyperloop is a new form of high-speed transport proposed by SpaceX and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk that would use a network of low-pressure tubes and air-cushioned pods traveling at speeds of up to 760 miles per hour.

The test track’s 6-foot-diameter steel tube will include a non-magnetic sub-track and run nearly one mile adjacent to SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. Cradled in place above ground, it will serve as a vacuum-sealed, high-speed proving ground for transport pod prototypes being developed as part of a SpaceX design competition.

“AECOM has designed and built some of the world’s most impressive transportation systems, so we appreciate how the development of a functioning Hyperloop with SpaceX can dramatically expand the ways people move across cities, countries and continents,” said Michael S. Burke, AECOM chairman and chief executive officer.

From complex, long-span bridges and high-speed rail to international airports and urban transit hubs, AECOM will leverage insights from its strong infrastructure experience to further the advancement of an entirely new mode of transit. “What we are delivering is more than just a track to test pod prototypes; it’s a glimpse into the future,” added Burke.

Design efforts for the test track are underway with a goal of construction beginning in spring 2016. Additionally, more than 100 university student teams from around the world are preparing to present their pod prototypes at the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition “Design Weekend” hosted at Texas A&M University on Jan. 29 and 30.

The student-led competition is focused on spurring student innovation and helping to accelerate development of a functional Hyperloop prototype. Multiple groups are involved in Hyperloop development efforts, and AECOM has not endorsed or validated any technology or approach. AECOM is committed to working with all transportation companies to meet their infrastructure, construction and environmental needs.