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As Elon Musk and his Boring Company continue digging away in southern California streets, the CEO made a few statements to clear up what exactly he was building.
Musk took to Twitter to share updates about the Hyperloop pods used by The Boring Company that would prioritize passenger shuttles rather than the high-speed car sleds the company has been associated with since the company's founding.
Better video coming soon, but it would look a bit like this: pic.twitter.com/C0iJPi8b4U— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 9, 2018
The shuttle was briefly spotted in one of the primary Boring Company videos, however, Musk's announcement brings it into significantly more prominence.
"Adjusting The Boring Company plan: all tunnels & Hyperloop will prioritize pedestrians & cyclists over cars," the CEO tweeted.
Adjusting The Boring Company plan: all tunnels & Hyperloop will prioritize pedestrians & cyclists over cars
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 9, 2018
While there might be more answers about what a pedestrian-focused hyperloop would look like, there aren't many explaining why Musk decided to reshape his focus. Could it be to encourage more people to leave their cars at home and opt for public transportation? Could it be that there's a snag with the current development of the car sled and Musk is needing to shift the focus?
According to a secondary tweet sent out by Musk, the system will still transport cars. However, Musk wants "mass transit needs met" first.
"It's a matter of courtesy & fairness," Musk wrote. "If someone can't afford a car, they should go first."
And Musk even hinted at the process looking significantly more like a subway system rather than a car-focused transit service. He said that the urban loop system would have thousands of smaller stations ("the size of a single parking space") that would transport users close enough to their destination. However, these spaces would considerably be more available than traditional subway stations, he noted.
Boring Co urban loop system would have 1000’s of small stations the size of a single parking space that take you very close to your destination & blend seamlessly into the fabric of a city, rather than a small number of big stations like a subway— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 9, 2018
The announcements have slightly confused those who've followed the idea since Musk's initial Twitter-based conception of the Boring Company. Initially, Musk crafted the idea as a way to avoid the notoriously bad Los Angeles traffic by digging a tunnel. This led to Musk buying two tunnels, opening up The Boring Company, to start digging.
The concept later drew the eyes of city planners from areas like Washington D.C., Chicago, and Maryland -- all of which are working on a partnership with The Boring Company to bring a form of hyperloop technology and sled systems to their own towns.
However, with such a popularity came criticisms from a number of transportation experts and urbanists who disagreed with Musks' math. Promoting the use of personal cars for the sheer sake of using the Boring Company only furthered the problem, they noted. And when Musk made off-handed remarks about public transit at a press junket in December, the company drew even more criticism. It seems like, through these tweets, Musk finally could see a shift -- not towards having the same cars on the road moving faster, but having fewer cars on the road altogether.