Driverless shuttle buses officially hitting Toronto streets next year

Oct 30 2019, 7:58 am

Driverless buses will soon be the norm on city streets.

Toronto city council has officially approved its Automated Vehicles (AV) Tactical Plan, which is the first of its kind in North America.

According to the city, the plan aims to make Toronto “AV Ready” by 2022 and includes five key actions for staff. This includes the automated shuttle trial, which will connect the West Rouge neighbourhood in Scarborough to the nearby Rouge Hill GO Transit station by September 2020.

While driverless cars (highly/fully automated vehicles) may still be a few years away, the city says they still have the potential to reshape Toronto’s transportation system.

Partially automated vehicles are already in Toronto. These are mainly passenger vehicles with cruise control, automated braking, and lane control.

The Tactical Plan addresses both types of automation and recognizes that some actions are required now while other planning can stretch all the way to 2050.

The city says “the plan balances the long-term opportunities that automated vehicles offer, such as in how freight, goods and people are moved throughout the city, and how services are delivered, while anticipating and mitigating the possible risks.”

“By taking proactive steps today to prepare for fully automated technology, Toronto is preparing for the future,” said Mayor John Tory.

“I’m confident that the comprehensive plan adopted today – the first of its kind by a North American city – will ensure we are ready to embrace the benefits of this emerging technology while preparing to confront the challenges that such an innovation will bring.”

City of Toronto

The city says the plan sets the foundation for a future transportation system that improves mobility, social equity and health; considers environmental and economic sustainability; reinforces protection of privacy as well as a more integrated transportation network; aims to use automated vehicles to increase efficiency; and supports progress toward achieving safer roads through Vision Zero.