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  #1141  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2018, 4:37 AM
pblaauw pblaauw is offline
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Not transit related, but does anyone on this forum know the history of the rail line to Autoport? I watched a couple people wander over the tracks while a train came around the bend from King's Wharf. Someone's going to get killed there some day.
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  #1142  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2018, 10:36 AM
terrynorthend terrynorthend is offline
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Originally Posted by pblaauw View Post
Not transit related, but does anyone on this forum know the history of the rail line to Autoport? I watched a couple people wander over the tracks while a train came around the bend from King's Wharf. Someone's going to get killed there some day.
By Alderney Landing I presume, at the bottom of the stairs between the library and old Dartmouth City Hall? I've wondered many times myself about how uncontrolled this area is. During the summer months there are often families, kids, tourists, not to mention commuters all over the place. I'm surprised there hasn't been a serious incident here.
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  #1143  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2018, 2:50 PM
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Originally Posted by pblaauw View Post
Not transit related, but does anyone on this forum know the history of the rail line to Autoport? I watched a couple people wander over the tracks while a train came around the bend from King's Wharf. Someone's going to get killed there some day.
Well, CN's Dartmouth Subdivision has been around in one form or another since 1884, when the first attempt to build a bridge across Halifax Harbour was attempted. After that and a subsequent one both collapsed, it was decided that building the line over land from Windsor Junction made more sense, and that connection opened in 1896, running from Windsor Junction to Woodside (to service the sugar refinery located there). An extension to Upper Musquodoboit opened in 1916, adding 107 km of rail to the line. In 1960, passenger service was discontinued, and the entire line past the Autoport was abandoned in 1983 (the last freight trains ran in 1982).

This site has a ton more information:

http://www.ns1758.ca/rail/musquodoboit-railway.html

And here's a timetable for the Dartmouth Sub, circa 1961 (you'll note that there's a permanent slow order for the "highway crossing leading to ferry landing, Dartmouth - some things never change!):

https://www.traingeek.ca/timetablesh...=0&showlarge=1
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  #1144  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2018, 3:10 AM
pblaauw pblaauw is offline
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Well, CN's Dartmouth Subdivision has been around in one form or another since 1884, when the first attempt to build a bridge across Halifax Harbour was attempted. After that and a subsequent one both collapsed, it was decided that building the line over land from Windsor Junction made more sense, and that connection opened in 1896, running from Windsor Junction to Woodside (to service the sugar refinery located there). An extension to Upper Musquodoboit opened in 1916, adding 107 km of rail to the line. In 1960, passenger service was discontinued, and the entire line past the Autoport was abandoned in 1983 (the last freight trains ran in 1982).

This site has a ton more information:

http://www.ns1758.ca/rail/musquodoboit-railway.html

And here's a timetable for the Dartmouth Sub, circa 1961 (you'll note that there's a permanent slow order for the "highway crossing leading to ferry landing, Dartmouth - some things never change!):

https://www.traingeek.ca/timetablesh...=0&showlarge=1
Thanks for the info.
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  #1145  
Old Posted Jun 20, 2019, 2:31 AM
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After an in-camera debate, HRM regional council has shelved the commuter rail proposal: https://globalnews.ca/news/5408673/p...area-derailed/

Apparently it wasn't possible to get CN to agree to reasonable terms. And because of non-disclosure agreements, we probably won't know what the terms were.

This should be considered unacceptable for this type of infrastructure in Canada. The rail lines themselves constitute a national monopoly and should be controlled in a public, transparent way.
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  #1146  
Old Posted Jun 20, 2019, 10:54 AM
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After an in-camera debate, HRM regional council has shelved the commuter rail proposal: https://globalnews.ca/news/5408673/p...area-derailed/
This should be considered unacceptable for this type of infrastructure in Canada. The rail lines themselves constitute a national monopoly and should be controlled in a public, transparent way.
We don't let any trucking company have a monopoly over the highways. CN is a big obstacle to usable passenger rail in Canada because of this.
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  #1147  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2019, 2:53 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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After an in-camera debate, HRM regional council has shelved the commuter rail proposal: https://globalnews.ca/news/5408673/p...area-derailed/

Apparently it wasn't possible to get CN to agree to reasonable terms. And because of non-disclosure agreements, we probably won't know what the terms were.

This should be considered unacceptable for this type of infrastructure in Canada. The rail lines themselves constitute a national monopoly and should be controlled in a public, transparent way.
Agreed. Rail lines, like highways, are essential to our country's wellbeing, as a way to move goods (and people) around efficiently. There needs to be a better way of dealing with situations like this that go against the interests of the public.
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  #1148  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2019, 8:37 PM
ILoveHalifax ILoveHalifax is offline
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I see that Kitchener has LRT starting real soon - Looks like a much better plan than a rail line out to the boonies. Kitchener is not much bigger than Halifax so if they can do it so can Halifax
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  #1149  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2019, 8:55 PM
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I see that Kitchener has LRT starting real soon - Looks like a much better plan than a rail line out to the boonies. Kitchener is not much bigger than Halifax so if they can do it so can Halifax
Some of these LRT projects are pretty bad. I'm not sure about the Kitchener project specifically but many of them are barely faster than buses. It would be a mistake for Halifax to invest in something like that.

Kitchener also got a lot of funding for that $800M project. At one point it looked like almost all of the funding would come from the feds and province. Ontario was possibly going to pay for 2/3, although since then I think that's come down. I can't imagine Nova Scotia paying for 2/3 of a transit project in Halifax.

The technology for this is changing too. I wonder if the solution soon will be self-driving battery-powered vehicles operating in more or less dedicated right of ways. With self-driving vehicles you could have a larger number of lower capacity vehicles operating at higher frequencies for less cost than a bus driven by a human.

Commuter rail is a little different because it's such a nice corridor and the roads serving the same area are at capacity.
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  #1150  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2019, 9:12 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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The technology for this is changing too. I wonder if the solution soon will be self-driving battery-powered vehicles operating in more or less dedicated right of ways. With self-driving vehicles you could have a larger number of lower capacity vehicles operating at higher frequencies for less cost than a bus driven by a human.

Commuter rail is a little different because it's such a nice corridor and the roads serving the same area are at capacity.
I think, despite the hype, that we are a long way off from viable autonomous vehicles that are reliable, efficient, and don't suffer from system crashes and other potential reliability/safety risks... not to mention the legalities and responsibilities of running/maintaining such a system.

Regardless, the current rail ROW in Halifax would have been perfect for commuter rail because it offers a grade-separated ROW that has no dependence on current road systems and goes right into the downtown. As has been discussed here previously, there could even be potential to convert the old north-side rail ROW from surface parking back to rail, if it were handled properly.

An autonomous/electric vehicle system could be a great supplement to such a system, whenever it actually becomes viable, but the rail system still seems like the best way to move large numbers of people for the foreseeable future.
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  #1151  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2019, 9:15 PM
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I think, despite the hype, that we are a long way off from viable autonomous vehicles that are reliable, efficient, and don't suffer from system crashes and other potential reliability/safety risks... not to mention the legalities and responsibilities of running/maintaining such a system.
Vancouver's had automated trains since the 80's. The difference is that they run on a dedicated track and the controls are much simpler. I would guess that the system is much safer than one driven by humans.

In the US the ridesharing operators run self-driving cars today in mixed traffic.

The "hype" aspect is the idea that all human drivers will be obsolete tomorrow. That's not true, but it is possible to design an automated system today.

The electric buses meanwhile are being rolled out in a bunch of cities. I think Halifax might be testing them too. They really change the calculus between (loud, dirty diesel) buses and rail.
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  #1152  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2019, 10:07 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Vancouver's had automated trains since the 80's. The difference is that they run on a dedicated track and the controls are much simpler. I would guess that the system is much safer than one driven by humans.

In the US the ridesharing operators run self-driving cars today in mixed traffic.

The "hype" aspect is the idea that all human drivers will be obsolete tomorrow. That's not true, but it is possible to design an automated system today.

The electric buses meanwhile are being rolled out in a bunch of cities. I think Halifax might be testing them too. They really change the calculus between (loud, dirty diesel) buses and rail.
I'm talking about autonomous road vehicles, and yes they are being tested sporadically in the US (and maybe parts of Canada?), but that's entirely different than an entire system of autonomous vehicles being operated on a mass-produced, mass-used basis. Sure, companies can put specially built vehicles out there and track them carefully, it's easy for them, and their budget per vehicle is huge. Throw cost-cutting and mass production, mass use, and age/mileage into the picture and it's a totally different thing.

If you had a window inside the industry, you would find that there are all kinds of electronic systems on vehicles that regularly fail in ways that manufacturers did not predict. Sometimes they throw out fault codes that do not accurately represent what actually happened with the vehicle, but there are people driving them who can use their senses and experience to know there is something wrong and can communicate that to the service advisors so the manufacturers can collect information to understand what needs to be fixed. ...And that's with today's relatively simple vehicles. Toss in a self-driving requirement and complexity increases exponentially. That's all I will say about it, but we are not close to being there yet, despite what all the feel-good news articles tell you about it - that's the "hype" I'm talking about - kinda reminds me of all the Buck Rodgers flying cars that were promised in the 1950s...

Anyhow, self-driving rail is an entirely more simple system, all it has to do is regulate speed and not run into another train.

Electric is entirely possible... and plausible, but still not as efficient as it could (should) be. As you know, Halifax had electric buses from 1949 till 1969, so they are not a new idea, only that they now use batteries (which still are waiting for a technological breakthrough to really take off) instead of overhead wires for a power source. FWIW, the last time I was in San Francisco, some of their bus lines were still using this style of electric bus system (with newer buses, but still reliant on overhead lines).
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  #1153  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2019, 10:21 PM
ILoveHalifax ILoveHalifax is offline
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Some of these LRT projects are pretty bad. I'm not sure about the Kitchener project specifically but many of them are barely faster than buses. It would be a mistake for Halifax to invest in something like that.

Kitchener also got a lot of funding for that $800M project. At one point it looked like almost all of the funding would come from the feds and province. Ontario was possibly going to pay for 2/3, although since then I think that's come down. I can't imagine Nova Scotia paying for 2/3 of a transit project in Halifax.

The technology for this is changing too. I wonder if the solution soon will be self-driving battery-powered vehicles operating in more or less dedicated right of ways. With self-driving vehicles you could have a larger number of lower capacity vehicles operating at higher frequencies for less cost than a bus driven by a human.

Commuter rail is a little different because it's such a nice corridor and the roads serving the same area are at capacity.
Interesting comments, So tell me, are there any LRT systems that work well? You being in planning, I would certainly expect you have some idea as to which ones work . It seems to me very sad that they are being built in several major Canadian cities Edmonton, Hamilton, Ottawa, London, Kitchener, and Toronto Eglinton Cross town; some of these I guess are dedicated line and some are in traffic? Would like for you to enlarge your comment(s) if you would
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  #1154  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2019, 10:38 PM
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Interesting comments, So tell me, are there any LRT systems that work well? You being in planning, I would certainly expect you have some idea as to which ones work . It seems to me very sad that they are being built in several major Canadian cities Edmonton, Hamilton, Ottawa, London, Kitchener, and Toronto Eglinton Cross town; some of these I guess are dedicated line and some are in traffic? Would like for you to enlarge your comment(s) if you would
I'm not a professional planner, this is just something that interests me.

Vancouver's system is essentially automated LRT on an elevated track. The system has some issues like poor connections/crowded stations and limited service in the urban core but basically along the corridors the service is excellent.

Calgary's LRT is hugely successful. The CTrain runs at grade in part of downtown and then has some dedicated tracks running out to the suburbs. Portland's MAX is like this too.

I think it really comes down to nuts and bolts around speed and frequency. The speed depends partly on the technology but in practice mostly on whether or not the vehicles get stuck in traffic, and to some degree on the density of the stops too. You can have good or bad LRT or streetcars depending on the implementation, just like you can have good or bad bus routes.

Another side benefit of LRT or streetcars you'll hear planners talk about is permanence of infrastructure and the simplicity of finding the stations. People will make investment decisions and visitors will use rail systems or systems with nice permanent stations and/or tracks when they might not use buses.
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  #1155  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2019, 11:19 PM
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Vancouver's had automated trains since the 80's. The difference is that they run on a dedicated track and the controls are much simpler. I would guess that the system is much safer than one driven by humans.

In the US the ridesharing operators run self-driving cars today in mixed traffic.

The "hype" aspect is the idea that all human drivers will be obsolete tomorrow. That's not true, but it is possible to design an automated system today.

The electric buses meanwhile are being rolled out in a bunch of cities. I think Halifax might be testing them too. They really change the calculus between (loud, dirty diesel) buses and rail.
Ironically if all human drivers were to be off the road by tomorrow, automated operation would suddenly become far more feasible. If all the vehicles on the road were able to communicate as part of some master network it would solve so many problems. You wouldn't need traffic lights or stop signs or minimum following distances since all the traffic would be controlled by the same system. And you wouldn't have the inefficiencies caused by cars driving around looking for parking since the system would know exactly where to park or the car would simply drive away and serve other passengers when the current occupant disembarked.

As for electric buses, this would perhaps be one of the best possible investments that metro transit could make. No only would the operating costs be much lower, but the NVH levels inflicted by the current buses would be cut by like 75%. I haven't see or heard of any ebuses here yet though. If they're testing them they're doing a great job of keeping it secret.
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  #1156  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2019, 3:51 AM
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I'm not a professional planner, this is just something that interests me.

Vancouver's system is essentially automated LRT on an elevated track. The system has some issues like poor connections/crowded stations and limited service in the urban core but basically along the corridors the service is excellent.

Calgary's LRT is hugely successful. The CTrain runs at grade in part of downtown and then has some dedicated tracks running out to the suburbs. Portland's MAX is like this too.

I think it really comes down to nuts and bolts around speed and frequency. The speed depends partly on the technology but in practice mostly on whether or not the vehicles get stuck in traffic, and to some degree on the density of the stops too. You can have good or bad LRT or streetcars depending on the implementation, just like you can have good or bad bus routes.

Another side benefit of LRT or streetcars you'll hear planners talk about is permanence of infrastructure and the simplicity of finding the stations. People will make investment decisions and visitors will use rail systems or systems with nice permanent stations and/or tracks when they might not use buses.

WOW! And thanks for your response. I really thought you were a professional planner because you speak so well about most issues.

So some work well and some don't work so well; then the obvious solution is to look at those which work well and use those methods to make something work for Halifax. We can of course eliminate the poor ones.

Halifax has some narrow streets but I would suggest dedicated tracks and possibly only 1 way on parallel streets. I could envision tracks down the center of Bayers Rd and right out the BiHi with stations on the side of the highway. Of course there are other possible routes including crossing the harbor on one of the bridges and following thru Dartmouth.

When I see a city the size of Kitchener and London who are not much larger than Halifax having LRT, it is time to start thinking about solutions.

Currently there are so many buses thru downtown that they are waiting behind each other to get to the stops. Hardly a good system when the buses are an obstacle to the buses.
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  #1157  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2019, 12:08 PM
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Ironically if all human drivers were to be off the road by tomorrow, automated operation would suddenly become far more feasible. If all the vehicles on the road were able to communicate as part of some master network it would solve so many problems. You wouldn't need traffic lights or stop signs or minimum following distances since all the traffic would be controlled by the same system. And you wouldn't have the inefficiencies caused by cars driving around looking for parking since the system would know exactly where to park or the car would simply drive away and serve other passengers when the current occupant disembarked.
The concept is great in theory, but sounds a little too utopian to actually function as such.

Sure, you can remove human drivers, and assuming all systems continually work as they should, every vehicle could travel efficiently in harmony with one another with no need for traffic rules or controls.

But... that is a world where there are no humans or other animals in the mix. In the real world, you will have pedestrians wanting to cross the street, you will have children playing that might run out into the street, there will be domestic and wild animals that aren't aware of the amazing technology making all these vehicles work in harmony with one another.

And of course... cyclists, who are human controlled vehicles. Perhaps with the precision of self-driving vehicles, you can narrow the lanes and provide cyclists with separate roadways, but they still will have to cross paths at some point, and thus the self-driving system will still have to deal with unpredictable human 'drivers'.

Or, perhaps the cycling coalitions will insist that they share the roadways with the self driving vehicles, such as in the situation in Ottawa mentioned in this thread, where cyclists are encouraged to ride down the middle of the lane with motorized vehicles following. Nothing would cripple the efficiency of a self-driving vehicle system as much as that, but at least it would be safer for cyclists (as long as the sensors on every vehicle were functioning properly and calibrated correctly such that the vehicle "sees" the smaller cyclist in front of them).

How about motorcycles? Will motorcycles also be self-driving? If not, will people no longer be able to ride motorcycles on the road? That would not go over well... if you think that bicyclists are outspoken, you haven't heard anything till you deal with the motorcycle crowd - those guys (and gals) are very defensive of their right to ride...

Then you still have to deal with human nature. A friend brought up an interesting point in this past week - once self-driving cars are on the road, they will have to be tuned to avoid collisions at all costs, which means if a pedestrian steps out in front of a vehicle, it will be programmed to avoid hitting that pedestrian. Once people learn that, crosswalks probably won't be used as much, since people will start to understand that they can cross anywhere they want and the vehicles will stop for them. What will that do to the utopian traffic flow? Not to mention how the computer will be programmed for events where the car will have to choose whether to hit a pedestrian or injure its passengers by hitting something else - sounds like a legal nightmare to me. It's currently easy, you just blame the human driver for whatever happens, but once large corporations are involved it will be much more complicated.

Yep, lots of stuff to work out before we have a functional autonomous vehicle system working in our society. IMHO.

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As for electric buses, this would perhaps be one of the best possible investments that metro transit could make. No only would the operating costs be much lower, but the NVH levels inflicted by the current buses would be cut by like 75%. I haven't see or heard of any ebuses here yet though. If they're testing them they're doing a great job of keeping it secret.
I would applaud replacing diesel buses with electric. The sooner they can get them off the road, the better. Diesel fumes are not pleasant nor are they good for the health of those who have to breathe them. And of course, there are the environmental impacts.

Halifax has been studying BEBs, but I have not seen one on the road either, as yet.

As far as noise levels go, I imagine they will still have to create an artificial noise so that pedestrians and cyclists are aware of their approach. Many electric and PHEV vehicles already have this feature.
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  #1158  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2019, 5:27 PM
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Personally, I'm going to resist my robot overlords as long as possible.

In my circle, I'm a well known Luddite, despite working in the most technologically advanced and sophisticated field in medicine...........

Occasionally, I just want to hop in a car and go for an old fashioned drive. I get in the car with no planned itinerary, and just wander aimlessly around the city just wanting to see what's new or different, or what is going on. It's called exploration..........

How will autonomous vehicles deal with that? It's fine if you're just going to the grocery store - you just get in the vehicle and tell the car where to go. What if you don't have an actual planned destination????

Will going for a Sunday drive now be illegal???
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  #1159  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2019, 7:48 PM
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Personally, I'm going to resist my robot overlords as long as possible.

In my circle, I'm a well known Luddite, despite working in the most technologically advanced and sophisticated field in medicine...........

Occasionally, I just want to hop in a car and go for an old fashioned drive. I get in the car with no planned itinerary, and just wander aimlessly around the city just wanting to see what's new or different, or what is going on. It's called exploration..........

How will autonomous vehicles deal with that? It's fine if you're just going to the grocery store - you just get in the vehicle and tell the car where to go. What if you don't have an actual planned destination????

Will going for a Sunday drive now be illegal???
A paranoid person would suggest that self-driving cars are just another step for left-wing totalitarian govts to control the mobility of citizens in order to impose their will upon them. Private cars were discouraged in the old Soviet Union and East Germany for just this reason.

A more reasonable person would suggest that self-driving technology may eventually work on limited access expressways and not much else. Using it on rural 2-lanes and on city streets would be extremely challenging.
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  #1160  
Old Posted Jun 23, 2019, 1:04 PM
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Originally Posted by MonctonRad View Post
Personally, I'm going to resist my robot overlords as long as possible.

In my circle, I'm a well known Luddite, despite working in the most technologically advanced and sophisticated field in medicine...........

Occasionally, I just want to hop in a car and go for an old fashioned drive. I get in the car with no planned itinerary, and just wander aimlessly around the city just wanting to see what's new or different, or what is going on. It's called exploration..........

How will autonomous vehicles deal with that? It's fine if you're just going to the grocery store - you just get in the vehicle and tell the car where to go. What if you don't have an actual planned destination????

Will going for a Sunday drive now be illegal???
Yes, I do worry if the intent is to make everything efficient at the expense of our personal freedoms. I can't see it playing out that way, at least for now. But maybe future generations might be more compliant? I've seen hints of this showing up lately, but hope I'm wrong.
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