Driverless transit shuttles are hitting Toronto streets next year | Urbanized – Daily Hive

Driverless transit shuttles are hitting Toronto streets next year | Urbanized - Daily Hive
Driverless transit shuttles coming to Toronto streets
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. 

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.

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. 

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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An automated shuttle pilot project will be hitting the streets of Torontos east end by 2020, Mayor John Tory announced today.

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.

Toronto is growing at an unprecedented rate and with this growth we must focus on transit, 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, he added.

The automated shuttles typically seat eight to 12 passengers and are designed to travel at low speeds in low-traffic areas. The shuttles do not require an on-board driver, but will include ambassadors who will be on the vehicle at all times.

Montreal began testing small, driverless, electric buses last spring. They are mostly used for tourists in the citys Olympic Park.

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.

A report to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee last June said the pilot project would cost $1.2 million and run for 6 to 12 months. 

This will be the first automated transit shuttle trial in Canada, which will help us better understand the specific potential of automated shuttles in the transit system.

Montreal began testing self-driving shuttles, adapted for wheelchairs and strollers, last fall. (CTV Montreal)

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