Rush hour gridlock in downtown Chicago could be set to ease thanks to an underground express transportation system that will ferry passengers to the city's O'Hare Airport. The City of Chicago has just selected Elon Musk's Boring Company to design, build, pay for, operate and maintain the Express Loop, which will see electric pods carry up to 16 people to or from the airport in as little as 12 minutes.
The Chicago Infrastructure Trust, acting on behalf of the City of Chicago, chose the Boring Company's proposal for the Chicago Express Loop service from downtown Chicago to Terminals 1 - 3 at the city's O'Hare Airport – where nearly 80 million passengers boarded or disembarked at the Illinois airport in 2017.
Electric pods called skates will run on rails under the city, each capable of carrying between 8 and 16 passengers at up to 150 mph (240 km/h). As such, Musk's Boring Company says that a journey from Block 37 in downtown Chicago to O'Hare will be three to four times faster than existing transport systems, at around 12 minutes for the roughly 15 mile (24 km) journey.
Though it may sound similar in design to a subway system, the Boring company is quick to point out that the electric skates will move faster than subway cars and they'll be completely autonomous.
The company also reckons that folks on the surface won't be able to hear or feel anything during its construction, or while in operation. The Chicago Express Loop service will operate for 20 hours per day, seven days a week, and it's expected that a skate will depart from each station every 30 seconds.
The battery-powered skates will be built on a modified Tesla Model X chassis, with a pod that will be climate controlled, have space for luggage and include built-in Wi-Fi. And though actual fares have not yet been announced, the service is being pitched as cheaper than taking a taxi, but probably more expensive than hopping on a bus.
Other mass transit projects in the pipeline for the Boring Company include a sizable network in Los Angeles and an East Coast Loop from Washington to Baltimore. You can get a feel for how the Loop system is expected to work in the promo video below.
Source: The Boring Company
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