Breaking news: there will be traffic jams in Toronto this summer

Breaking news: there will be traffic jams in Toronto this summer

Technology: is there anything it can't do? (Image: Bitpicture) 

The Globe and Mail gave its readers the juiciest scoop of the weekend: apparently Toronto will be plagued by road construction over the next few months. Staying with this breaking story, the paper goes on to speculate that the Gardiner Expressway will have regular traffic jams.

But if the city is paralyzed by gridlock this summer—like, er, every summer—never fear. Robots will rescue motorists.

Many traffic engineers think the future will be an age of what they call “intelligent transportation systems,” or ITS. Think of services like OnStar, GPS or Google Maps beamed into your car, and then injected with equal parts HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey and R2-D2.

Not to go all io9.com on the Globe, but HAL went crazy and killed his passengers. Perhaps this is not the ideal model for a helpful navigational computer, but then again, death does start to seem tempting after 20 minutes of staring at the Ford Drive exit sign on the QEW.

Inept science fiction analogies aside, many of these gadgets sound like good ideas, though some of them will challenge motorists to give up control over their cars and their routes to and from work. In a city where traffic is already a rage-inducing fight, that really does sound like science fiction.

• The city warns Toronto traffic will be bad this summer [Globe and Mail]