A self-driving shuttle is coming to Torontos east end – CBC.ca

A self-driving shuttle is coming to Toronto\s east end - CBC.ca
Torontos driverless vehicle pilot project chooses Scarboroughs neighbourhood for test site
Toronto plans to test out an autonomous shuttle that would connect a transit desert in the West Rouge neighbourhood in Scarborough to the Rouge Hill GO station — but if the idea of a driverless vehicle makes you nervous, don't worry: there will be someone staffing it all times, the city says.

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. 

As for how the shuttles would operate, the city says the pilot would use driverless shuttles that would seat between eight to 12 people, and travel in low-speed, low-volume environments. While an on-board driver is not required to operate the vehicle, this pilot project will include ‘ambassadors’ who will staff the vehicle at all times.

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.

“We simply must move people better on public transit in Toronto and find innovative balanced ways to do it. This will involve change, but I am confident based on our experience with King Street, that done properly, these kinds of changes can make a real difference and maintain public confidence,” said Tory.

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.

On Monday, Mayor John Tory announced that with funding from the federal government, the city will begin consulting with the public on an automated shuttle trial, that’s the first of its kind in Canada, and set to begin in 2020.

"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.

Torys announcement was made during the 2019 National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Designing Cities conference. Its the first time the event has been held outside the U.S. and brings together planners from more than 100 cities to discuss and advance transportation.

"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.