As though building electric vehicles and shooting rockets to Mars weren’t enough do the job, Elon Musk includes a new project: subways.
Musk’s The Boring Company released a good map this week, sketching out a good potential new tunnel system for Los Angeles that could transport vehicles and mass transit.
The underground transportation system, that your Boring Company is calling Loop, would ferry autonomous electric skates around tunnels at 125 mph to 150 mph. Transportation will be point-to-point, rather than regularly stopping at multiple stations just like a subway train.
His enterprise, which is less than a year old, envisions repairing congestion in cities — a near common problem. Commutes could possibly be quicker and more pleasant.
If completed, the roughly 60-mile system would position Los Angeles as the home of 1 of the nation’s greatest underground transportation systems. The city has long lagged behind the rest of the country when it comes to public transportation.
The golden age of subway construction passed years ago. Tunnels cost vast amounts of dollars to build, and most cities battle to maintain existing systems. Yet Musk — motivated by a hatred of L.A good. traffic — is modifying tunnel gear to create a network of low-expense tunnels that may solve congestion.
Musk’s tunnel ambitions aren’t limited by Los Angeles. The Boring Company has government permission for a 10.1-mile stretch on Maryland, and is usually bidding to create a high-speed subway from downtown Chicago to O’Hare International Airport.
But can Musk pull it off?
Transportation authorities warn that Musk has taken on a good Herculean task.
“The viability of the business model is a substantial hurdle probably simply eclipsed by the complexity of the environmental review and the possibility of legal challenges,” cautioned Juane Matute, associate director of UCLA Lewis Middle and the Institute of Transportation Studies.
But Musk includes a track record of accomplishing some feats. His car enterprise, Tesla, has made electrical cars desirable, despite its issues keeping up with consumer demand. In the mean time, SpaceX — where Musk can be the CEO — has created low-cost, reusable rockets.
According to a Boring Firm spokesperson, the Los Angeles project will require no public financing. It is relying on decreased tunneling costs to fundamentally upend the economics of creating and operating a transit system.
“It’s refreshing that somebody has this notion,” Clifton Hood, the writer of 722 Miles: The Building of the Subways and How They Transformed New York, told CNN Tech. “It has been about 100 years since anyone considered doing this. Nonetheless it sounds like a fantasy.”
UCLA’s Matute said Hong Kong is the world’s only transit system that doesn’t require general public subsidies to break even. It gets the benefit of profits coming not really from transportation, but from real estate development.
By not seeking general public funding, The Boring Company is returning to the first days of subway systems. They were privately managed and built-in new residential and industrial developments. This effort increased the value of developments, which made money for the businesspeople who owned the land and subways. When the Great Depression hit, governments stepped in and general public funding became typical.
Related: All of the quirky information regarding the Boring Company
So far, The Boring Company has completed a short tunnel segment simply by SpaceX’s Los Angeles headquarters. It has applied for an excavation permit for a 6.5-mile route in Los Angeles, shown in red on the map below.
A good spokeswoman with the city’s Bureau of Engineering said it will review the application in the coming weeks and meet the Boring Company to determine next actions.
“L.A. is definitely a location where innovators come to build latest ideas that can modification our lives. Pumped up about exploring how Elon Musk’s Boring Company may help us build a much better future for our city,” Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted recently.
Spokesmen for the mayor and The Boring Company stressed that there would be a robust general public discussion before continue. The Phase 2, roughly 60-mile tunnel network is a concept, not really a finalized plan.
On the other hand, Matute cautions that the tunnels could become congested. Loop use a lift to deliver automobiles from the tunnels to surface-level streets.
But if these streets are ever congested, there may be no space to put vehicles, triggering a brand in the tunnel.
Traditional subway systems don’t face this issue, as dedicated underground stations provide a place for individuals to board and exit trains.
Yonah Freemark — the founder of The Transport Politic, a website tracking public transportation — warned that the impact of Musk’s Loop on existing transportation systems must be comprehended. Tunnels might make automobile transportation more desirable, causing more traffic on roads and near stations.
It is also unclear if Loop will hook up with Los Angeles’s existing mass transit systems.
“We’re all in a lttle bit of darkness about what’s going on,” Freemark said. “Placing some lines on a map is not being open about your plans.”