Robots take the wheel—how autonomous cars will change northern Ontario
The Next 40 is a series looking at northern Ontario in 2058, as part of CBC Sudbury's 40th anniversary
In the 40 years CBC has covered northeastern Ontario, transportation has hogged a lot of headlines.
The four-laning of highways, the struggles of passenger rail, the dependency of northern cities on automobiles and the fight for more cycling infrastructure have all been hot topics.
And that's unlikely to change in the next 40 years, but how northerners get around is likely to change a lot by 2058.
"We really do have to upscale our transportation. We have become like a third world country with regard to transportation," says Linda Savory-Gordon, who is lobbying for a passenger rail network in the northeast.
Transportation economics professor Barry Prentice predicts that a system of autonomous cars might sideline rail in the years to come.
"Today, it sounds fanciful, but at one time having a so-called horseless carriage seemed pretty fanciful," he says.
And Josipa Petrunic, the executive director of the Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium, says those self-driving cars will run on electricity.
"It's completely changing the transportation landscape. And at one point we're all going to wake up and say 'Oh yeah, it's totally natural that everything's electric' in the same way today it's totally natural that everyone has a smartphone."
Hear more in this week's instalment of The Next 40: