“To solve the problem of soul-destroying traffic, roads must go 3D, which means either flying cars or tunnels. Unlike flying cars, tunnels are weatherproof, out of sight and won’t fall on your head.”
The Boring Company intends to fix traffic congestion by boring beneath cities. Unlike roads, a network of tunnels could expand indefinitely by adding levels (Principle 17 – Another Dimension).
Making it affordable
Tunnels as a solution to traffic issues are not a novel concept, but their expense to date has made it impractical to build substantial networks of tunnels, costing as much as $1 billion per mile. The Boring Company intends to lower the cost by a factor of ten, using innovations including the following.
Reduce the tunnel diameter
The company’s standard tunnel diameter will be half that of a conventional road tunnel (Principle 35 – Parameter Change).
The perimeter of a tunnel varies linearly (2 PI x radius) so half the width implies half the cost the line the tunnel. The area to be bored varies exponentially (PI x radius squared) so half the width implies one quarter the cost of boring.
Current tunnel boring systems alternate time between boring the hole and then erecting support structures. The boring company intends to develop systems that allow boring and supporting activities to be carried out simultaneously (Principle 5 – Merging) and continuously (Principle 20 – Continuity of Useful Action).
Recycle excavated dirt
One challenge when making holes is what to do with all that dirt. Disposal is not only expensive but potentially environmentally damaging. One option is to mold the earth into bricks that could be used in the construction of the tunnel and other purposes (Principle 22 – Blessing In Disguise).
More power – electric power
The company intends to triple the power of the boring machine (Principle 35 – Parameter Change) with improvements to its cooling system. They will also replace diesel power with electric power. This will save energy costs and reduce ventilation concerns.
Running existing large boring machines is a laborious process. Automation could be employed to ensure that the machine stays on track (Principle 23 – Feedback) without human intervention.