Elon Musk Bores Deep to Ease Traffic
If you're into stuff like, ya know, eliminating gridlock in cities with abjectly miserable traffic like Los Angeles, Elon Musk's The Boring Co. is anything but. The Tesla and SpaceX entrepreneur's latest venture digs deep (literally) to find a traffic-cessation solution, proposing underground tunnels that would carry our vehicles via an electric cart across great distances at 125 mph.
"To solve the problem of soul-destroying traffic, roads must go 3-D, which means either flying cars or tunnels," TBC's website states. "Unlike flying cars, tunnels are weatherproof, out of sight and won't fall on your head. A large network of road tunnels many levels deep would fix congestion in any city, no matter how large it grew (just keep adding levels)."
The idea seems positively Rube Goldbergian at first, but you gotta hand it to 'em, the company's description of this veritable subterranean pneumatic-tube system sucks you right in as you read it. The biggest obstacle, naturally, is cost, with tunneling costs running as high as $1 billion a mile, according to TBC. Musk wants to knock that down to less than $100 million a mile by halving the necessary diameter of a one-lane tunnel to 14 feet; tripling the speed of boring machinery; modifying, automating and electrifying existing technology to enable continuous tunneling; and improving safety and efficiency.
As for the electric sled that would whisk your car from point A to point B in dramatically reduced time, TBC says it would not only eliminate human error — the general cause of 94 percent of crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — but also reduce pollution through its zero-emissions propulsion system. Moreover, TBC says the tunnels when properly designed will not be vulnerable to earthquakes like above-ground structures, construction would be silent to surface dwellers and the excavated dirt could even be used for earthen bricks to reinforce the tunnel itself.
Here at Cars.com's Chicago headquarters, we feel compelled to note that there is some precedent for subterranean street systems. If you know how to use Lower Wacker Drive and our other underground roadways, you can traverse downtown a lot quicker than inching down Michigan Avenue. But Musk's will be even faster and more efficient — and without Lower Wacker's dangerous illegal street racing contingent and homeless population.
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