The Tesla founder’s firm the Boring Company plans to create a network of passageways underneath the city to help people dodge its notoriously busy traffic.
Musk shared more details about the project, which will carry passengers at high speeds aboard electric shuttles, at a Boring Company event on Thursday evening.
Describing the service – dubbed Loop – as ‘almost like an autonomous, underground multi-level car system’, Musk said the tunnels may one day number in the thousands.
‘It’s one [solution for LA traffic] we think could work and is worth trying,’ he said.
The SpaceX founder added he would offer free trips through the first two research tunnels to get public feedback before proceeding with a larger system.
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Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has promised members of the public will pay just $1 (£0.74) for 150mph trips through his tunnels beneath Los Angeles. Pictured is Musk at a Boring Company event on Thursday evening in which he shared more details about the project
‘Like a weird little Disney ride in LA,’ Musk said, speaking to a crowd off around 700 at a community information session in LA’s affluent Bel Air neighbourhood.
It remained uncertain whether construction permits he has received or is still seeking would allow public access to his tunnels on an experimental basis.
Musk’s proposed route runs from SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne to West Los Angeles passing underneath Sepulveda Boulevard through Culver City.
Musk has claimed the tunnel trip will take five minutes, compared to 45 minutes driving in normal LA traffic.
Elon Musk’s firm the Boring Company plans to gouge a network of passageways underneath the city to help people dodge its notoriously busy traffic. In this image Musk (left) and Boring Company project leader Steve Davis (right) speaking at this week’s event
Musk said the service will move LA commuters off of above-ground roads, which could then be cleared away to make way for parking spaces.
Musk (pictured at the event) said he would offer free trips through the first two research tunnels to get public feedback
He promised the tunnel-burrowing project could be achieved without disturbance or noise at the surface.
‘You won’t hear us, you won’t feel us, you won’t even know we exist,’ said Steve Davis, a project leader at the Boring Company who spoke with Musk at the event.
Musk added the Boring Company’s vision ‘could only happen with public support.’
The firm’s effort to win fast-track city approval of a 2.7-mile-long (4.3km) tunnel beneath a busy stretch of Los Angeles’ West Side has drawn a court challenge from two neighborhood organisations.
A slightly shorter test tunnel is already largely finished underneath the neighboring municipality of Hawthorne, where Boring and SpaceX are both headquartered.
Musk and Davis vowed the public has nothing to fear from their excavation plans, which they say will differ from conventional tunnels by running deeper underground, well beneath utility lines.
The Boring Company’s proposed route (in red) is from SpaceX in Hawthorne to West Los Angeles passing underneath Sepulveda Boulevard through Culver City. Musk has claimed the tunnel trip will take five minutes, compared to 45 minutes driving in normal LA traffic
Musk said the first two tunnel segments would serve as proof-of-concept sites to demonstrate ideas for a traffic-easing network of subterranean tubes whisking passenger-carrying ‘pods’ and individual cars from place to place at high speeds.
Musk launched his foray into public transit after complaining about traffic on Twitter in late 2016, vowing to ‘build a boring machine and just start digging.’
In one apparent gain announced earlier, the Los Angeles transit authority voiced support for Musk’s tunnel ambitions, tweeting that the agency and Boring had a ‘great meeting’ on Thursday and would ‘be partners moving forward.’
The billionaire revealed footage of his Boring Company’s exploratory excavation, which will be open to the public within months.
The Boring Company is now adding the finishing touches to its first ever track ahead of its opening.
A first glimpse of an ‘almost done’ test tunnel in Los Angeles was shared online by Elon Musk on May 11. The billionaire shared footage of his Boring Company’s exploratory excavation, which will be open to the public and offering free rides within months
Video footage shared by Musk on May 11 revealed what a journey through the tunnel might look. The Boring Company hopes to drastically reduce the costs of tunnelling. This image shows the far end of the tunnel
The firm hopes to drastically reduce the costs of tunnelling while using excavated rock to provide building material for affordable housing.
Video footage shared by Musk revealed what a journey through the tunnel might look like.
Writing on Instagram, he said: ‘First Boring Company tunnel under LA almost done!
‘Pending final regulatory approvals, we will be offering free rides to the public in a few months.
‘As mentioned in prior posts, once fully operational (demo system rides will be free), the system will always give priority to pods for pedestrians & cyclists for less than the cost of a bus ticket.’
Writing on Instagram and Twitter on May 11, Musk said: ‘First Boring Company tunnel under LA almost done! Pending final regulatory approvals, we will be offering free rides to the public in a few months’
Washington DC’s Department of Transportation has also issued a permit to Elon Musk’s Boring Company that grants the firm permission to begin digging within a designated area in the district. One of the Boring Company’s two tunnel digging machines is pictured
In January, it emerged that Musk’s plans to dig a tunnel under Los Angeles to beat the city’s notorious traffic had come a step closer to reality.
The Boring Company presented plans to build a 6.5-mile (10.5 km) shaft under Culver City, California, at a council meeting.
The proposed 6.5-mile (10.5 km) route runs from SpaceX in Hawthorne to West Los Angeles, passing underneath Sepulveda Boulevard through Culver City.
The plans were presented before the city council of LA County’s Culver City by Jehn Balajadia, the Boring Company’s operations coordinator.
Speaking at the time, she said: ‘The purpose of Boring Company is to alleviate soul-destroying traffic and augment public transit.’
Musk, who is also CEO of private rocket-building firm SpaceX, did not attend the meeting.
A report from the Culver City manager’s office stated: ‘The Boring Company has proposed a privately funded human transportation tunnel that would run underneath the Westside of Los Angeles.
‘The tunnel would contain a high-speed underground public transportation system in which passengers are transported on autonomous electric skates travelling at 125 to 150mph (200 to 240 kph).’
The skates are designed to carry either single passenger vehicles or bus-like carriages that can seat between eight and 16 people.
The system will reduce the number of cars on the road and make getting around the city easier, according to the Boring Company.
Musk first had the idea to build congestion-dodging tunnels under LA while stuck in traffic in December 2016.
He tweeted: ‘Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging…’.
‘It shall be called ”The Boring Company’,’ he added.
After users suggested he was joking, Musk clarified: ‘I am actually going to do this’.
The plans were presented before the city council of LA County’s Culver City by Jehn Balajadia, the Boring Company’s operations coordinator. In a comment on Instagram in 2017 (pictured), Musk gave more detail on where the track would run and how it would operate
Since then, the billionaire bought two second-hand tunnel boring machines and started testing the equipment on private land beneath SpaceX’s LA headquarters.
Musk has claimed the tunnel trip along his proposed route will take five minutes, compared to 45 minutes driving in normal LA traffic.
When Musk first announced his plans to bore a tunnel to his SpaceX offices in Los Angeles, it was hard to know if he was joking
In October 2017, Musk shared the first image of the Boring Company’s test tunnel under SpaceX’s headquarters.
The firm was granted permission in August of that year to dig under up to two miles (3.2 km) public roads around campus.
The 150-metre (500ft) shaft, excavated by The Boring Company, ‘should be two miles [3.2km] long in three or four months’, Musk said at the time.
Also in August 2017, it was reported that Musk’s firm would build a two-mile-long test tunnel in Los Angeles, after the City Council voted four to one in favour of the ambitious plans.
The extension runs 13.5 metres (44 feet) under public roads around the SpaceX headquarters, and is the first time the Boring Company has been allowed to dig outside of its property line.
An aerial view shows heavy traffic moving along Interstate 405 highway in Los Angeles. Musk hopes people will soon be able to take his tunnel instead
Musk posted a picture of a tunnel digging machine to Instagram in February 2017, writing ‘Cutterhead in operation at standard industry speed. Planning to jack this up by a factor of ten or more’
The almost completed dry run is designed to make sure plans actually work – if it doesn’t, the city can request the tunnel is filled in with concrete or soil.
‘They won’t even know we’re there’, Brett Horton, senior director of facilities and construction at SpaceX assured members of the council at the time permission was granted.
‘This is groundbreaking, this is establishing a precedent, and I think we all agree that we want to make sure that this goes off without a hitch,’ Hawthorne’s Mayor Alex Vargas added at the meeting.
The company assured citizens that if the top soil moves by as little as half an inch (one cm), work will stop immediately.
Elon Musk says he has ‘verbal government approval’ to build an underground tunnel to transport passengers between New York and Washington DC in just 29 minutes. His firm the Boring Company could dig these tunnels