Door-to-door transit could be on its way to Toronto.
If successful, prototypes that exist in England and in the United Arab Emirates would transform transit in our city by 2040.
Matt Hexemer, lead designer of a team working on a pod car, said the driverless vehicles would reduce road congestion.
“I think of the benefits to the city, freeing up the space from parking lots and garages, it frees up the city to have more social space and exchange space,” Hexemer said. His team’s pod car is exhibited at MOVE: The Transportation Exhibit at Evergreen Brick Works until Oct. 28.
“If this technology existed before the gasoline-powered engine our cities would look completely different,” he added.
At Heathrow airport in London, electric pod cars run on tracks connecting Terminal 5 with two stations parking lots 1.2 miles away. They are said to use 50 per cent less energy than diesel-burning buses.
In Masdar, a United Arab Emirates city planned for sustainability, the transit system was built underground to reduce traffic on streets and pod cars are being tested. They run from a parking lot to the Institute of Science and Technology — an 800-metre journey — in about two minutes.
Pod car systems are in construction in Suncheon, South Korea and Amritsar, India.
According to the exhibit, one in five 18 to 25 year olds have no emotional ties with cars and 30 per cent of Millennials (ages 16 to 32) would not exchange costly items like travel or an apartment for ownership of a car.
“We were looking at the target market, the Millenials, who don’t really need cars. With younger generations it is more about being with your friends and social experiences rather then the love of the vehicle itself,” Hexemer said.