By Timothy Shotts
The process of choosing a site for my thesis has proven to be much more interesting than I thought initially. With a fifth emerging transportation method – evacuated tube transport (ET3) – the decision of where a access portal would be located should be made with the people and the future in mind.
I began with the big idea of planning for the 2026 Winter Olympics in Denver, Colorado. Only part of the Olympic Games will take place in Denver, the rest will take place in the ski resort towns of Aspen, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Grand Junction, Steamboat Springs , and Vail. Most of these locations are along Innerstate-70, which causes worries of congestion for the International Olympic Committee. In response, there has been talk of creating an inter-mountain railroad to shuttle people between Denver and the ski resort towns. Beyond being a great way to showcase ET3, this is an opportunity to efficiently transport hundreds of thousands of people around Colorado for sixteen days.
What to do with the billions of dollars of infrastructure after the sixteen days is a huge question as well. Looking at census information from 2010, I created a composite map of where in Colorado there is the most poverty, highest population density, most number of people living, and travel time to work. The darker areas are the most effected on the maps. Leadville, Colorado is my first choice. It has also been the home of the Leadville 100 ultramarathon for the past 31 years and the Leadville 100 mountain bike race for the past 20 years. Estes Park, Boulder, and Idaho Springs would be other options, in that order.
So Leadville… Here we go! You are the only municipality in Lake county which has a 21.7% poverty rate, 19.4 people per square mile, 7,310 people, and a 33minute commute time to work. You have a tiny airport, eight hotels (one of which is a national chain), a lot of residential areas, and Colorado Mountain College (CMC) (which focuses on educational programs such as ski business, retail management, product development, marketing, ski lift maintenance and operations, culinary arts, veterinary technology, and nursing). Let’s build you an economy that you already have well established – marathon racing! Let’s do it by getting people to and from Leadville, keeping it a small town with an adventure tourism business plan. Let’s put to work the students of CMC and give more people an opportunity to rise out of poverty.
The darker sections represent Colorado counties with a combined higher poverty rate, commute time, population, and population density. Composite map created from http://www.indexmundi.com/, Google Maps, Amtrak