Canadian Underwriter

Automated public transit vehicles back on Toronto City Council agenda

July 4, 2016   by Canadian Underwriter

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A proposal to ask the Toronto Transit Commission to report on a plan for automated vehicle technology will be back before City Council next week.

Toronto City Council’s executive committee voted June 28 in favour of requesting that the TTC report “to the Executive Committee by the fourth quarter of 2016 with respect to the Commission’s strategic plan concerning the incorporation of automated vehicle technology within the City’s transit system.”

The executive committee is comprised of Mayor John Tory as well as 12 of the city’s councillors.

Full council is scheduled to meet July 12-13.

Toronto transit buses

The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario has an autonomous vehicle pilot program in place, but the province does not permit driverless cars. The autonomous vehicle pilot program requires that drivers be ready to intervene.

Automated buses are in use in The Netherlands.

“From June 2016 onwards, these self-driving vans will travel between the Ede-Wageningen railway and bus station and Wageningen University & Research Centre,” the Delft University of Technology states, of the WEpod, on the website of its civil engineering and geoscience department. “Passengers will be able to book a ride using an app.”

The Delft University of Technology is a partner in the WEpod project.

“The six-person vans have a GPS on board that was developed by the Department of Geoscience & Remote Sensing as well as 3D imaging and a radar system developed by 3ME and other partners,” states TU Delft. “These allow the vans to observe their surroundings and always stop for other road users. These systems are currently being calibrated in CEG’s garage. The Department of Transport & Planning at CEG is studying the safety aspects of the route the vans will travel and their integration into the transport system.”

The WEPod is mentioned in the motion before City Council by Councillor Michelle Holland.

Other cities “exploring the use of automated buses” include Lausanne, Switzerland, and Zhengzhou, China, states the summary of Holland’s motion.

“It is essential that with the current pace of technological change that the City of Toronto’s public transit system properly prepare for the use of these new technologies.”

That motion was discussed at City Council June 8 and referred to the executive committee.

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