Elon Musk’s Las Vegas Loop Project Is Giving Big ‘Monorail’ Energy

The future is here, and it's worse than public transport!

Elon musk wearing dark jacket and shirt giving two thumbs up to the camera

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Tech nerds rejoiced over the weekend as this year’s Consumer Electronics Showcase (CES 2023) set up shop in Las Vegas.

And while spectators are being wowed by futurist demonstrations of haptic VR gloves and wireless TVs, attendees of the tech festival have been left underwhelmed by Elon Musk‘s radical ‘solution’ to traffic jams.

As many of us learnt after braving the NSW pacific highway during the Christmas holiday break, heavy traffic is no fun. But hoo boy, Australian concerns like finding a parking space near Bondi on a weekend are nothing compared to the apocalyptic deadlock that is driving in the US.

Recently, we’ve been given another glance at billionaire Telsa CEO Elon Musk’s solution to America’s traffic crisis, which was announced back in 2016 with a promotional video that wouldn’t look out of place from The Jetsons.

If you haven’t heard of the Musk-funded underground engineering firm The Boring Company, the start-up posits that it will “transform cities” through the creation of lengthy underground highways, with small stations the size of single parking spaces that will whisk commuters seamlessly through major cities.

Musk’s project was available for public demonstrations in Las Vegas this month, promising to reduce the walk to and from the Las Vegas Convention Centre for CES 2023 attendees. And while the project claims it will completely revolutionise how we structure modern cities; it looks like investors have been left with a shambolic and inefficient mess.

Essentially boiling down to a “tiny car tunnel”, the system does technically achieve its aim of allowing customers to bypass almost an hour of above-ground transit. But critics have been quick to point out that the project’s efficiency has been undermined by a number of pre-existing solutions, like the freaking bus.

Critics have remarked that the system is worse than public transport, thanks to inefficiencies like a higher number of employees required at each station compared to public train and bus equivalents and the limited number of passengers that fit in each vehicle. Predictably, commuters encountered brief periods of gridlock as a result.

The whole thing stinks of The Simpons episode ‘Marge vs The Monorail’, where the residents of Springfield are quickly enamoured by the futuristic vision of single-rail transport — before the scheme is eventually outed as an expensive and dangerous con. In a case of art imitating art, Vox reports that The Boring Company “ghosted” towns who have adopted the scheme after coming into legal and environmental struggles.

Honestly, by now Musk’s penchant for re-inventing the wheel albeit with shinier parts and bigger design flaws shouldn’t really surprise anyone. Remember the Cybertruck?

Photo credit: Getty Images