What Toronto’s transportation network will be like in 50 years

What Toronto’s transportation network will be like in 50 years

In partnership with the Martin Prosperity Institute, we bring you a semi-scientific glimpse into the future of Toronto. Here, a preview of the future of the city's transportation network

Public transit will finally go somewhere

The city and province are working on more than a dozen initiatives to transform our shabby transit system into a gloriously convenient network of LRT, subways and express rail. Here, above, is what it will look like.

We’ll be able to get to Montreal in 45 minutes

TransPod, a Toronto start-up, wants to create a Hyperloop rail system that will get us to Montreal in less than an hour and Vancouver in four. Think of pneumatic mail, except the Hyperloop delivers people instead of packages. A train car thrusts passengers through a magnetized, vacuum-sealed tube at 1,000 kilometres per hour—that’s faster than a commercial jet. It’ll be cheaper, too: TransPod anticipates that it will cost less than an airline ticket. It’s eyeing the GO rail corridor as a possible site for the tubes, and talking to Bombardier, federal agencies and green tech start-ups about partnerships (each capsule would be about $10 million to manufacture on a commercial scale; the infrastructure would cost billions).

Cars will be driverless…

The most transformative technology over the next half-century will be the rapid proliferation of self-driving cars, which, according to a study out of the University of Toronto Transportation Research Institute, will have saturated the Toronto automobile market by 2035. Aside from their Jetsonian wow factor, autonomous vehicles have the potential to all but eliminate road accidents, untangle gridlock and save the city billions. Here’s how it will all shake out.

…and ridiculously cool
The city bus

Mercedes Benz Future Bus
In July, the Future Bus had its world premiere, gliding through 20 kilometres of turns and tunnels on a Dutch public bus route. The coach owes its intelligence to a technology called CityPilot, which can recognize obstacles and pedestrians, brake by itself and communicate with traffic light systems.

The limousine

Rolls Royce Vision Next 100
The luxe new model replaces the Jeevesian chauffeur with a helpful digital concierge named Eleanor. The car also features a high-def TV screen, Macassar wood panelling, a glass roof and silk seat covers.

The sports car

Chevrolet FNR
If Marty McFly’s DeLorean got a Mission: Impossible makeover, it might look something like Chevy’s driverless vehicle prototype. Among the special features: 180-degree swivel chairs, an iris scanner for security, crystal-laser tail lights and an AI assistant to manage the minutia.

The big rig

Freightliner Inspiration
This sleek semi has as many gadgets as the Batmobile. There’s a camera system that stretches 330 feet, a radar network that detects oncoming vehicles, and technology for speed control, collision avoidance and lane stability.

The town car

Mercedes Benz F 015
It’s a space pod in the front, boardroom in the back, with leather recliners and digital displays. It’s capable of 900 kilometres of electric driving and features an LED-lit command centre on the dash.

By the numbers

• 709,000 automated vehicles in Toronto by 2035
• 650,000 AVs owned by Torontonians
• 5,000 automated taxis
• 2,000 automated buses
• 90% reduction in traffic accidents
• 38 fewer annual fatalities
• $6 billion annual savings to the Toronto economy
• $1.2 billion in reduced collision costs
• $2.7 billion in reduced congestion costs
• $1.6 billion in reduced insurance costs
• $500 million in reduced parking fees and fines
• 40% reduced demand for parking

All projected figures are in 2016 dollars.

Created in partnership with the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.

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