Mayor John Tory announced Monday that the city will soon begin consultations on the trial, which would launch in 2020 in partnership with the provincial transit agency Metrolinx and the Toronto Transit Commission, and be funded by the federal government.
Driverless transit shuttles are hitting Toronto streets next year | Urbanized
The vehicles, which would likely be able to seat eight to 12 people, would all be electric, the mayor said. And while there would be no driver, an "ambassador," likely a transit employee, would be on board.
Driverless transit shuttles coming to Toronto streets
Montreal has piloted self-driving buses as part of a project meant to test the feasibility of autonomous vehicles on that city's streets. The bus in that pilot was equipped with sensors and a navigational system, and ran at a maximum speed of 15 km/h.
The Alberta city of Beaumont, south of Edmonton, was the first city in Canada to test an autonomous shuttle in an environment that included vehicle traffic, pedestrian and regular traffic signals. The six-month pilot ends in October.
“The pilot in partnership with Metrolinx and the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) will allow the city to better understand the feasibility of automated shuttles in Torontos already robust transit system,” said the city.
Monday's announcement was made as part of the mayor's speech at the National Association of City Transportation Officials Designing Cities conference in Toronto, being held outside the U.S. for the first time.
"Toronto is growing at an unprecedented rate and with this growth we must focus on transit. Today's announcement is another step towards building and expanding our transit system," Tory said.
"The pilot for the automated shuttle will help residents access other transit options in the city and encourage more people to use our transit system."
Details on the number of shuttles or the actual route aren't yet finalized, but consultations are set to begin this fall.
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The project, in partnership with Metrolinx and the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), will take riders from the West Rouge neighbourhood in Scarborough to the Rouge Hill GO Station.