Elon Musk’s Plan to Fix LA Traffic Now Comes With a Map

Jan 24, 2018

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If your name is the Boring Company, what you do is dig tunnels. If you are owned by Elon Musk, you’re probably also a company with grand ambitions. And that’s exactly what Musk’s Boring Company is, with its proposal to build a revolutionary mass transit system to help solve the giant problem of traffic in Los Angeles. We knew about the proposal, but now we know the routing of the tunnel and we have seen an official plan for an  underground transportation beneath Culver City, California.

On Monday, Boring Company’s Operation Coordinator Jehn Balajadia presented the plan to the Culver City Council. “The purpose of Boring Company is to alleviate soul-destroying traffic and augment public transit,” said Balajadia at the meeting.

During the 45-minute presentation Balajadia revealed the plans for a 6.5 mile tunnel that would connect Los Angeles and Hawthorne, running beneath Culver City. The system would allow for cars or pedestrians to enter tubes where they would then be loaded onto “skates,” autonomous electric platforms that are whisked through the tunnels at a speeds of up to 150mph.  Skates would either feature a pod that could hold eight to 16 pedestrians, or be empty to accommodate a car.

A model of the mass transit skate pod.
A model of the mass transit skate pod. Image courtesy of the Boring Company.

The tunnel is actually Boring Company’s second, but it will be the first that’s actually open to the public. In 2016 Musk acquired a tunnel boring machine and built a test mine under SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne. The new tunnel would begin at the Space X headquarters, pass under Culver City and Sepulveda Boulevard and arrive somewhere in West LA. It would act more as a “proof of process” and could be used as a basis for future projects.

The Boring Company shared its Phase 1 (in red) and Phase 2 map (in blue) — revealing the potential areas that could see service by the futuristic system. The Boring Company notes that the map is just a concept, and not a “finalized alignment”.

Musk and his Boring Company are also in talks with the city of Chicago to build a similar system between downtown Chicago and O’Hare Airport (ORD).

The transportation system would be funded completely by the Boring Company and Balajadia said that the cost of use would be comparable to public transportation.

According to Bloomberg, city council members were optimistic but also expressed concern about the feasibility of the project and the competition with public transit.

“This is really seductive,” said council member Meghan Sahli-Wells. “It looks super sexy and super easy, but it’s half baked from a public perspective.”

The company still needs to apply for a permit, and then be approved by Culver City, before any construction begins, so it’s a long way off. It has also applied for, but has yet to be approved for, excavation permits in Los Angeles. Caltrans, California’s transportation agency, has to sign off on the proposal as well.

Featured image courtesy of the Boring Company.

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