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road sage

Everyone agrees we have a traffic problem. Last year a C. D. Howe Institute report found congestion in Toronto costs the GTA $11-billion in lost revenue and associated costs. That's up from a Toronto Board of Trade study that said congestion costs $6-billion. Studies show Vancouver has the worst traffic in the country with each commuter experiencing 87 hours of delay per year. Calgary is fifth. Montreal is a madhouse.

Meanwhile urban planners and politicians work to find an effective economical solution. Voters want a remedy. The candidate who seems most capable of fixing Toronto's city's traffic woes will win this fall's mayoral election.

I'm here to say, "Take the weekend off, people." I've got this solved. I have got the country's traffic nightmare licked. My solution is creative, out-of-the-box and – best of all – free. One hundred per cent gratis.

The answer is Minecraft.


I'll elaborate. Minecraft was created by Swedish game developer Markus Persson, the founder of Mojang AB. Released in 2011, it's what's known as a "sandbox video game." Players are free to build anything they want in their cubic Minecraft worlds (populated by creatures such as creepers, Endermen, and moo-shrooms). They build cities, roads, bridges, tunnels, roller coasters, railway tracks and anything else they can dream up. It's entirely powered by imagination and that's its secret. You envision it and make it happen in real time.

To call it popular would be like calling Niagara Falls wet. More than 54 million copies of Minecraft have been sold and companies and governments are adopting it for official use. The website recently reported that "the Danish Geodata Agency used internally developed topographic maps and elevation models to build a 1:1 recreation of the happiest country within Minecraft's blocky confines."

Here's my epiphany. If we want to fix our transit nightmares all we need to do is ask the tens of millions of 10-year-olds out there playing Minecraft to put their minds to it. Instead of constructing "Elcdragon Towns" or "Redstone Extreme Builds" we ask them to build 1:1 recreations of our cities and then fix our real-life traffic problems with Minecraft solutions.

It's perfect. Who is more creative than a kid? We need people without bias. Marshall McLuhan said, "We look at the present through a rear view mirror. We march backwards into the future." Well, we adults do, but these kids aren't even old enough to drive. Plus we wouldn't have to pay them. They do this stuff for free.

Who knows what they'll come up with? Maybe most of Montreal should be turned into a castle? Maybe we should dig a four-mile wide tunnel below Toronto and direct all automobile traffic underground? Maybe we should convert Vancouver from an island to a peninsula? True, these ideas are ridiculous but that's because and they are a product of an adult mind (mine).

Minecraft kids would come up with good stuff. Children see the world and its problems with a clarity we lack. They see through our adult obstruction. So, let's accept that adults are nothing more than obsolete children incapable of real original thought and hand the traffic problem over to the young ones. Minecraft is their thing. Let's combine the two. Maybe we should have a competition. Whoever can fix our nation's traffic problems wins an Adventure Time sticker book. So, it wouldn't be entirely free but still a bargain.

Mark my words – Minecraft. The answer is Minecraft.

If you have questions for Jason Tchir about driving or car maintenance, please write to

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