Toronto, Local Motors sign agreement to begin AV trial in Spring 2021

Oct. 16, 2020
The six- to 12-month pilot is in partnership with TTC and Metrolinx and will connect the West Rouge neighborhood and Rouge Hill GO station.

The city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, will begin a six- to 12-month autonomous shuttle pilot program next spring after signing an agreement with Local Motors by LM Industries.  

The AV shuttle trial is intended to test the technology’s ability to meet an existing unmet need in public transit, such as filling the lower-demand “last mile” gap. The city, Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and Metrolinx were awarded a C$365,000 (US$275,970) grant in 2018 from Transport Canada for the project.

“We are continuing to move our city forward on many fronts, including microtransit, as we manage the effects of COVID-19. This innovative project will provide valuable insight while embracing innovation that could help us build a better, more sustainable and equitable transportation network,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory.

The city explains the agreement demonstrates the commitment from the city, TTC and Metrolinx to learn more about the future role of automated shuttles in public transit delivery. The service will connect the West Rouge neighborhood and Rouge Hill GO station and will be coordinated with GO Transit schedules. Appropriate cleaning and operational practices will follow TTC practices and standards at the time of launch.

The AV shuttle trial will use Olli 2.0, which is the latest iteration of an electric autonomous shuttle from Local Motors. The AV shuttle can carry up to eight passengers, but the city notes two staff members, a certified operator from Pacific Western Transportation and a customer service ambassador from either TTC or Metrolinx, will be on every trip.

Local Motors says the Olli shuttle is equipped with an accessibility ramp and a wheelchair securement system, along with audio and visual announcements and other features for rider information. An on-board safety steward will oversee vehicle operations and can manually take control of the vehicle at any time when required.

“As a pioneer in sustainable mobility, our goal is to deliver safe and proven autonomous solutions to all, and this deployment is a major step in advancing the Local Motors mission,” said Vikrant Aggarwal, president, Local Motors.

Toronto’s Automated Shuttle Trial is part of the city’s Automated Vehicles Tactical Plan and Readiness 2022, which is the first comprehensive automated vehicles plan for a North American city.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.