If you haven’t heard of The Boring Company by now, you’re likely living under a rock! The company started by billionaire Elon Musk in 2016 to reduce traffic congestion has recently taken over the city of Austin, Texas and we can’t wait to see what comes next!
The Boring Company is basically a tunnelling company that’s changing the way we look at cities and transportation as we know it! They built a tunnel connecting downtown Los Angeles to Hawthorne, CA and now they’ve expanded their reach all the way to Austin, Texas!
What problems are people having in cities?
In a city like Austin, drivers spend up to 2 hours per day commuting between the house and their office or workplace. With traffic being one of the biggest concerns in cities across the country, The Boring Company came up with a brilliant solution: building tunnels underground where cars can travel through them at breakneck speeds of up to 200mph, directly into your garage. The Boring Company is helping solve problems that have been plaguing America since its inception: slow commutes, overcrowding on public transportation, and pollution from cars that aren’t environmentally-friendly (or environmentally safe).
Imagine the next time you’re late leaving work, you can skip traffic in the tunnel on your way home. You might be able to get out of meetings a little earlier if you go through the tunnel and meet your client at their office rather than going across town to see them face-to-face. The possibilities are endless, but they require infrastructure – well thought out and built with the people’s best interests in mind by hardworking individuals who are looking out for future generations. That’s where The Boring Company comes in: with Elon Musk at its helm, anything is possible when you have a visionary with a firm grasp on reality working toward making our lives easier, more enjoyable, and overall better than ever before.
How can a boring company solve these problems?
There are a few questions people have about the Boring Company: How does digging tunnels solve traffic problems? What do you mean ‘remove’ cars from the road? The answer lies in what Musk calls loop technology, which utilizes electric skates that travel underground on an elevated loop track to remove cars from the surface streets. These electric skates will be able to transport multiple cars at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour, meaning a trip from LAX airport in Los Angeles, CA (hosting most domestic flights) to downtown San Francisco would only require 5-10 minutes at high speeds; so fast that if someone were listening closely they might not even hear their car leave one city or arrive at another.
While the challenges of digging tunnels might be great, in the grand scheme of things – they’re trivial. The main challenge comes down to funding; Musk estimates that the cost of boring one mile of the tunnel will cost less than $10 million, but with a price tag like that you can imagine that boring 10 miles will be an incredibly expensive endeavour – almost unachievable without significant government funding or private investors. That being said, there’s still some hope on the horizon as Tesla has already begun installation of their first battery-powered tunnel at their headquarters in Hawthorne, CA which will connect Tesla’s parking lot across 120th street towards Culver City traffic intersections.
So how do we solve the problem of constructing a tunnel that will be able to hold cars travelling 150 miles per hour? Perhaps there’s something already existing which can help us with some of the challenges faced by the Boring Company in its efforts to solve traffic: The mining industry, one of the only other industries in human history which involve boring massive tunnels through rock. Specifically,
What will an underground future look like?
That futuristic vision of a network of underground tunnels could soon become a reality. The privately-funded project, dubbed The Boring Company, intends to construct large networks of tunnel systems in various locations around the world. Although their main project (with the intention of alleviating traffic congestion) is based in Los Angeles, they are also currently considering expanding in the State of Texas as well as Chicago, Illinois with several other locations on the table. If they plan to extend into our state in 2022, we’re all for it! They have an impressive track record with many successful test runs having been conducted since starting operations back in 2017.
The system in Los Angeles should include up to thirty miles of tunnels with a loop system transporting passengers on electric skates at speeds up to 155mph per hour in both directions. This is a fantastic alternative to the typical traffic congestion that plagues many of the world’s most populated cities!
Speaking of their progress, they have already completed their first tunnel under the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne California and are working hard on getting permits from the city council so they can start construction of their test tunnel in Los Angeles as soon as possible. You can keep up with The Boring Company on Twitter (@boringcompany) where updates are regularly shared by founder Elon Musk who claims that tests are going well so far.
That’s not the only reason we love The Boring Company here in Texas! They are one of the first fully emission-free transportation methods that have ever been developed which means they have no negative impact on the environment at all. Our state already has a serious problem with air pollution and their system could help drastically reduce harmful emissions from vehicles on our roadways going forward. Although other cities have made efforts to improve air quality, not much has changed, unfortunately – hopefully by 2022, a movie like The Boring Company would make a big difference in improving our homes here in Texas.
Can you still see stars in a city where everything is underground?
When Elon Musk announced the first details of his new venture in 2016, The Boring Company, one of the first questions everyone had was whether or not people would still be able to see stars when driving down a tunnel. It’s a valid question considering that many city dwellers rarely see constellations outside their high-rise apartment windows (especially in Los Angeles). After all, how can you go anywhere if there’s nothing to get you from point A to point B? But as it turns out, that vision may just be possible—if an ambitious plan from The Boring Company comes true. The concept involves taking cars underground in small tunnels that can fit between two and 16 vehicles at a time before spitting them out on city streets on the other side of town.
The details of the plan are still under wraps, but Musk’s concept sounds like a familiar one: The Hyperloop—the long-range pneumatic transit system proposed by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk that would move cars and passengers in tubes at very high speeds. It’s safe to say that whatever the idea ends up being, Musk seems committed to making sure Texans can see the stars from their cars. And considering his previous ventures into renewable energy have already had such an impact on our state, we certainly wouldn’t mind seeing what The Boring Company could do for us in the years ahead. After all, who doesn’t want roads with more traffic? The boring answer is no one.
The exciting answer is… well, you get the point. Whatever the future holds for The Boring Company, there’s no doubt that it will be something exciting. With such bold ideas and powerful leaders behind them, you never know where these tunnels might end up going next… or how many times they might wind around along the way!
How does SpaceX fit into the picture?
SpaceX, Elon Musk’s rocket company, also has its sights set on solving the traffic congestion problem in Texas. The Boring Company announced that the two companies will collaborate on a new Hyperloop tunnel project: to connect downtown Chicago with O’Hare airport—the nation’s second busiest airport—with a travel time of just 20 minutes from door-to-door, said Steve Davis, SpaceX’s head of special projects in an interview with Fortune. It means you can get from downtown Chicago to downtown LA in under 30 minutes. Well, space isn’t a limiting factor here… How fast can The Boring Company make tunnels?
The Hyperloop was first conceptualized by Elon Musk in 2013, who outlined the technology in a white paper he published on the SpaceX website. The idea was that Hyperloop tunnels would be dug out of the ground below major cities, then vacuumed-sealed tubes would transport people and cargo at speeds of up to 760 miles per hour (1,220 km/h). It’s not just cars that can go fast—humans can too. Musk believes these new electric skates could potentially allow us to travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco in half an hour or less; you could even see your family back home in New York City within an hour.
Imagine taking a high-speed train that could reach speeds of more than 600 miles per hour; one that would save you hours of your time—making the hyperloop a possible game-changer in transportation. The tunnel construction on the project could have as big an impact on traffic in major cities as Musk’s Tesla has had on emissions with electric cars, though early estimations put the expected cost at around $1 billion to dig each mile of tunnels under LA – but hopefully we’ll see that price come down soon. Cities are changing fast. Keep up with the CityLab Daily newsletter. The best way to follow issues you care about. Subscribe Loading…
Are there any drawbacks to this plan?
The only thing not going The Boring Company’s way is the fact that they can’t start building tunnels because of City Council regulations preventing tunnel-digging without a review process which takes at least six months. This means that if The Boring Company wants to start construction on its first actual project, it will have to appeal the city council’s decision or face an 18-month delay in construction… I mean, let’s be honest here, who would even want to do that? In a perfect world, the government would step aside and allow businesses like The Boring Company to do what they do best: change people’s lives through innovation and make America great again. But as they say, It’s better than nothing!
So, what’s so important about the first actual project? It’s in the heart of Texas, only a 2-hour drive from Austin and no doubt will benefit the state greatly with money, jobs and innovation brought on by The Boring Company. You may be wondering what could bring so much of a difference; I mean how many roads can one possibly dig before they hit rock bottom? Well here are just some ideas that The Boring Company has already put out there:
The Dugout Loop would connect the Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles to the LAX airport, allowing fans to avoid traffic while traveling to games. The Chicago Express Loop would connect downtown Chicago with O’Hare International Airport, reducing travel time between the two locations from more than an hour down to 12 minutes. And finally, The East Coast Loop would connect Washington D.C., Baltimore and New York City through underground tunnels at speeds up to 150 miles per hour (though Elon Musk says he hopes that technology improves even further). These three projects alone would save millions of people countless hours stuck in traffic each year as well as billions of dollars spent on gas every year.
So what should we do next?
The next step for The Boring Company is an extension of the first: drilling holes deep under the city in order to avoid digging up city streets above ground. The company will be applying to the FCC, which grants radio licenses, to operate a low-power transmitter that would operate in the 700 MHz band at 1250 watts effective radiated power (ERP). This would enable them to transmit wirelessly through their tunneling machines on their way toward a network of service shafts that connect outbound tunnels directly with existing transportation infrastructure like subway stations or bus stops. It’s an exciting time as people around the world slowly become more aware of The Boring Company’s mission and vision of a tunnel network in cities across the globe.
So, what should The Boring Company do next? I’d like to propose a few things they can do:
- 1) Continue trying to tunnel under Hawthorne California as an experimental proof of concept;
- 2) Apply for temporary permits in other locations where the city could use additional transportation capacity and agree with the underground construction;
- 3) Apply for a permanent permit in Hawthorne;
- 4) Send out teams of engineers across the globe proposing ways that local governments can fund their own projects, thereby getting each city involved in what will hopefully become a global network of interconnected cities with one common goal—to make humanity more awesome through technology and innovation!
In summary, The Boring Company is an exciting company with a bold mission to make humanity more awesome through technology and innovation. For example, boring technology will enable us to deploy an extensive underground tunnel network in cities across the globe that will enable people to travel great distances at high speeds in zero-emission electric vehicles (buses, cars, private transit). This is the type of cutting edge thinking that has propelled humanity forward throughout history. I’m very excited about what the future holds for The Boring Company and their groundbreaking work!