National Smart Vehicle Demonstration and Integration Trial

The short: The first trial of its kind in North America is deploying half-a-dozen electric low-speed autonomous shuttles (eLSAs) in Markham, Ontario. This will enable hundreds of residents to share the zero-emission service from York Region Transit (YRT) as a means of reaching local transit hubs without driving their personal vehicles.

The long: By using CUTRIC’s Rout∑.i™ predictive modelling toolset to simulate the performance of eLSAs in nine Canadian cities and regions, the CUTRIC-ACATS Project Final Report shows that these vehicles have vital roles to play in bridging first-kilometre/last-kilometre gaps between homes, workplaces and transit hubs. Funded by Transport Canada’s Advance Connectivity and Automation in the Transportation System program, the 2021 report also demonstrates how eLSA-based solutions can improve mobility and transportation safety, and reduce traffic congestion, parking requirements and greenhouse gas emissions.

With transit riders tending to eschew services that take more than 20 minutes to reach on foot, eLSAs represent a solution that is environmentally friendly, operationally efficient, and cost-effective. Indeed, many transit agencies around the world are planning and commissioning pilot projects, with some reaching the deployment stage. By focusing on deployment, CUTRIC’s National Smart Vehicle Demonstration and Integration Trial is positioning Canada as a global leader in eLSA technology.

The shuttles, which can carry between 12 and 22 passengers, will use standardized Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) communication protocols, as well as world-class cybersecurity controls, to ensure safe, precise and efficient navigation and service. While the YRT eLSAs will operate without drivers, on-board conductors will ensure safe boarding and disembarking.

The future: In conjunction with the trial, CUTRIC has recruited five research institutions — Queen’s University, the University of Calgary, the University of Quebec in Trois Rivieres, the University of Toronto, and the University of Windsor — to advance the  operation, design, and consumer acceptance of eLSAs.

Likewise, CUTRIC’s National Smart Vehicle Demonstration and Integration Trial is addressing the high capital costs of eLSA deployment by working to ensure that systems from different manufacturers can interoperate, and developing an innovative model for joint ventures involving public and private funding and financing.

For more information, please contact Josipa Petrunic at [email protected].

Industry Members

Transit Members

York Region Transit

Post-Secondary Partners

Queen’s University University of Calgary Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) University of Toronto University of Windsor