Underground Electric Tunnels

the-boring-company-1-980x420Sustainability issue: Energy,health

Traffic congestion results in significant air pollution in cities around the world. A study by Harvard, found that traffic congestion in 83 of the nation’s largest urban areas contributes to more than 2,200 premature deaths annually and costs the health system at least $18 billion. Congestion also causes noise pollution, economic losses due to unproductive time, unhappiness and increases fuel demand.

Technology:

  • The Boring Company, founded by Elon Musk, is an underground tunnel concept that would alleviate traffic congestion.
  • The technology involves digging tunnels that are less than 14 feet underneath cities (starting in California).
  • Vehicles on overground roads would drive up to an elevator station and slide into a stabilized electric skate (a flat plate on wheels propelled by an electric motor).
  • Once fixed on this electric skate the elevator would bring the vehicle down and the vehicle would be propelled through the tunnel (similar to a train). The controlled autonomous skate would allow vehicles to travel up to 125 miles per hour in urban areas and eliminates possibilities of human error or swerving.
  • According to the company, the electric component of the skate would result in zero-emissions. Therefore, for every mile the skate transports a gas-burning vehicle, it becomes a zero-emission mile. However, this is only fully valid if the power comes from renewables.

Source:
Article title: Elon Musk Says Elevator to Underground Tunnel Should be Functional Next Week
Website name: Forbes
Company website: https://www.boringcompany.com/
Link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/lianeyvkoff/2017/06/30/elon-musk-says-elevator-to-underground-tunnel-should-be-functional-next-week/#115d85a97f7a

Stakeholders:

  • Elon Musk
  • The Boring Company
  • Cities
  • Residents

Deployment/Implementation:

  1. Tunnels are currently incredibly expensive to dig. Creating an underground network of them below cities would be extortionately expensive. The first step is therefore to get investors onboard for the research and development of tunneling.
  2. Tunneling costs will need to be improved through the boring machine equipment by automating the process, increasing the power output and making it electric.
  3. Begin rolling out as a pilot program in a city in California, where the R&D and current tests are happening. Then, roll out gradually to cities that experience severe traffic congestion.
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3 thoughts on “Underground Electric Tunnels

  1. Comment about “Highway of the Future” post. Interesting and promising technology! The proposed implementation steps are quite vague and, in practice, it would be extremely hard to achieve this roll out. I love the concept but it raises numerous questions. How long would it take to replace 1 mile of highway with this technology? Where could this roll out take place first as a pilot project? How would the costs of installation to be absorbed? What about the costs and labour required to maintaining these PV panels?

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  2. This is a very interesting and cool concept! I wonder if this technology could be applied to above ground traffic as well to further ease traffic and remove any driving errors or driving patterns that cause traffic. Obviously it couldn’t go as fast above ground, but if people are not blocking roads and if there are fewer accidents, that would help immensely.

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