A Transportation Innovation Zone (TIZ) is a geographic area that hosts testing of transportation and public realm approaches and technologies in a real-world environment. A TIZ has been established on the Exhibition Place grounds. The City is also developing a Transportation Innovation Challenge program to invite and manage Trials at that site and, in the future, in other areas of the city.
By establishing a controlled public testing site with transparent monitoring and evaluation, and inviting third parties to conduct trials, we can learn about emerging technologies while supporting local innovation initiatives. The program will last until at least 2025.
Following consultation with stakeholders (see Consultation tab below), City staff have prepared a Framework document which defines the goals, scope, location, and process. We invite you to read and provide feedback on this draft document:
Comments must be provided by December 8. All comments will be reviewed and considered during final revisions of the Framework prior to it being presented to City Council in early 2021.
The City is developing the Transportation Innovation Zones and the Transportation Innovation Challenges to learn about emerging transportation technologies and approaches and how they could meet some of Toronto’s transportation needs. The program will facilitate trials by industry and academic actors in the real-world environment of Toronto’s streets. With careful design, this program can support research and development, grow local economic activity and talent, and advance the City’s mobility-related goals such as Vision Zero, accessibility, and TransformTO.
Also referred to as “testbeds” and “living labs,” the concept of providing space in a city to trial new innovations is being explored in many places around the world. Models range from purpose-built test tracks (Singapore), city-wide test zones (Torino, Italy), challenge-based partnerships with participation funding (TransLink in Vancouver), and testing on City-owned assets (Calgary).
Technologies and approaches that could be tested include those that use streets and sidewalks for the movement of people and goods, improve transportation operations, or improve the streets and sidewalks themselves. They will be demonstrated, monitored and evaluated in a controlled, real-world environment to understand potential benefits and impacts to key variables like safety, accessibility and privacy.
City Council asked staff to develop the Transportation Innovation Zones in October 2019 as part of the Automated Vehicles Tactical Plan. In July 2020, City Council asked staff to work with Exhibition Place to establish a Transportation Innovation Zone on the Exhibition Place grounds. City staff will be reporting back to council on the design of the program in early 2021.
The City of Toronto and Exhibition Place (an agency of the City) are working together to establish the first, flagship Transportation Innovation Zone on the Exhibition Place grounds.
Exhibition Place is Canada’s largest entertainment and business events venue, attracting over 5.5 million visitors a year. The 192-acre urban waterfront site is an integral component of Toronto and Ontario’s economy. This landmark destination combines urban parkland with business events, sports and entertainment in Toronto’s western downtown has been a hallmark of innovation for over a century.
As a testing site, the Exhibition Place grounds, buildings and infrastructure offer a dynamic urban environment with a range of infrastructure including roads, local and regional transit, sidewalks, cycling lanes, intersections, parking areas, indoor facilities, electric vehicle chargers and more.
Exhibition Place’s new Master Plan outlines a vision for Exhibition Place as a place of innovation, inspiration and economic development, alongside other pillars in the plan.
Collaborating and co-producing knowledge with stakeholders and the public is at the core of the Transportation Innovation Zones program.
In mid-September 2020, the City hosted four online workshops to gather feedback and recommendations from stakeholders on the proposed Transportation Innovation Framework.
The workshops had a total of 93 participants representing a wide range of organization types and interests and generated over 400 questions, suggestions and ideas. The majority of suggestions were prioritized by participants through collaborative idea rating.
Below are the reports summarizing the Stakeholder workshops:
All results were considered in details, with key suggestions directly influencing and reflect in the draft framework document.
For questions or comments at any time, email Jason.Diceman@toronto.ca.
The Transportation Innovation Zone concept was first developed in 2018-2019 as part of the Automated Vehicles Tactical Plan, which included consultation with academic institutions, community stakeholders and non-profits, automotive and technology industry members and associations, international experts, and the public.
The specific proposal for a Transportation Innovation Zone in Exhibition Place has been supported as part of Phase 1 of the Exhibition Place Master Plan (Next Place), which included public and stakeholder consultation.
The City has also received public input about the use of digital technology through the City’s Digital Infrastructure Plan.
In total, these consultation processes recorded the opinions of thousands of residents and hundreds of organizations, contributing to the core values, principles and general concept for the Transportation Innovation Framework.
Are you developing new technologies to clear snow or apply salt to sidewalks? The City of Toronto is inviting you to join a first-of-its-kind pilot Transportation Innovation Challenge at the City’s new Transportation Innovation Zone at Exhibition Place in early 2021.
All of the information you need to know can be found in this Call for Applications.
The application deadline is December 18, 2020.
Once accepted, the names of participating organizations will be shared publicly, and the public will be notified of testing days at Exhibition Place.
Staff are available to help you apply. For questions or guidance, please contact Fahad Khan, Project Lead: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Type (don’t copy and paste) your email address into the box below and then click “Subscribe” to receive bi-monthly updates about the Transportation Innovation Zones program. You will receive an email with instructions to confirm your subscription.