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Elon Musk’s traffic-beating Boring Company | Manufacture News | News

The pros and cons of Elon Musk’s traffic-beating Boring Company

“Traffic is driving me nuts,” Elon Musk tweeted in December 2016. “Am going to build a tunnel-boring machine and just start digging.”

And like many other seemingly unfeasible bright ideas the Tesla CEO has, he’s gone and done it.

As motorcycle riders, we feel Musk’s frustration all the time – pesky commuters and Sunday drivers holding us up and getting in the way of our favourite set of bends. We, too, are thinking up unfeasible bright ideas in our helmets to make that white Camry travelling 15km/h below the speed limit magically disappear for good. But Elon Musk is a billionaire entrepreneur, and we’re not.

In a bid to revolutionise transport in an increasingly congested world, Elon Musk is proposing to build pressurised tunnels in which vehicles can be whisked around underneath their cities on an electric-powered skate, Scalextric style, at speeds
of 200km/h.

For those who want to travel between cities, Musk has an even crazier idea.

“For long-distance routes in straight lines, it will make sense to use pressurised pods in a depressurised tunnel to allow speeds up to approximately 600mph,” read a statement released by his Boring Company just last week.

So what he effectively wants to create are underground aeroplanes that can fling us around the place at 1000km/h. And, as crazy an idea as that seems, on

21 July Musk tweeted: “Just received verbal government approval for The Boring Company to build an underground New York-Philadelphia-Baltimore-DC Hyperloop. NY-DC in 29 mins.”

It remains to be seen whether the technology will become a reality in this part of the world in our lifetimes – or even our children’s lifetimes. Yet Musk says he’s optimistic it “will occur rapidly”.

If it does come to fruition, it will be great for motorcycle riders… right up to the point where it might spell the end of road riding for good.

PROS

Initially, Musk’s futuristic pipe dream will be nothing short of, well, dreamy for riders. All those cars ferrying commuters, holidayers, nine-to-fivers and rubber-neckers will magically disappear, freeing up our cities, mountain passes and rural backroads for motorcycling. Congestion and cars will significantly reduce and, fingers crossed, the level of enforcement may even follow suit. Right now, Musk’s plan caters for pedestrians and bicycle riders as well as passenger vehicles. But, like most emerging policies and proposals aimed at improving transport, it reveals little, or in this case zero, regard for motorcycles.

CONS

There we’ll be, sweeping through our favourite set of bends, not a car (or a copper) in sight singing Elon Musk’s praises within our helmets for making those Sunday drivers vanish into a series of tunnels somewhere deep beneath our warm sticky tyres. Soon enough, however, with no cars comes a drastically reduced need to maintain the roads, maintenance that costs all tiers of government big bucks each and every year. Not to mention the potential it would identify in using the land for other things. We might be getting ahead of ourselves, but before we know it motorcycling just may be confined to paddocks and racetracks. Careful what you wish for.

By Kel Buckley