Ottawa·Nowhere Fast

Artists imagine commutes of the future in Ottawa

We found a few local artists up to the challenge of imagining how we might commute years down the road.

Flying through the air or never leaving home — what form might our commutes of the future take?

Artist Andrew King wasn't available to imagine a whole new future for commuting for this challenge, but submitted "In-House Commute," a playful take on getting to work. (Andrew King/

For our Nowhere Fast series, CBC Ottawa has taken a close look at the who, what, where, when, why and how of commuting in the capital. 

From ever-longer commutes to certain spots that regularly snarl traffic, it's easy to get down in the dumps when considering the time we spend getting to work each day. 

To combat those bumper-to-bumper blues, we asked three local artists to cast their mind beyond the everyday and imagine commutes of the future.

Allison MacAlister

Cyclist Allison MacAlister imagines a future where commuters focus on active transportation. (Allison MacAlister)

In the future artist Allison MacAlister imagines, a new superhighway belongs entirely to active commuters. 

"As an avid cyclist, I always envision the future of commuting being cycle-friendly, fast and accessible for as many commuters as possible," she explained.

"The rest of my inspiration was purely whimsical; how fun would it be to see steam-powered jetpack and hoverbus commutes in future Ottawa?"

Sally Vandrish

When Sally Vandrish imagines the future of commuting in Ottawa, she takes the commute out of the picture entirely. (Sally Vandrish)

What's the best kind of commute? For artist Sally Vandrish, it might be no commute at all. 

"With companies looking to reduce overhead, working remotely will become more and more popular and would also help with alleviating congestion and emission issues," Vandrish said of her creation.

"The 'anti-commute' or 'commute of the mind' illustrates the possibility of one day being able to conference into an augmented reality using avatars/holograms of ourselves, via a virtual reality headset."

Kasia Niton

Kasia Niton's vision for the future of Ottawa's commute includes a self-driving, high-speed train. (Kasia Niton)

Another artist who took the driver out of the commute is Kasia Niton.

"When I think of the future of commuting, I envision a world where our cities are connected through high-speed, self-driven, eco-friendly trains, which would become our main source of transportation."

A potential bonus? It looks like you'll hardly have to spend any time outside during our cold Ottawa winters.

What do you think Ottawa's commute will look like in the distant — or not-so-distant — future? Send us an email with how you imagine getting to work a ways down the road.


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