ELA – short for Electric Automation – is a 100 per cent electric vehicle with a battery life of up to 14 hours. The driverless vehicles are part of a proposal to create ‘collision free multi-modal corridors’ in Surrey and Vancouver. (Photo: smartertogether.ca)

Technology

Surrey, Vancouver submit final proposal to launch driverless shuttles

The two cities hope to share $50M in prize money in the ‘Smart Cities’ traffic infrastructure challenge

Surrey and Vancouver have submitted their final Smart Cities Challenge proposal, hoping to share $50 million in prize money to create Canada’s first two “collision free multi-modal corridors” using automated shuttles.

“Our finalist submission is the result of 20 months of hard work between the two largest cities in our region, numerous partnerships with local and international vendors and academic institutions were formed, we heard from a wide cross section of residents and stakeholders, and we are elated to now share our proposal with Infrastructure Canada,” said Sean Simpson, Director of Information Technology for the City of Surrey.

The two collision-free corridors — Vancouver’s South False Creek Innovation Corridor and the Surrey Innovation Corridor — aim to achieve a number of outcomes including “improved safety, reduced emissions, healthier communities, increased availability of mobility options, more socially connected communities, increased accessibility to the community higher people-moving capacity, an enhanced travel experience.”

See also: A closer look at driverless shuttles proposed in Surrey, Vancouver

See also: Surrey, Vancouver shortlisted in $50 million traffic infrastructure competition

According to a City of Surrey release, the “#SmarterTogether” program is the result of “unprecedented joint engagement” in which the cities determined that mobility solutions had the potential to most significantly improve the lives of residents.

“The project team spoke with residents, experts and leaders of communities to explore how key mobility corridors could be designed to be appealing and accessible to all,” the release noted.

The cities also arranged corridor technology demonstrations in both Vancouver and Surrey, including autonomous vehicle shuttle ride demos (ELA – short for Electric Automation) that they say provided over 4,000 passenger rides to residents. It allowed residents to “experience this new technology and guide future considerations.”

A variety of other technologies are proposed in their application, including a Smart City Integration Hub, a software platform that represents the cornerstone of corridor security, privacy, and interoperability.

Also proposed are “intelligent traffic system devices” including sensors and controls embedded in traffic infrastructure, that collect data and enable real-time responses to specific traffic situations.

“The combined operation of these technologies will improve our residents’ lives in a multitude of ways,” a release states. “The availability of new mobility options will provide accessibility to community amenities and will reduce social isolation and feelings of loneliness in our communities. Conflict and collision-reducing technologies like dynamic crosswalks and adaptive traffic signals will make travel safer, especially for those people in groups disproportionately involved in accidents. Wayfinding applications for smartphones will enable residents to plan the safest multi-modal routes through the corridors.”

For information on the City of Vancouver’s and City of Surrey’s joint Smart City Challenge, or to see the finalist submission, visit smartertogether.ca.

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