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mazingerz88's avatar

Would Elon Musk’s underground tunnel for cars catch on?

Asked by mazingerz88 (26241points) December 21st, 2018 from iPhone

You may have to goggle it. 40 million invested in a 1.14 mile tunnel for cars experiment to deal with traffic above. Musk’s Boring Co. ( for real ) is set to build these tunnels.

Could there be a real future for this business venture?

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17 Answers

notnotnotnot's avatar

I sure hope not. We have had solutions to traffic for a really long time: public transportation. Creating more roads – whether above or underground – is backwards.

JLeslie's avatar

Sounds good to me if it’s not ridiculously expensive and will not take a millineum to pay off. It’s only practical for certain cities. It would be nice for people traveling across country. Imagine this in Atlanta. The traffic there is ridiculous.

kritiper's avatar

I think it would catch on like farts in church. The first time some car caught on fire inside that nice white tunnel, and it would be all over.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Depends. A 1 mile sample tunnel doesn’t prove much except that they know how to dig holes – this was just a prototype.

Where this has a future is for longer routes – Dallas to Houston, NY to Washington, Chicago to St Louis – where there is a significant amount of traffic daily.

I think this is a fine idea to be experimenting with – after all, you have to test something before it goes into production. If it works, great. If not, at least they tried.

gorillapaws's avatar

As Musk points out, we work in 3d buildings but commute all at once on 2-d roads. Tunnels are a way of adding an extra dimension without having to fly. I’d take a tunnel before trusting people with flying vehicles. We’d have an unintentional 9/11 every other week.

As for the tunnel, the point is that Musk is working on bringing the cost way down for tunneling technology. For example, they’re using the waste dirt to produce bricks on-site that they can sell instead of spending lots of money to haul the dirt away. I don’t know if Musk will be successful, he’s got too much on his plate as it is, but if anyone can pull it off, it would be him.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I wish they had tunnels for crossing a 70 mph, 4 lane highway. I wish they could go under the highway instead of pulling out into it. Scares the shit out of me.

ragingloli's avatar

I would not count on it.
Building the network would require a massive up front cost, because you need to carve out all those tunnels. Through soil, through rock, sand, marshland, under rivers and lakes, and you would likely have to bypass or replace existing water, electricity, and communication infrastructure.
Then the entire network requires constant supervision, and endless, uninterrupted maintainance of those tunnels, AND every car that goes through it. You can not afford a single pothole or defective car in those tunnels.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

They did sell quality flame throwers.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

The Boring Company is designing a tunnel from Chicago’s O’Hare airport to downtown. It will be a subway, not for automobiles.

We’ll see if it happens. The tough thing I see is getting past all the structures that are below ground already. There are roads and parking and subways and utilities. Buildings sit on 80 foot pilings. It seems like they’ll have to go really, really deep and then make a steep climb to the downtown terminal.

If they do build it, that will show they can do it most cities.

JLeslie's avatar

@elbanditoroso Oh, is that the plan? I pictured it across dense cities, but you describe it connecting major cities. I really don’t know anything about the vision he has for it.

gorillapaws's avatar

@JLeslie There are 2 different visions. One is called the hyperloop which is a longer distance pod that travels in a partial vacuum at insane speeds powered by solar panels. Musk sketched out that idea and published it for others to build. The second vision is the urban tunnel concept to help with commuting traffic. The latter project is what the boring company is working on currently.

JLeslie's avatar

^^Thanks. Years ago I was explaining to a Memphis friend that the east coast has an auto train, I was thinking there should be more availability of this service. Now, hearing about a possible long distance car tunnel, I would think it’s cheaper to just add auto carrying trains to more lines already existing, and move cars that way across long distance for an easier intermediary option. It’s just not a super high speed, but it serves a purpose. Less traffic on the highways, easier traveling for drivers going long distances.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

The long-distance hyperloop is not like the auto train. It’s a passenger-only service, to compete with airplanes.

I don’t think it will happen, because the track is ridiculously expensive compared to roads and rail.

And even compared to aircraft. It’s an airtight tube 100s of miles long. An airplane is an airtight tube 100–300 feet long. The hyperloop is essentially like maintaining an aircraft that is 100s of miles long.

JLeslie's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay I’m confused. The hyperloop is for people, but isn’t it just out to the suburbs?

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Hyperloops are proposed for travel between cities, going 700 mph in a near-vacuum tube. Very different from the tunnel in Los Angeles, which is just an underground road.

One of the companies working on the idea is Hyperloop one, and possible routes they have proposed are:
Dallas to Laredo to Houston
Cheyenne to Denver to Pueblo
Miami to Orlando
Toronto to Ottawa to Montreal
Mexico City to Guadalajara
Edinburgh to London
Glasgow to Liverpool
Bengaluru (Bangalore) to Chennai
Mumbai to Chennai

But it’s hypothetical. Only some short tubes less than 1 mile in length have been set up and they aren’t completed.

JLeslie's avatar


Usually in South Florida we don’t do anything underground. Underground is under water. I thought the fast train between Miami to Orlando was approved, but I don’t know where that stands.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh so nothing in Kansas deserves a hyperloop. See how you are. >_<.

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