Elon Musk has been notoriously famous for bringing out-of-the-box ideas to life as a panacea for various issues faced by the human civilisation. One such solution that he put forward in 2016, after getting frustrated by the Los Angeles traffic, was a series of tunnels to work as a way of mass transit in a city. Essentially a modified version of Hyperloop (another of his ideas to serve as a public transport) the tunnel-idea took shape in the form of ‘The Boring Company’.
Fast forward to this day and the SpaceX and Tesla CEO has an entire team working dedicatedly towards making the tunnel transport a reality. The initial concept was limited to the use of electrically powered pods that would be lowered into the tunnels through various spots in the city (kind of like a subway) and sent off to their destinations at high speeds. Here is how the entire concept will work:
Building on this, Elon Musk has revealed further plans for the transit system through a series of recent tweets. As per the tech-entrepreneur, the system will be designed to give preference to pedestrians and cyclists over those using their own vehicles. As per Musk, this is “a matter of courtesy and fairness”. The new priorities redefine the company’s strategy to be a public transportation system rather than being just another ‘way’ for transport. Hyperloop is also a part of this decision.
Adjusting The Boring Company plan: all tunnels & Hyperloop will prioritize pedestrians & cyclists over cars— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 9, 2018
Musk further adds that cars will also be transported but only after a “personalised mass transit” system is in place.
Will still transport cars, but only after all personalized mass transit needs are met. It’s a matter of courtesy & fairness. If someone can’t afford a car, they should go first.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 9, 2018
So how does this differ from a subway? Musk explains the slight difference. Instead of big stations, as found in a subway system, Musk’s plan for the Boring Company’s network constitutes of “1000s of small stations the size of a single parking space” spread throughout the city to act as entry points for the users. As per Musk, the stations would “blend seamlessly into the fabric of a city”.
Boring Co urban loop system would have 1000’s of small stations the size of a single parking space that take you very close to your destination & blend seamlessly into the fabric of a city, rather than a small number of big stations like a subway— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 9, 2018
Granted that the idea sounds fancy, and equally efficient. If put in place as per Musk’s plans, it can act as a huge boost to the public transport system of a city, having the combined efficiency of an intra-city rail transit as well as an interconnected road system. However, no logistics of the entire plan have been put forward by Musk as of now. This raises a big question as to whether the entire transport system would be a sweet deal for the authorities or not. In case it falls in the latter category, Musk might face a dearth of takers for his grand ideas. So far, the Boring Company has only been able to attain as much as preliminary permits for digging up tunnels in Washington DC and Maryland.
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