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The Dispatch: December 2021

We cover the ongoing supply chain issues and how freight is going electric, why Paris is committing to be 100% cyclable, and what you need to know about moving out of the city.

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by Team Onlia
Welcome back to the Dispatch, Onlia's monthly dive into the intersection of transportation, tech, and everything else you need to know about safety and insurance. This month, we're looking at cycling in Paris, smartphone-obsessed zombies, and what to factor into your country escape.

Government: Decoded

Toronto is feeling a need for speed, and unfortunately, the lethal side effects. October brought several pedestrian fatalities in zones known for speeding, like Parkside Drive, the Danforth, and the intersection of Pape and O'Connor – one of the city's deadliest. Residents are calling for more road safety measures from the city and greater attention from drivers. The city's automated speed enforcement program that employs camera-triggered ticketing supports the trend, reporting over 36,000 tickets during July and August 2021. The decreased visibility of darker nights combined with a busier city during the holiday season is an important reminder to stay aware and drive safely.

Curious if your ageing parents are still clear to drive? Unsure if your licence suspension has been lifted? The Ontario government has a website for that. The Ministry of Transportation has released their Driver's Licence Check, a service that provides information on the status of a driver's licence and their licensing conditions. Better to check up from the comfort of your own home rather than during a police roadside inspection.

Last month, we alluded to the ongoing shipping container shortages that are messing with Canadian (and global) supply chains. The saga continues, with various links in the chain – like container availability, driver shortages, fuel prices – adding to the issue. And all the while, online purchases are surging showing no sign of slowing down. One bright spot in the midst of the demands? Rail freight is going electric. A recent partnership arrangement between CN Rail and tech company Wabtec celebrates the launch of a battery-electric freight locomotive. The sustainable train will reduce fuel consumption and emissions by 30%. All aboard to a greener future!


Paris is always a good idea, and if you're a cyclist, an even better one. As a warm-up to the United Nation's Climate Change Conference, COP26, Paris announced a goal of becoming 100% cyclable by 2026. The French city has released their Bike Plan, outlining a strategy to add 180 kilometres of permanent, segregated bike lanes, triple the number of bike parking spots, and major improvements to infrastructure between Paris and surrounding suburbs. After recent increases in active transportation, Paris is doubling down on the bicycle – bon travail!

TikTok is raising the alarm on "smombies" in South Korea. A user posted a video that went viral about the use of curb-level street lights; designed to alert the "smartphone-obsessed zombies" of when it is safe to cross the street, Seoul's had the technology in place since 2019. However, TikTok gave rise to the tech, causing an international media frenzy. All very meta, with social media highlighting the solution to social media use and road safety.

Tesla can't stay out of the media, and soon, you’ll be able to drive one even if you’re not planning to purchase. Leading car rental company Hertz recently inked a deal with the electric vehicle manufacturer, ordering a fleet of 100,000 Teslas for U.S. and European rental markets. While this news pushed Tesla's stock even higher, the two companies are still working out some of the kinks about delivery dates and contracts. Regardless, a future of not having to gas up your rental car is closer than you think.

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Insurance demystified

The pandemic has been a harrowing experience for many, as it shifted how (and where) people live, work, and play. Statistics Canada reported that over 50,000 people left Toronto during the pandemic, relocating to surrounding cities and towns. This trend was seen in major urban centres across the country.

And with offices no longer expecting mandatory attendance and the surge in online delivery of everyday products, it makes sense that people are eager to stretch their housing budget in farther-flung locations. Whether you're considering a move or just settled into your country escape, there are a few budget items that may need a closer look.

Depending on your address, your auto insurance costs may change substantially. While there may be a lower risk of collisions or theft in a smaller town, you may be using your vehicle substantially more. Have kids? They may need a ride to school now that the subway isn't an option. Moreover, your one-car household may need a rethink. With changing work schedules and remote addresses, a second car may be more of a reality.

Factor in the unexpected increase on your vehicle use to get a clear-cut idea of how to budget. Options like bundling with your home insurance will help decrease costs (up to $750), and comparing rates online will give you the picture-perfect policy for your relocation. Consider how and when you'll use your vehicle, pairing it with safe winter tires for snowy country drives – that’ll be better on the roads, and better on your wallet. Investing in snow tires and adding multiple vehicles to your policy can earn you some pretty sweet discounts on car insurance, depending on your provider. Exhale – moving out of the city can still be relaxing as long as you optimize your insurance game with discounts and coverages.

Transportation fails

This month, we're reframing this transportation fail as an aviation win. Drivers on the 407 highway, a Greater Toronto Area toll road, were shocked when a small plane touched down on an open stretch of road. Traffic cameras caught the morning landing, reportedly caused by a mechanical malfunction. The pilot executed the emergency landing perfectly, without a single injury or any damage. Just one question – did they get billed for the toll?

Down the road

Winter is around the corner, and with it, seasonal driving. This is your friendly reminder to top up fluids, check for a snow brush, and add an emergency kit to your car. Make sure you feel comfortable behind the wheel in any driving conditions – we surveyed Canadian drivers last year, and only 40% felt confident in dangerous scenarios, like a breakdown, black ice encounter, or white-out conditions. Know before you go and practice where you can, as it can save both your life and those on the road with you.

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