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In some ways it is similar to some of the things Musk is fantasizing about, but for pedestrians yes, very un-American. I can see a network of these things in CBDs that links districts, buildings and other transport modes for longer distance.

Diagonal TBMs are a thing, and Moscow has used them to dig some escalator shafts for deep level stations.

There might even be some at work right now. Incidentally, Moscow, one of the most conservative properties when it comes to tunnel designs, is also cautiously experimenting with wider two-track tunnels. Great article — and as a non-American, I thought your concluding paragraphs were especially poignant. There are few places I can go to for this as so much of my usual haunts are in the grip of Musk fever, so thanks. I think the guy has about half brilliant projects Pay-pal, Tesla, Space X , but also about half really ill-conceived projects hyperloop, boring, colonising Mars.

Capitalism in action I guess. The space geeks I know seem to think very highly of Musk. The transportation geeks, not so much. Boeing is great at aerospace, but its attempt to make light rail vehicles was an embarrassment. Yeah, space geeks generally love him and for good reason I think. Well, I suggest you contact biologists for a really solid takedown. The concepts are decades, if not a century, old. He was one of several founders of a company scrabbling around for viable ideas after, I presume, the original idea that led to the founding of the company went down the toilet as is often the case, fair enough when Pay-Pal fell into their lap.

But possibly even more irritating is the fawning of the mainstream media. Recently, as he got permission to dig a tunnel under a public street in LA next to one of his premises, it gets reported as Musk testing his revolutionary boring machine. It is nothing of the sort—and to be fair, the company does officially correct that impression—because they are using a second-hand TBM of small diameter that had been used to dig a sewer in Oakland.

Perhaps that is fair enough though it simply sounds like he is reinventing the wheel already perfected by several other companies German, Japanese, Korean and now Chinese. But actually the real goal may be to have another IPO for another Musk bluesky company so as to recycle the money to keep his various entities going for another few years.

Oh, and of course, to harvest government subsidies. Curiously, in the article link below on his LA tunnelling the journal chose to illustrate it with the two massive TBMs used to build a toll-road tunnel under my city in Australia!

One is blue and one is red, to represent respectively the Jacaranda trees and Poinciana Delonix regia trees whose flamboyant blooms colour the city at certain times of the year, the theme being repeated on the massive ventilation towers at both ends of this 6km tunnel.

In my brevity I over-exaggerated the difference by selecting binary categories. In truth Tesla has had basically no direct effect, but in terms of spurring other car makers into electric vehicles it has been brilliant Nissan is the true master here. The Gigafactory might actually turn out to be big news though.

It is no news that the mainstream media peddle in idiocy, after all they are there to give people the information they want, not what is true, and the two seldom line up. I mean the industry has thought about it for decades if not half a century, so zero points for conception. Points to Space X for implementation.

And Tesla is way too early to be awarding points to anyone, least of all on any concept which tracks to the 19th century after all. Electric cars are merely a result of incremental advances in various technologies including batteries and their management. I am also on record on this blog IIRC as saying that I still think the big players Japanese, German and maybe Chinese will achieve the same endpoint at more or less the same time as Tesla, and they already have vastly more resources and market to exploit.

Half the hipsters who already own Minis will be wanting to trade up a. The only points awarded to Musk re Tesla is in convincing his funders to give him so much leeway and seriously that is impressive. Toyota have already sold one hundred fold more hybrids than Tesla has sold anything. Oh and the Gigafactory is actually a Panasonic outfit funded by and badged Tesla. All of this is fair enough but will only earn points if he starts enough cars to survive and begin to earn some money back.

I guess I have to do it myself. This created an massively great business opportunity. They will NOT reach the same endpoint at the same time as Tesla. Not a single one of them is actually planning high-volume production of long-range electric automobiles. If they had started when Tesla started or simply never crushed the EV1! But they chose not to compete. Not technology — attitude. GM could beat Tesla. But GM chooses not to. The price for most overrated techie still belongs to Bill Gates, a cunning business man but neither the impressive software engineer nor the innovator that the public thinks he is for some reason.

Bill Gates is smart smart enough to have seen the potential in personal computing but mostly ruthless and extremely fixated on success. But no one except the very ignorant—no one on this site attributed great technical innovation etc to him. Indeed he was too slow on developments and conservative for his own good. Without his quasi-monopoly he would have been only a footnote in the history of the PC. Hah, I think you are trolling.

It was after Gates, then Ballmer, retired that MS moved forward though who really cared by then? It gave rise to the maxim: Gates was mimicking Henry Ford who for decades refused to change his early model because after all he was still making money hand over fist.

Computing—both hardware and software—was advancing at such a pace in those decades that it was inevitable to abandon the past at some point was it every 5 years or closer to a decade? Developers may have complained but they were also beneficiaries in the end. His maglev cars would be faster, but waiting 15 to 10 minutes would seem to eliminate the advantage of that! Heck, Elon Musk could subcontract the entire project out to Bechtel and Bombardier!

Probably under the assumption of a traditional higher capacity train-type vehicles. The frequency he has in mind could be every 10 seconds, or 30 seconds, or 60 seconds. It will be interesting to see what sort of headway Musk envisions, which is what sets throughput capacity. Because the skate is autonomous, we will charitably assume that reaction times are measured in milliseconds for sensing a dangerous condition and acting on it.

Suppose that route setting process consumes 4 seconds each time you switch the route, and that every 4th skate takes the diverging route. On a very good day when everything is running perfectly. Yes, SpaceX has done amazing things, but they have most certainly not changed any of the fundamental laws of rocketry. Similarly, Boring will most certainly not change the fundamental laws of fixed guideway transportation.

My creaky old 21 year old 4 cylinder econo-box will do that. Very reasonable people are predicting the market for internal combustion powered cars will collapse in a few years. When electric cars are cheaper. The plan also includes pods holding passengers. The ticket price to move a Tesla on a skate could be times more expensive than a ticket to ride in the pods.

Musk and other rich folks could afford to move their Teslas, but the majority of people in the tunnel might be passengers in the pods. Very favorable at least to a light rail line. Loading passenger pods can happen at the curb, just like buses do.

Or my guess is for many access points, sites like gas stations will be bought and dug up. With brick-and-mortar retail suffering, more ground-floor sites will be available too, even in some multi-story buildings that can no longer find retail tenants. Off-street makes building a row of elevators easier. With four elevators for example, as a loaded pod or Tesla is getting on the elevator at the surface, at least one pod is already descending, a third vehicle is accelerating off its elevator into the tunnel, and a fourth elevator is rising up to the surface.

The number of elevators may vary between access points. To reduce or prevent backups into the street, cities will be within their rights to issue fines if that happens, or require surge pricing discouraging too many cars from queuing.

The result is taking a car in a Loop during peak times will be an expensive luxury that subsidizes Loop construction and operation. Many of the vehicles will instead be pods with passengers. Why does the whole bus have to trundle up and down the elevator at every stop? LOL…I would have hoped you could examine both the sides of the argument, that would have made your article more credible. Anybody who can only argue one side is inherently biased.

You can use selective facts to make any case. Because the arguments about technical feasibility, practical considerations, etc were much higher there. What you forget is a very simple point.

Its OK, not Great. Of course, their are all manner of practical challenges. How about getting gondolas to go really fast? A heavy railway is not under construction because of concerns regarding the operating costs of the trains. You might be talking about: Long rigid train spans two pylons without anything else supporting it. The train has rails attached to it which are held by wheels rollers on the pylons and the trains slides between the pylons.

This way, support integrity is always maintained. Each train would be capable of holding to passengers running at speeds of up to a recommended mph for fast travel applications.

These systems could also operate slower-speed in urban settings. Since the idea is to move the trains above the ground surface, there is no interference from either intersecting vehicle or pedestrian traffic.

Because of the propulsion technology used, there would be virtually no emissions released into the air. Tunnels that only or primarily carry cars on skates are a stupid, stupid idea, full stop.

Using emerging autonomous vehicle technology in place of conventional signaling systems could save money. Smaller diameter tunnels ARE definitely cheaper; perhaps not as cheap as Musk claims, but cheaper nonetheless. Apart from the fact that there are too many stakeholders unions, politicians, NIMBYs that need to be paid off, there is only one other way to cut costs: That is one place where Musk or someone else might be able to make progress to reduce costs.

As Alon has made the point many times, the cost of the tunnel itself is not the major cost of those projects. It is in the stations and everything associated with them. If Musk can figure out how to build cheap austere but functional stations that still pass the government safety then he will have something to brag about.

Highways are cheap exactly for that reason: You want to build a subway, you need to build a train yard somewhere to lay over and maintain the trains. Additionally for highways, the vehicle ownership and maintenance is outsourced. If you could build a subway with just tunnels and let the users build their own stations and yards, purchase their own vehicles and maintain them, then the cost of the subway would not be bad at all. Those are the things where private enterprise might be able to come up with some implementation that is much more cost efficient than the usual way subways are built and run by governments.

Highways by their nature are very austere: Nobody wants to live close to them. Nobody wants to walk along them. Nobody wants to hear the noise they generate or breathe the pollution they create. A pure subway tunnel is very similar in nature, to the extent that is made of concrete and steel and the average person does not want to be inside it or walk along it.

The difficulty is that is the stations are pure concrete and steel, even when perfectly clean they still would not be attractive to the average person. The average person will only go to such a station if the benefit outweighs that repulsion.

I am not advocating for more highways. I am just pointing out the natural disadvantage that subways have relative to the highways. Working to alleviate those is likely to save much more money than whatever can be saved with better TBMs.

For above-ground trains, the bulk of the cost comes from the same place — structures. The reason that underground stations are so expensive is that you have to dig station caverns at least for certain construction methods. As Alon points out, European or Asian metro projects cost a lot less than American ones, and the former often take great care in the design and aesthetics of the stations. Anyway the economics is false. Building a metro line or system is building for the ages and it is entirely wrong-headed to skimp on a bit of aesthetics especially when millions of people will use it every day.

The three originals big city are more than a century old and by comparison with the other two London, Paris the NYC system may be functional but it really is a depressing and even oppressive place to be. Despite its shortcomings, the scope of the 5.

Each of the six new stations is a unique creative expression that blurs the line between public art and architecture; a philosophical continuation of the original Spadina line that opened in , and was the first Toronto subway line to feature stations designed by multiple architects.

The problem is poor maintenance. The passageways are often too small and grotty too. The above-ground stations are not much different to Metros elsewhere, perhaps including Paris. I think London looks and feels a bit grotty by comparison to Paris but still different league to NYC. Incidentally while there are books on the NYC subway, there are actual art books and photography books on the Paris Metro. I have the Joseph Giovannini book on the NYC subway Subway Style and it is notable that it hardly has any wideshot pics of stations, instead having closeups of various bits of it: Not like the ones on the Paris Metro.

Photographic Elevations of Selected Paris Metro Stations by Larry Yust in which he took a series of photos while walking the length of the station then stitched it into one pic with software.

I find it peculiarly evocative compared to regular photos possibly because it does mimic the way we perceive it and remember it? There are reasons for this. Stockholm is completely different from Paris. The rock is very hard and forms natural arches, so the tunnels have no lining, and the stations show bare rock. Alfred was the Elon Musk of his day! His pilot tunnel under City Hall remained until when it was replaced with the first real subway:. These have tiled and decorated vaulted ceilings by Rafael Guastavino.

I guess that style was abandoned early. Same thing might have happened to Paris, ie. The DC Metro is worth talking about in the design context. The aesthetic was clean, toned down, cool and quiet, and it kind of worked, definitely as far as being not NYC.

Not so much as a work of art, except maybe insofar as the Union Station stop is paying homage to its definitely artsy big brother above, you come up out of the one vault and there you are in the middle of a much bigger and more ornate vault. Gradually though, the visual clutter has made inroads — bigger signs, more lights, more electronics, ads, etc. Unfortunately, the train operations themselves have been going downhill and service is said to be less than desirable.

Most f what Musk is proposing is already being done by TBM manufacturers and the like. There is a limit to how fast these machines can go depending on the ground conditions.

If they can be more automated that would be a start but until he actually designs and manufacturers a TBM that can cope with all the varying ground conditions from Granite through running sand which require different technologies then judgment has to be reserved. Given that trains cannot levitate just how do you propose to get the new revenue tracks from the existing 63rd St Tunnel elevation to link in with the existing revenue tracks into Penn Station.

The unnecessary tunnels that were built are pretty much at maximum gradient for third rail trains as it is. You cannot realistically be proposing that these connections should have been constructed using open cut techniques which would have caused immense disruption to AMTRAKS Sunnyside Yard and Harold Interlocking.

As for ESA construction costs some 38, l. More than in other Cities for sure but tell me how many projects like ESA have been built where your main access for men, equipment and materials is 3 miles from where you are actually constructing the work, access in Queens at the so called 63rd St Bellmouth and construction in Manhattan.

For example, on ESA the work in Harold Interlocking has long been a source of major problems leading to cost and schedule overruns. The interplay between AMTRAK and LIRR in that location has resulted in territorial issues where you can end up with 8 railroad employees watching protecting a four man ironworker team install a catenary pole.

Also getting support for 3rd party contractor work in this are has been archaic to say the least. You then find out one day ahead of time whether your work will be supported or not. Sometimes it is and sometimes its not. Now when your moving signal, comms and power infrastructure there is a sequence that has to be followed and once you lose a critical weekend you might not get back in to that area for a while, plus now the MTA has to pay the Contractor for the crews that turned up but did not work and the knock on delays to their critical path work.

When Capital projects schedules are beholden to the political will of Albany its no wonder they suffer as the MTA is an easy target. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. In short, Musk, a has little understanding of the drivers of tunneling costs, b promises reducing tunneling costs by a factor of 10, a feat that he himself has no chance to achieve, and c is unaware that the cost reduction he promises, relative to American construction costs, has already been achieved in a number of countries.

Ways to increase TBM speed: Existing technology can be modified to support continuous tunneling activity. While smaller diameter tunneling machines are automated, larger ones currently require multiple human operators. By automating the larger TBMs, both safety and efficiency are increased. Current tunnel operations often include diesel locomotives. These can be replaced by electric vehicles. In the United States, there is virtually no investment in tunneling Research and Development and in many other forms of construction.

Thus, the construction industry is one of the only sectors in our economy that has not improved its productivity in the last 50 years.

Steve, the problem is even more acute with free products. Google has lost a lot of my goodwill by removing products I had become very attached to — Google Reader is only the most recent example. But I see from your piece that even paying customers are at risk! I disagree that open source forking model can solve this problem.

For example, not many folks are going to right their own version of Map to preserver features. Opening a product implies the entity doing the opening knows the implications of doing so, that a certain loss of control is involved in exchange for the benefits. Imagine if Google did something to Android that enraged a large segment of the userbase.

I agree that it should be done transparently and providing heads-up. However, the duration of those heads up will get smaller with the pace at which technology is evolving. A short version of this post has generated a lot of discussion and speculation on the Tesla Forums.

Below is complete speculation based on the publically available data. All these problems stem from the change from companies selling us things to turning us into revenue streams. I have changed the bargain, pray I do not change it further. Allowing downgrades or even refusing an upgrade would break the locks. That said, kinda hard to get too angry at Tesla if they locked out a feature that might be dangerous to the passengers or the vehicle itself until they know more.

Wait a bit and see how they resolve the issue. Yes they should have been more transparent, that was a bad move sliding it out without putting it in the changelog. But the idea of car makers acting on safety issues via software updates could be a good thing. They need to make it more clear you never own, only have a limited and revocable right to use. Sony removing an advertised feature for no reason they can speak in public to this day is a much better poster child for the abusive relationship between the vendor and consumer.

Not seller and buyer, nobody really sells and you never own. All these examples provide good reasons why NOT to buy these kinds of products to begin with if you can possibly help it. On PS3, Sony has been somewhat notorious about adding features.

Thanks for raising the issue of companies unilaterally removing features from their products. We have that issue with Quicken. We have been satisfied customers since the mids and have upgraded every few years when the new features seemed worthwhile. We have been happy with the product, including the ability to download transactions from our financial institutions.

It seems that after Intuit sold the product to HIG investments last year, the support and products are no longer up to the old standard. You are commenting using your WordPress.

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