The Boring Company, founded by Tesla’s Elon Musk, has been selected by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the O’Hare Express service, a high-speed underground transportation system between downtown Chicago and O’Hare International Airport.
In March 2018, the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) on behalf of the City of Chicago to design, build, finance, operate and maintain an O’Hare Express service and The Boring Company was one of two final teams selected.
The Boring Company intends to transport passengers between O’Hare Airport and Block 37 in downtown Chicago in the system, called Chicago Express Loop, in approximately 12 minutes each way by using electric vehicles that run through new twin underground tunnels.
Currently, journey time between these destinations via the Chicago Transportation Authority’s Blue Line train is approximately 40 minutes.
The underground public transportation system will transport passengers on autonomous electric skates travelling at 125-150 miles per hour (200 to 240kmph). A single passenger vehicle will carry between eight and 16 passengers.
According to the company, electric skates, built on a modified Tesla Model X chassis, are safe and zero-emission vehicles as they are battery-powered.
Mechanically confined to a concrete track within the tunnel, the Chicago Express Loop’s skates will operate under safety approvals issued by federal and state agencies.
Each electric skate will feature a climate-controlled cabin, luggage storage space, and Wi-Fi.
Each vehicle will leave O’Hare and from Block 37 every 30 seconds and the Chicago Express Loop will be operated 20 hours per day throughout the week. The company plans to charge fares below the RFP requirement that the premium service should cost less than current taxi and ride-share services.
The Boring Company will fund the project with no taxpayer subsidy.
In a release, the Mayor said: “Bringing Chicago’s economic engines closer together will keep the city on the cutting edge of progress, create thousands of good-paying jobs and strengthen our great city for future generations.
“This transformative project will help Chicago write the next chapter in our legacy of innovation and invention.”
The City will now begin contract negotiations with The Boring Company.
Musk said: “We’re really excited to work with the Mayor and the City to bring this new high-speed public transportation system to Chicago.”
The company plans to use the unfinished underground transit station at Block 37 and construct a new station at O’Hare. The planned route will travel straight northwest from downtown following public way alignments. However, the specific alignment will be finalised during contract negotiation.
The project cost and construction timeline will also be finalised during the negotiation process.