Images of the future, with hindsight, turn out to be either right or wrong. In this article, past images of the impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on traffic and transportation are investigated. Informed by the field of technology studies, seven key features are formulated that point at pitfalls and neglected aspects in many future expectations on technological developments and their societal impact. It is also argued that the evolution from broad sweeping promises to more down-to-earth assessments is inherent in technological developments, because expectations and diffuse scenarios also play a performative role in technological developments. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.