Business Treaveler logo

Travel news, reviews and intel for high-flyers

Elon Musk Moves Dirt on People Mover and Future of Mass Transportation

The Las Vegas Convention Center is making history as tunneling begins on visionary transport project beneath upcoming mega convention center ​

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) started tunneling into the future last week, creating the next gen mode of transportation in Las Vegas as Elon Musk’s future People Mover prototype inched that much closer to completion.

The Boring Company (TBC) began work on the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) underground people mover to transport convention attendees throughout the 200-acre campus. This is the first commercial endeavor for TBC and one more first for Las Vegas. Model Xs, Model 3s, and modified electric vehicles with 16-person tram bodies are under design consideration for the task.

“This is truly a significant occasion for Las Vegas,” said Steve Hill, LVCVA CEO. “We took the concept of utilizing the underground people mover from an idea on paper to tunneling in less than a year, demonstrating our board’s willingness to embrace bold, new ideas with the potential to change the face of transportation in Southern Nevada and beyond.”

The boring machine is currently 40 feet below ground and the engines were turned on for the first time last week in a system that can carve out 100 feet per day. The transit system will shorten what would be a 15-minute walk to a one-minute ride, according to the Boring Company

The $52.5 million underground people mover will include three passenger stations connecting the existing 3.2 million square-feet of convention space with the LVCC’s new 1.4 million square-foot West Hall currently under construction, part of a $1.52 billion expansion and renovation. The innovative transportation system will allow convention attendees to be whisked across the LVCC’s 200-acre campus in just over one minute — free of charge — in all-electric Tesla vehicles capable of holding between 3 and 16 people. The system will be designed for ridership of at least 4,400 passengers per hour and is scalable depending on convention attendance.

When completed in January 2021, the underground people mover will bring two vehicular tunnels with an expected total length of approximately one mile each. The system will have the potential in the future to expand and link key visitor attractions throughout Las Vegas, such as Downtown Las Vegas, Las Vegas Strip, McCarran International Airport and beyond.

Other essential system components include:

• An elevator/escalator system for passenger access to each station

• Pedestrian entrances, exits, coverings from the elements and landscaping

• Tunnel lighting, power and video surveillance systems

• A fully equipped control room

• Cell phone, WiFi, intercom/PA, remote data and ventilation/life safety systems

Overall, the tourism industry continues to be crucial to Southern Nevada’s economy, generating $60 billion in total economic impact, supporting approximately 383,000 jobs and $16.4 billion in local wages and salaries. These jobs represent 39 percent of Southern Nevada’s total workforce. The LVCC expansion and renovation is projected to add more than $800 million in potential economic impact to the destination annually. Meetings and conventions generate $10.5 billion annually in economic impact within Southern Nevada and attract 6.5 million visitors annually. In 2018, Las Vegas had more than 42 million visitors. The Las Vegas Convention Center hosts more than 1.3 million attendees annually.

Although it will run mostly under convention center property, the Vegas people mover will be the first publicly accessible project for TBC, which is rapidly gaining notice for other projects in cities across the country. According to reports from Curbed,  the Boring Company was awarded a $1 billion bid for a proposed 18-mile tunnel to O’Hare Airport in Chicago. However, changing waves of local politics mean the tunnel will not likely get built. Los Angeles, too, has met with TBC in reference to a Dugout Loop, or a proposed two-mile tunnel to Dodger Stadium. Similarly, a tunnel from Washington D.C. to Baltimore is under consideration, especially as Elon Musk moves ahead with hopes of seeing is Hyperloop dream come to fruition in this lifetime.