Will Elon Musk’s Tunnel Idea Actually Help Alleviate Los Angeles Traffic?

Los Angeles is notorious for its traffic. The city’s highways are among the nation’s most congested, causing regular delays and frustrating drivers, as any Los Angeles personal injury attorney knows. Elon Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur, has a plan to build tunnels to help alleviate the traffic problem. One tunnel, costing about $10 million, has already been built. Musk is working with the Boring Company, which is in the process of improving its digging machines to increase tunneling speed.

In December 2018, a mile-long stretch representing Musk’s vision was completed. The initial idea was to transport people in pods, but the tunnel is instead designed for passenger vehicles, including Musk’s Tesla cars. Test runs used Tesla Model X electric cars. Right now, the tunnel is wide enough for a single vehicle, which rides along a track on which the car is clamped to. However, vehicles can travel under their own power, possibly up to 150 miles per hour as the technology develops.

The idea is to provide a means of transportation below ground, away from congested roadways, to reduce congestion and get people from point A to point B faster.

An Ambitious Proposal

Known as the Loop, Musk’s idea was initially a type of mass-transit system, but has been refined to allow private vehicles. The caveat is each vehicle must have deployable tracking wheels. These are needed to maintain contact with walls built to keep vehicles in place. The project is part of a concept of transporting 4,000 vehicles an hour, at a high rate of speed to expedite transportation within the city.

Speed and convenience are certainly pros of this idea. However, there are various cons and setbacks critics of the proposal have raised concerns about. These include:

  • Cost: Subway systems in cities worldwide cost an average of $1 billion or more per mile to build. Even Musk himself has raised concerns about cost, citing the need to reduce the initial price of the system by a factor of 10, in order for it to work on a larger scale.
  • Logistics: Currently, a car is lowered into the tunnel via an elevator shaft. Creating a network of elevator shafts to lift and lower one vehicle per second is challenging, to say the least. How would ramps be built to let vehicles accelerate to highway speeds? If there’s an accident, how would a vehicle be removed from the tunnel?
  • Time: The first mile of test track took a year to build. New tunneling equipment in development promises to speed things up; Musk expects tunneling speed to increase by as much as 15-fold, relying on development efforts by the Boring Company.

A Means to Reduce Accidents

Unless drivers avoid hazards such as distracted driving or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, accidents will still happen. A network of tunnels under Los Angeles won’t change this. Safe transportation is the best way to stay protected. Automobile accidents represent one of the most common causes of personal injury; they’re often devastating and leave victims unable to work and earn an income, while medical, repair, legal, and utility bills come in and rent is due.

Have you or a loved one been injured in L.A. traffic or in a test drive for Elon Musk’s tunnel? Contact The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani, an experienced car accident attorney in Los Angeles, at 888-952-2952 for a free consultation, to see if you have a personal injury case that can result in much-needed financial compensation.