Complete the Automated Shuttle Trial Pre-launch Survey

View the presentation from the Online Public Information Session that took place on September 14.
A new kind of temporary local transit service: convenient, safe, quiet, zero emissions and accessible

The West Rouge Automated Shuttle Trial is a project launched in partnership among the City of Toronto, Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), and Metrolinx.

This temporary trial uses a low-speed automated vehicle that is mostly self-driving. A human attendant will always be on-board to take over driving if needed. The shuttle will begin on-road testing in September 2021, with passenger service planned to begin in October. The service may extend until end of February 2022, depending how the vehicle performs in winter weather conditions.

Automated vehicles have the potential to reshape and redefine our transportation network. This trial is an opportunity for Torontonians to experience first-hand how it feels to ride on an automated vehicle, and to interact with it on public roads. It will also provide first-hand learning about the planning considerations for automated vehicle technology so we can further our goals of safe, green accessible and convenient transportation for all.

There is no intention to make this project permanent or scale up the use of automated shuttles at this time.

Public feedback is an important part of the project, and we invite you to get involved by clicking on “Tell Us What You Think” tab below.

Service Plan

  • The temporary shuttle service will be free for passengers, and will travel to and from Rouge Hill GO station.
  • Fixed-location stops will provide access to the West Rouge neighbourhood, West Rouge Community Centre and Rouge National Urban Park. The autonomous driving system (ADS) means it will stop at every designated shuttle stop so passengers do not have to inform the attendant in advance that they wish to disembark.
  • People who want to ride the shuttle will need to book a trip. This helps minimize contact during the COVID-19 pandemic but also enables us to contact passengers directly if there are any service updates. Bookings will be limited to people from the same household to a maximum of 4 at a time. Check back in October for more information about how to book.
  • Starting in September 2021, community members will see the shuttle in the area as it conducts mapping and commissioning activities. Passenger service is expected to begin in October, once all the project partners are satisfied with the safety of the vehicle.
Automated Shuttle Trial – Weekday RouteMap of Automated Shuttle routes on the weekday
Weekday Service:
  • Every 30 minutes
  • 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.; 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Aligned with GO schedules

Check back in October for detailed schedule information.

Automated Shuttle Trial – Weekend RouteMap of Automated Shuttle routes on the weekend
Weekend Service:
  • Every 30 minutes
  • 11:30 a.m to 1:30 p.m..; 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Aligned with GO schedules

Check back in October for detailed schedule information.

The project team wants to ensure residents have the information they need about the service and the safety of the vehicle. We also want your opinion on many aspects of the project.

Complete a Survey

We want your feedback on the West Rouge Automated Shuttle Trial. Two survey options are available:

  • Join our survey panel: As a panelist you will complete 3-4 surveys over the course of the project so we can understand your perspective now as well as after you have had direct experience interacting with the shuttle in your neighbourhood. To sign up to be on the survey panel, please email automatedvehicles@toronto.ca
  • Complete a single survey: One-time survey responses are also welcomed if you do not wish to be part of the survey panel. Complete the Automated Shuttle Trial – Pre-launch Survey.

Up Coming Information Sessions

Online Public Information Session: Tuesday, September 14, 2021, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

  • The virtual public information session provided an overview of the shuttle, details of the service and what residents can expect to see as it travels through the neighbourhood. View the presentation from the Online Public Information Session.

September/October: Meet the Shuttle at West Rouge Community Centre

  • This drop in event is an opportunity for neighbourhood residents to see the shuttle stationary and up close.  Project staff and vendor representatives will be on hand to answer any questions about the shuttle service or how the vehicle works. Sign up below to receive an invitation, or follow communications from Councillor McKelvie’s office to find out time and date details when they are available.

October: Ride the West Rouge Automated Shuttle

The West Rouge Automated Shuttle service will begin taking passengers in October. Because this is a trial project, the exact date is still to be confirmed. Prior to launching service, the shuttle vehicle will undertake over a month of mapping, commissioning and on-road testing so we are confident it will operate safely and smoothly once members of the public are on board.


Completed Engagements

An online survey was shared via drop-mail and online communications from September 13 to October 31, 2019. More than 400 responses, including 134 from residents who live in the West Rouge neighbourhood, were received.

A public consultation drop-in event was hosted on October 2, 2019, in the West Rouge Community Centre, where 39 residents attended and discussed the project with team members.


If you require assistance in accessing any materials on this page, please contact Jason Diceman.

Shuttle Trial Start Date

The shuttle will arrive in Toronto in mid-September 2021. Following its arrival, it will spend more than a month having all its systems tested, programming the exact route along which it will travel, and doing on-road testing to ensure safety.

During this testing period, local residents will see the shuttle travelling in the area, sometimes driven manually and sometimes in automated mode, but always with a human driver able to take control if needed. It will not be on a regular schedule during this set up period but will be following the planned route and using the stop platforms that have been installed. We expect passenger service to start sometime in late October or early November.

There will be no changes to the existing TTC bus service in the West Rouge area during the trial.


Project Rationale

Automated vehicles have the potential to reshape and define our transportation network, and the City, TTC and Metrolinx are already working together to plan and take action.

The project partners want to understand the value of an automated shuttle service in the transit and transportation system so that they can make decisions about the use of this and similar technologies in the future. The project partners also want to understand how users and community members respond to this type of service, and provide an opportunity for the public to learn more about automated vehicles.

There is no intention to make this project permanent or scale up the use of automated shuttles at this time.

The goal of this trial is to demonstrate the future opportunity for a safe, green, accessible and convenient transit technology to support local travel needs. It is an opportunity for Torontonians to experience first-hand how it feels to ride on an automated vehicle, and to interact with it on public roads. The partner agencies are learning a lot through this process that will help inform future planning for:

  • design and procurement of future partially or fully automated vehicles
  • designing neighbourhood-based transit services
  • road design, maintenance, signage and transportation policy to safely incorporate automated vehicle use in the City.

This shuttle trial is happening with approval of the Ontario Automated Vehicle Pilot program, administered by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.  Through this program, organizations can apply for a permit to test automated vehicles on Ontario public roads.


Shuttle Trail Service Schedule

When the shuttle is ready to launch passenger service, this website and other communications channels will provide updates on the schedule. Due to health & safety considerations with COVID-19, combined with the small size of the shuttle vehicle, we are asking all passengers to book their ride ahead using an on-line service. This will limit passengers on a single ride to people within one household. Further information will be provided closer to the time that passenger service begins.


Defining Success

For the City of Toronto, TTC and Metrolinx, successful outcomes of the project include:

  • Developing a greater understanding of:
    • The automated shuttle technology and its application in “first-mile, last-mile” applications and other use cases,
    • The potential for integration of this type of service to fill gaps in the existing transit system, and
    • Whether this type of service could offer a benefit to customers in the long term.
  • Generating regular use of the shuttle by residents and gathering feedback on customer experiences
    Encouraging increased public awareness in the use of automation
    Making Toronto even more attractive for economic activity in the area of automated transit vehicle technology

We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on travel patterns, particularly the commute to work and the use of public transit. This impact will be taken into consideration when assessing the success of the shuttle trial. Regardless of the number of passengers, the project partners will still gain valuable insight into the technology and this potential use-case.


Funding

The trial is funded by a contribution from Transport Canada through the Program to Advance Connectivity and Automation in the Transportation System (ACATS), as well as funding from the City of Toronto. The project partners (City of Toronto, TTC and Metrolinx) are also contributing in-kind support, such as staff time and other resources.

Transport Canada is providing a contribution of $365,000 for service preparation, delivery and evaluation. Total value of the project including in-kind support is estimated to be $1.153 million.


Automated Shuttle Trial in Whitby

In September 2021, a similar shuttle trial began in the Town of Whitby. That trial uses a vehicle from the same manufacturer but with a somewhat different combination of navigation strategies. The West Rouge Automated Shuttle Trial and the shuttle trial in Whitby are the first two AV shuttle trials in Canada that are being conducted in partnership with transit agencies. The West Rouge shuttle is offering transit service on a new route specific to the trial. The Whitby trial is running on an existing transit route.


Beyond the Trial

At this time, there is no intention to make this temporary trial permanent, nor to scale up automated shuttle services across the transit system without further analysis. During and after the trial, the City and its partners will conduct a full evaluation of the technology and its potential for integration into the transit system and other possible applications. This will include identifying future work and research that needs to be completed to continue preparing for this technology. More information on the City’s  Automated Vehicles Tactical Plan.

The City, TTC and Metrolinx have no intention of purchasing the shuttle vehicle.


Why We Chose West Rouge Neighbourhood

To select the preferred location, the City, TTC and Metrolinx began by developing selection criteria. They were:

  1. Route fills a current unmet need in the transit system
    • Outside of the existing TTC 400-metre service area
    • Close proximity to a major transit hub
  1. Route is able to meet the technological limitations of the anticipated shuttle technology
    • Acceptable grade, no rail crossings, pick-up/drop-off areas available, storage/charging areas available
    • Total route distance <5km (allows approximately 30-min headways with 1 shuttle)
    • Mixed-traffic environment with low traffic volume
  1. Route possesses preferred location characteristics
    • Identify whether in a Neighbourhood Improvement Area
    • Avoid School Zones
    • Ability to avoid or coordinate with planned capital projects/road works
    • Ability to clearly communicate to potential customers

Using these criteria, the team generated a list of potential locations within the City of Toronto and evaluated them against the criteria. West Rouge was the best candidate for meeting the project needs, and we hope residents will welcome this trial public service in their neighbourhood.

West Rouge Shuttle Vehicle: At a Glance

  • Low Speed: Travels up to 20km/h when in autonomous mode; 40km/h in manual mode
  • On-board attendant at all times
  • Fully accessible and AODA compliant
  • Electric: quiet and emissions-free
  • Up to 8 passengers
  • Up to 1 passenger with a mobility device

West Rouge Shuttle

On October 14, 2020, the City of Toronto announced it had signed an agreement with Local Motors to provide the automated shuttle vehicle and service.

The shuttle vehicle is the Local Motors Olli 2.0, the latest iteration of its 3D-printed, electric, self-driving shuttle. With a seating capacity of up to eight passengers, Olli is equipped with an accessibility ramp and a securement system for one wheelchair or mobility device at a time. It has audio and visual announcements both inside and outside the vehicle, and other features for rider information.

The shuttle is an automated vehicle (AV) that is mostly self-driving. A human attendant will be on-board at all times, capable of taking manual control at a moment’s notice and able to make decisions and guide alternate routes when the shuttle is uncertain about safety or ability to proceed.

Local Motors’ Olli 2.0 is equipped with redundant LiDar and radar sensors to analyse its surroundings and respond to road and traffic conditions around it. Paired with digital mapping of the route, the shuttle uses these tools to navigate the environment along a “virtual track” that is preprogrammed.

The shuttle will have a maximum speed of approximately 20 km/h while operating autonomously and may travel more slowly in some circumstances. When operating in manual mode it can travel up to 40 km/hour.

The Olli 2.0 vehicle has a single large door in the middle of the curb-side, and a manually operated ramp to enable wheeled access. Passengers use bench seating around the perimeter, with seatbelts for up to 8 people. However to help ensure safety during the Covid-19 pandemic, occupancy will be limited to 4 people. Due to safety considerations, all passengers must wear a seatbelt. There is space in the centre to secure one mobility device.


Shuttle is Accessible for All

The shuttle vehicle selected is fully compliant with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), the TTC Accessible Customer Service Policy and the Metrolinx Accessibility Policy.  Access for passengers using mobility devices will be via a ramp deployed manually by the on-board safety attendant. The shuttle includes announcements audible both inside and outside the vehicle and digital information screens inside and outside.

Due to the size and passenger limitations of the Local Motors vehicle, only one passenger with a mobility device (wheelchair, electric scooter or other of similar size) can be accommodated at a time. The space used by passengers with mobility devices does place some limitations on the number of other passengers that can be accommodated in a single trip. We anticipate the booking system to be required for all passengers will enable us to respectfully manage space limitations.

An attendant will always be on board to provide assistance as needed.


Weather Conditions

One of the objectives of the trial is to learn about the vehicle’s performance in a range of weather conditions. The trial timeline from fall 2021 to February 2022 will enable us to assess the shuttle’s performance in a range of weather and road conditions.

Generally speaking, based on our current knowledge, the Olli 2.0 automated shuttle can operate in different weather conditions, including some snow conditions. Heavy rain, heavy snow, and fog all impact the effectiveness of the Lidar and radar systems. Weather conditions will be monitored carefully and the shuttle may be taken out of service if weather conditions are deemed unsafe. The shuttle also has an electric motor and we know battery life can be reduced from cold temperatures.  To mitigate this, the storage area for the vehicle is heated, however there may be limitations on the distance the shuttle can travel when temperatures drop below freezing.

Local Motors (the shuttle vendor) and AutoGuardian (the shuttle operator) are providing a service plan based on the vehicle’s capabilities to ensure safe operations at all times.

See the Olli 2.0 in action:

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The short URL for this web page is toronto.ca/AVshuttle


Partners:

Metrolinx logo    TTC Logo


Funded by:

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*Transportation Services collects personal information (your email address) under the legal authority of Item PW31.7, City Council Decision 1, as confirmed by the City of Toronto By-law 1321-2018. The information will be used to respond to the inquiries related to the survey and the Automated Shuttle Trial project. Questions about this collection can be directed to the Manager, Public Consultation Unit, Metro Hall, 19th Floor, 55 John Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 3C6 or by telephone at 416-392-2990.