Tesla CEO Elon Musk is apparently turning his focus from Mars to Earth, proposing to dig a tunnel that could decrease Los Angeles traffic, according to the LA Times. Last month, Musk told his 6 million Twitter followers that “Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging….”
Is the Tesla CEO really serious about it?
At that time, Musk dubbed the project “The Boring Company” and said he is really going to do it. Tesla’s CEO backed up the project Wednesday by tweeting that he had made “exciting progress on the tunnel front” and intends to begin digging in a month or so.
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— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 25, 2017
When Musk was asked the location of the tunnel, he tweeted, “Starting across from my desk at SpaceX. Crenshaw and the 105 Freeway, which is 5 mins from LAX.”
Tunnels have two ends, but the Tesla CEO offered only one end, which just heightens the intrigue.
How serious Musk is about the project can’t be determined as of now, but we must not forget that he is the same person who landed a rocket upright and made electric vehicles really cool.
According to the LA Times, the CEO has not yet applied for permits with the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering. Agency spokeswoman Mary Nemick said they are not aware of any permit applications for a tunnel beneath the Public Right of Way. Nemick added that any such permit applications for a tunnel beneath the Public Right of Way would require the approval of the city council.
Will a tunnel serve the purpose?
Speaking to tech publication The Verge, Musk reiterated his aim of traffic mitigation by stating that without tunnels, they will all be in traffic hell forever.
“I really do think tunnels are the key to solving urban gridlock. Being stuck in traffic is soul-destroying. Self-driving cars will actually make it worse by making vehicle travel more affordable,” Musk said.
He could not be more wrong about this, says Wired. A tunnel would not reduce traffic, nor would a highway or five new highways. What should be blamed is the law of induced demand, which says the more roads you build, the more people come out to use them.
Considering the bureaucratic hell that Musk would be facing in gaining approval from multiple municipalities, building a massive tunnel in the Southland could be more difficult than rocket science, says the LA Times. Or maybe Musk is alluding to an underground test track for his hyperloop tech.