Toronto City Council has approved the Automated Vehicles (AV) Tactical Plan and Readiness 2022 report. This is the first comprehensive plan of its kind for a North American city.
The plan aims to make Toronto "AV Ready" by 2022 and includes five key actions for City staff. One of the key actions is an Automated Shuttle Trial already scheduled to connect the West Rouge neighbourhood in Scarborough with the nearby Rouge Hill GO Transit station by September 2020.
"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."
While driverless cars (highly/fully automated vehicles) may still be a few years away, they 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, lane control, etc. 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 plan balances the long-term opportunities automated vehicles offer, such as improvements in how freight, goods and people are moved throughout the city, and how services are delivered, while anticipating and mitigating the possible risks. It 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.
The AV Tactical Plan was developed by more than 30 City of Toronto divisions and agencies and by consulting more than 350 community groups and companies that are currently involved in developing AVs.
The City also partnered with a number of leading-edge organizations including academic institutions in Canada and the U.S., as well as other national and international organizations and experts to prepare the plan. Early on, a panel of international experts from across four continents and various sectors related to automated vehicles reviewed and contributed to components of the plan.
A video about the Automated Vehicle Tactical Plan is available at https://youtu.be/Lqvo_UJOWxs.