Last night, we learned that the Boring Company can do for tunneling what Space X did for space exploration: take a first-principles approach and get vastly improved results for lower cost. This will make life better for water pipes and electrical lines.
But people? Hmmm.
At this early stage, the efficiency gains in tunneling are wasted on an inefficient and dangerous means of human transport. A tunnel is best traveled by something long and tubular, like a subway train, not a teensy pod that carries a handful of people and needs special elevators. Moreover, car tires have no place in an MRI-like tunnel with no margin for error and no means of user-abort if things go wrong. That’s why subways use rails. They’re not perfect, but they sure beat rubber. Better yet, bring on the Hyperloop subway propulsion system already.
Cities are 3D, but the transportation serving them is 2D. That’s the problem, says Musk. Well, cities are 3D above ground, while tunnel systems are 3D underground. If the underground vehicles need to surface, you’ll have bottlenecks. Unless we start building underground cities to complement a renaissance in tunneling, and get the Hyperloop technology working to boot, the Boring capillary system will suffer blood clots and strokes, just like our highway arteries of today. The Boring company will merely turn the highway clusterfucks of today into the tunnel clusterfucks of tomorrow.