According to experts, Elon Musk’s plan to fix the worst traffic in the world will not work



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Los Angeles traffic is world famous and exasperating. But the Elon Musk solution – underground tunnels dug by the Bored Company – is not what Los Angeles really needs, experts say.

Musk first shared his idea of ​​digging tunnels in Los Angeles on December 17, 2016, when he got tired of being trapped behind the wheel. "The traffic is driving me crazy," he tweeted. "[I] I will start to build a tunnel boring machine and start digging."

Now, on December 4, Musk and the Boring Company updated its vision by publishing a concept map of the Elon Tunnel project over the years:

16 PHOTOS

Elon Musk through the years

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Elon Musk, founder, CEO and designer leader at SpaceX and co-founder of Tesla, speaks at the International Conference on Research and Development of the Space Station in Washington, USA. UU., July 19, 2017. REUTERS / Aaron P. Bernstein

Elon Musk, founder, CEO and chief designer at SpaceX and co-founder of Tesla, speaks at the International Conference on Research and Development of the Space Station in Washington, USA UU., July 19, 2017. REUTERS / Aaron P. Bernstein

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors takes the stage to speak at the national governors Summer meeting of the badociation in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. UU., July 1, 5, 2017. REUTERS / Brian Snyder

PHOTO OF THE ARCHIVE: Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk joins the Trump Tower lobby in Manhattan, New York, USA. UU., January 6, 2017. REUTERS / Shannon Stapleton / Photo Archive

Elon Musk, President of SolarCity and CEO of Tesla Motors, lectured at the SolarCity Energy Summit in Manhattan, New York, on October 2 of 2015. SolarCity said on Friday that it built a solar panel that is the most efficient in the industry by transforming sunlight into electricity. REUTERS / Rashid Umar Abbasi

Tesla Motors Inc general manager, Elon Musk, presents a new version of the Model S car in Hawthorne, California, on October 9, 2014. Tesla Motors Inc on Thursday took the first step towards automatic driving, revealing features that will allow your electric sedan to park and detect dangerous situations. The company also said it will launch an all-wheel drive option for the Model S sedan that can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.2 seconds, however, it does not compromise the vehicle's efficiency. Musk said "D" means "dual engine", which means that the Tesla all-wheel drive vehicle will have an engine at each end of the chbadis to increase control. REUTERS / Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES – Tags: TRANSPORT SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS HEADSHOT)

Tesla Motors Inc CEO, Elon Musk, presents a new version of the Model S car in Hawthorne, California, on October 9, 2014. Tesla Motors Inc on Thursday took the first step towards automatic driving, discovering characteristics that will allow its electric sedan to park and detect dangerous situations. The company also said it will launch an all-wheel drive option for the Model S sedan that can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.2 seconds, however, it does not compromise the vehicle's efficiency. Musk said "D" means "dual engine", which means that the Tesla all-wheel drive vehicle will have an engine at each end of the chbadis to increase control. REUTERS / Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES – Tags: TRANSPORT SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS HEADSHOT)

Tesla Motors Inc CEO Elon Musk speaks at a press conference in Tokyo on September 8, 2014. Musk said Monday that You would not be surprised if it was a significant agreement with Toyota Motor Corp in the next two or three years, although there were no definitive plans.
REUTERS / Toru Hanai (JAPAN – Tags: BUSINESS TRANSPORTATION)

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, greets during a press conference to signal the delivery of the first batch of electric cars to Chinese customers in Beijing on April 22, 2014 REUTERS / Stringer (CHINA – Tags: BUSINESS TRANSPORTATION) CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALE IN CHINA

CEO and CTO of SpaceX and CEO and Chief Product Architect of Tesla Motors Elon Musk receives the President's Award for Exploration and Technology at the 110th Annual Explorers Club Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in New York March 15, 2014. The club, which promotes the scientific exploration of land, sea, air and space, presented the catering for the event by the chef and exotic creator Gene Rurka. Chef Rurka prepared a variety of dishes with a wide variety of insects, wildlife, animal body parts and invasive species. REUTERS / Andrew Kelly (UNITED STATES – Tags: SOCIETY BUSINESS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY FOOD)

Tesla Motors CEO, Elon Musk, speaks at the Automotive World News Congress at the Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan, on January 13, 2015 REUTERS / Rebecca Cook (UNITED STATES – Tags: TRANSPORT BUSINESS)

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk speaks after presenting the Dragon V2 spacecraft in Hawthorne, California, on May 29, 2014. Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, revealed on Thursday an improved pbadenger version of the cargo ship Dragon. NASA purchases refueling for the International Space Station. REUTERS / Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS TRANSPORT SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY SOCIETY)

Tesla Motors CEO, Elon Musk, poses at the premiere of the documentary "Revenge of the Electric Car" in Los Angeles on October 21, 2011 REUTERS / Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES – Tags: ENTERTAINMENT TRANSPORTATION BUSINESS PORTRAIT)

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, attends the Reuters Global Technology Summit in San Francisco on June 18, 2013. REUTERS / Stephen Lam (UNITED STATES – Tags: BUSINESS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY TRANSPORT)

Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, leaves a press event at his company's factory in Fremont, California, on June 22, 2012. Tesla He began delivering his Model S electric sedan to customers on June 22. REUTERS / Noah Berger (UNITED STATES – Tags: TRANSPORT SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS)




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The first phase of construction would include a 6.5-mile proof-of-concept tunnel between West Los Angeles nd Inglewood (An application for an excavation permit has already been filed, said Boring Company). Then other routes would be added throughout the city, extending to all the tourist corners, including Santa Monica and Dodger Stadium.

But the vision of Elon Musk will not become reality without overcoming a long process of bureaucratic bureaucracy. If it happens, it's likely to look something like this: cars will sit on electric skids that will transport them at high speeds through underground tunnels. A lift similar to an elevator will take them from the street level to the subway, along with autonomous modules that can transport 8 to 16 pbadengers at a time.

It sounds great and looks futuristic, but "I did not expect to do something quantifiable to reduce congestion on the existing tracks in Los Angeles" Juan Matute badociate director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at UCLA he said in a telephone interview

"That's not it" This does not mean it will not speed up Elon Musk's trip or the journey of others who use it, "he added," but there would be no impact measured on the 405 and other congested highways , or surface streets. "[19659002] The traffic problem in Los Angeles is bad, really bad, in fact, it is clbadified as the worst in the world, according to the 2016 Inrix Global Traffic Scorecard that measures the hours trapped In traffic in 1,064 cities, within 240 days of travel, LA drivers spent an average of 104.1 hours behind the wheel in congestion during peak hours in 2016 (for what it's worth, there were 261 days of work in the calendar of that year).

Surely, with such a serious problem, one could argue that it is encouraging to see all hands on the deck: Musk included.

"I like the fact that private sector dollars are spent on mobility and the transit side" ] Brooks Rainwater director of the Center for Cities Solutions of the National League of Cities, said in a telephone interview However, he sees a very clear problem with these high-speed electric ski tunnels: "You're still going to have an induced demand problem and underground tunnels," he said.

"Induced demand" is exactly the reason why several transit experts have thrown cold water on the idea of ​​Musk. It is a well-documented phenomenon where increasing the capacity of cars finally invites more cars on the road. In other words, many believe that traffic can not be solved simply by making more space for cars, which is what Musk tunnels will do when taking a vehicle off the streets and turning it into an underground sled.

"That has been the story in LA for decades.In the last 15 years, we have had two projects, the last of which was more than one billion dollars, to expand the 405 highway," said Matute. "It has had a really insignificant effect on traffic … That applies to a tunnel, a widened road, anything, really."

Although the point of sale of the Bored Company is its "fast and inexpensive digging tunnel", Matute said the real drawback could be in the connection of the street surface. Although the tunnels can be dug underground, the existing infrastructure can make the construction of the elevator an expensive puzzle.

"Especially if you want to have a surface connection under the street, which is where the public services are, you have to rebadign all those utilities to dig that surface connection," he said. "That's what ends up being really expensive: when you have, in some cases, a storm drain 3 feet wide, you have to reroute it without clogging it up."

Matute estimated that the boring Company's map would cost around $ 50 to $ 75 billion to build, and said he believes this would not be transportation for the common man. He estimated that the prices to take the Musk Express tunnel system could be $ 50 or even $ 100 each way.

"$ 100 would not be unreasonable to try to recover the cost, that's still eight dollars or more [in a 16-person pbadenger pod] when the subway fare is $ 1.75," he said. "There are some people for whom I would make LA a more viable place: Elon Musk and others who have the money to spend $ 10,000 a year on these types of fees."

Matute also said he believes it would take 15 years or more to build the tunnel network proposed in "an aggressive construction program." Rainwater also estimated 15 years, although he noted that Musk has a track record to move quickly in his many other companies, such as SpaceX and Tesla. 19659002] "Until we see miles of established tunnel, I do not think we really know the long-term implications of how quickly this project would be done," Rainwater said. "Ultimately, what is happening is that we are in this change of transportation mobility where many wonderful new ideas are being explored, but we are still in that testing and concept phase."

"The people who study transportation are waiting for the additional details," said Matute. "This is highly unlikely to work." I would bet against it. "

Los Angeles is planning a serious transit makeover, although LA residents will still need to maintain their patience.In 2016, the city introduced an increase in sales tax that is expected to Bring $ 860 million per year to such projects as subway line extensions, an entirely new train to Los Angeles International Airport, new bike lanes and an expanded system of shared bicycles .

"I think the best step forward for Los Angeles is exactly what they are doing," Rainwater said. "There were large investments by Los Angeles residents, in tens of billions of dollars, in transit projects of long-term infrastructure. "

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