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Elon Musk's Boring Company Finally Unveils Las Vegas Tunnel

Sunday April 11, 2021. 09:34 AM , from Slashdot
Elon Musk's Boring Company showed off its 1.7 mile loop of tunnel underneath the Las Vegas Convention Center this week, and Electrek writes that 'it proved to be, well, quite boring... The vehicles are not going faster than 35 mph, and they are not being driven autonomously.'

CNET's headline even calls the tunnel 'lame,' complaining that the project 'is quickly turning into Tesla cars driving people underground, rather than some sort of futuristic transport system.'

'Detractors say that makes The Boring Company's projects little more than reinvented subways with significantly less passenger capacity,' adds Business Insider:
Critics also point out that The Boring Company's noble aim of building congestion-alleviating tunnels under cities worldwide ignores the phenomenon of induced demand, which says that more roadways — even underground ones — will give way to more cars.

But Jalopnik had probably the harshest reaction to the Vegas Loop, noting that the speed of the system is 'about 10 mph less than the top speed of a 1908 Ford Model T,' and calling it 'about as exciting as a sheet of unpainted drywall discarded in a closed office park...'
Musk's The Boring Company own the machines that dug the tunnels, and those machines, some of which were heavily modified by the company, are capable of using the excess dirt from the tunnel to turn into bricks, which is pretty cool, I guess. Raw, humid thrills of brick-making aside, all this really is are some Teslas driving in tunnels lined with LED lights.

Sure, it's a 45-minute walk (correction, more like 20 minutes, sorry) on the surface and only a few minutes ride underneath, but the system is still remarkably bad at moving large numbers of people per hour, the metric normally used to evaluate mass transit systems. While it was originally intended to move up to 4,400 people per hour, fire regulations will limit the system to moving between 800 and 1,200 people per hour. That said, it looks like the company still states the 4,400 number, when used with 62 cars in the tunnel, though based on the safety issues, this does not seem likely. That's in the same ballpark as normal vehicular street traffic for private cars (600 to 1,600 people per hour) and a lot less than a dedicated bus lane (4,000 to 8,000 per hour) — hell, normal 60-passenger buses can do about 1,800 per hour, if we have them going back and forth every two minutes or so.

A dumb old sidewalk can move 9,000 people an hour! But that's walking, which is what animals do, and it takes a while and has the potential to make you sweat. Proposed moving high-speed sidewalks, similar to the ThyssenKrupp ACCEL system used in the Toronto Pearson International airport, are expected to move about 7,000 people per hour, and such a system would be far cheaper and easier to build... As it stands now, we have a few Teslas driving around in long, narrow loops under the convention center, saving you a bit of walking but doing every other part of the job of moving people worse than almost any other solution.
Business Insider's report adds that the Boring Company 'aims to expand the system to other Las Vegas destinations, including the airport and downtown' — and that the company also in talks with Miami officials about a similar project.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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