Conventioneers may soon be zipping around Las Vegas in autonomous electric vehicles that make The Jetson’s mode of transport seem so last century.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) Board of Directors approved a recommendation to select Elon Musk’s The Boring Company (TBC) to design, construct and operate a futuristic people mover for the Las Vegas Convention Center and beyond, which would revolutionize the city’s transportation system.
The initiative is designed to transport passengers via a loop of underground express-route tunnels and could include high-speed, autonomous electric vehicles. The innovative project has the potential to connect downtown, the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Las Vegas Boulevard Resort Corridor, McCarran International Airport and beyond.
“Las Vegas has maintained its reputation as a leading travel destination because we are driven by innovation and hospitality,” said LVCVA CEO Steve Hill, at a press conference.
“This project is an example of how our leading principles can create an experience benefitting our community and valued visitors," he added.
[Related Content: Las Vegas Dives Head First Into the Future of Meetings]
The Las Vegas Convention Center is currently undergoing an expansion that is slated for completion in time for the Consumer Electronics Show in 2021. The expanded center will span 200 acres. Conventioneers walking the facility from end to end would log approximately two miles, creating the need for an on-property guest transportation solution.
The Las Vegas Convention Center hosting more than 1 million convention attendees annually. Moreover, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada carries approximately 12 million passengers per year within the Las Vegas Boulevard Resort Corridor, with the destination drawing more than 42 million visitors in 2018.
“Las Vegas is a high-energy, high-technology destination equipped to welcome the world, and we are excited to deliver a system that will help visitors efficiently navigate the city’s many offerings,” said Steve Davis, president, The Boring Company, in a statement.
Founded by Elon Musk, TBC is a leader in innovative transportation technology. Its projects include a Research and Development (R&D) Test Tunnel in Hawthorne, California.
The R&D Test Tunnel represents a fully operational, 1.14-mile Loop system that cost less than $10 million per mile, including internal tunnel infrastructure.
How the Underground Loop System Could Benefit Events
TBC’s existing proposal for Las Vegas indicates the underground loop system offers reduced total costs, less disruption to pedestrian and vehicle traffic, and faster construction time than traditional ground or above-ground options. The loop will be designed to meet the full spectrum of ridership needs, including demands from future expansions, with a potential capacity of up to 11,000 passengers per hour. The estimated system cost is between $35 million and $55 million depending on route, number of stations and size of stations.
“Las Vegas is on the cutting edge of technology and this project reflects the incredible work that’s taking shape right here in Southern Nevada,” said LVCVA Board Chairman and Clark County Commissioner, Larry Brown, at a press conference. “It’s exciting to have the Las Vegas Convention Center campus at the forefront of this historic development in our destination and we look forward to this new mass-transit solution with The Boring Company.”
The LVCVA’s TBC recommendation is a result of a multi-step process that started in 2018 with a request for information to gauge interest. A request for proposal was then issued, followed by interviews with finalists by an evaluation team comprised of representatives from the LVCVA, private organizations, including a Las Vegas resort property, and consultants in transportation systems and automated people-mover construction and operations industries.
Following the LVCVA Board of Directors’ decision to move forward, TBC and the LVCVA will determine specific design, construction and operational plans and negotiate a contract for final approval by the LVCVA Board in a subsequent meeting expected by June 2019.
[Read This Next: 6 Convention Center Projects Reinventing the U.S. Meetings Landscape]