For anybody who hasn’t been following all the Big Moves being mapped out by the Ontario Governments public transit planning arm called Metrolinx, the projected Air Rail Link (ARL) is a bold initiative to finally connect Toronto’s Union Station with Pearson International Airport via a dedicated express train…All in time for the 2015 Pan American Games.
The objective behind the Air Rail Link is to ensure reliable travel times between the downtown core and the countries largest airport, while taking millions of car trips off the GTA’s already congested roadways in the process. The big challenge is to lay groundwork for a rail system that will be ‘Futureproof”, while still assuring that it can be up and running inside of the incredibly tight timeline for a project of this size.
Beyond the obvious need for re-establishing political unity and effective cost-controls at a time of enormous bureaucratic upheave in Toronto’s transit landscape (Thanks again, Rob Ford) the next biggest requirements for this project are the logistical challenges of assuring not just an environmentally responsible solution, but also a beneficial one that will set standards for clean transit systems for many decades to come…So what stands in the way of this progress?
The Future of highway transport could be driven on current roads,
It was Jean-Paul Sartre who said; L’enfers c’est les Autres, or “Hell is Others”.
So it seems more than just a little bit ironic to use the name “Sartre” for an automobile-guidance system that requires you to join others in a convoy, or “train”. So leaving aside the existential quandaries of grouping cars together, let’s just look at the practical implications.
Sartre is a guidance system that creates “trains” of cars. Once cars join this train, drivers cede control of their cars to a lead driver through a combination radio telemetry, remote controls, and GPS (called ‘telemetrics’) to enable this automated form of road travel. Perhaps the philosophical tie-in offered by the “Sartre” system is that by willingly choosing to give up some of our cherished egotism and autonomy, we can become more socially aware (safer?) on the road in the process.
At the very least, it might encourage nervous or downright bad drivers to just group themselves together, and free up some time/space for those who can more effectively navigate the mildly ordered chaos of our shared roadways.