Hold the LRT: Why not self-driving buses?
RE: Charge it! 500 electric stations coming to Hamilton and Ontario (July 16)
Why not battery-powered, self-driving buses instead of LRT for Hamilton?
Ontario sees the wisdom of electric cars, but not public transit. Hamilton is being asked to replace 20th-century technology (buses) with 18th-century technology (rails), and use it in the 21st century. Railways, taking advantage of James Watt’s invention of 1775 (the steam engine) once dominated overland transport. Turnpikes provided connectivity in the mid- to late 20th century, made possible by Charles Goodyear’s invention of 1844 (vulcanized rubber). Wholesale replacement of steel wheels with pneumatic wheels signalled the transfer from rail to road for municipal public transit about 65 years ago.
What’s next? Connectivity in the 21st century is neither road nor rail, but by the Internet, and the multitude of applications it supports, including the 21st-century invention — self-driving vehicles. Would it not be prudent to see how this technology evolves before we reinstall 18th-century “guiding systems” into our municipal roads? Would Ontario government be willing to spend the $1 billion on development of battery-powered autonomous buses for Hamilton? Milan Gacesa, Dundas