Traffic Jams Are Possible in Elon Musk’s Tunnels, Apparently

After claims that the Boring Company's Tesla-filled tunnels will solve traffic congestion, the Vegas loop gets backed up during CES.
Screenshot via YouTube

Elon Musk has touted his Boring Company as a solution to road traffic: if you put the cars (specifically, cars made by his company, Tesla) underground, they’ll never get caught in traffic, obviously. This pitch has made them pretty appealing to cities including Miami and Las Vegas, where traffic congestion gums up tourism.

The Las Vegas Convention Center loop is one of three working tunnels the company has built so far: it’s two parallel tunnels, making up 1.7 miles of road in total, with stops at three stations and a total of 29 parking spaces. Drivers can’t go more than 40 miles per hour inside. It cost $50 million in taxpayer dollars. 


As part of CES, Tesla gave some conference attendees joy rides through the tunnel, chauffeured by paid drivers who took tests to qualify to drive each model of the cars. 

A video posted by Benjamin Brochstein shows one of these rides cruising along, until it hits a traffic jam, and comes to a stop. The driver explains that the jam is probably because the south hall—one of the stations—is closed, and there are lots of people taking rides because of CES crowds, creating a bottleneck at the entrance they’re approaching. 

The tunnel is narrow; there’s not a lot of wiggle room between the Tesla and the walls, and no walkways or shoulder to buffer any driver error. You probably wouldn’t asphyxiate from being stuck inside one, since they open to the air at the ends and Teslas don’t have emissions, but it would definitely be a claustrophobic experience to be stuck in traffic inside of one. There aren’t emergency walkways or handrails on the sides, so good luck walking out.

In a video by Inside EVs, the rider asks if anyone has ever crashed in the tunnel, and the driver says no. If someone did, drivers would have to back out of the tunnel, he said. 

In another video about the tunnel rides, tech YouTuber Brian Tong comments that these rides are much better than the thousands of steps of walking he’s done at CES in the past. But the Boring Company’s tunnel isn’t just reinventing the subway, it’s reinventing something that already exists at CES specifically: comprehensive, complimentary shuttle service for attendees.

None of the vloggers taking these rides are exactly asking drivers hardball questions, but even if they did, drivers are instructed to respond with effusive praise for their leader, Musk. In a leaked training document for the Vegas tunnel, drivers are instructed to call Musk "Awesome! [Inspiring/Motivating/etc.]" and "a great leader!" if asked, but their response to questions about safety is redacted.