Autonomous Vehicle Report by Senate Places Emphasis on AV’s Transit Impact

On Monday, January 29, the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications released its findings on its study into autonomous vehicle technology. The report, titled Driving Change: Technology and the future of the automated vehicle included 14 recommendations as well as a warning for regulators: “Previous instances of disruptive technology appearing in under-prepared jurisdictions — like now ubiquitous ride-sharing services — have shown that confusion results from a lack of planning.”

One of the recommendations made note of the potential impact of public transit: “Transport Canada [should] monitor the impact of AV and CV technologies on automobile insurance, infrastructure and public transit in Canada.”

CUTA President and CEO Patrick Leclerc testified before the Senate Committee as it was preparing this report. Leclerc is quoted in the report saying that while AV technology does present opportunities in lower density areas, that “turning our personal vehicles into autonomous vehicles will not address one of the major issues we are facing in cities, namely, scarce urban space. An autonomous car with one person on board doesn’t take less urban space than a traditional vehicle with a driver. The issue of traffic congestion, road capacity and bottlenecks will remain the same.”

The report also referenced the autonomous bus demonstration project, organized by CUTA, the Senate Committee and Transdev on Parliament Hill on September 20, 2017. Committee members and other prominent federal stakeholders, including Minister of Transport Marc Garneau,  had the chance to test out autonomous transit technology first hand.

The report also explores the regulatory, environmental, urban planning and security concerns associated with the growth of autonomous vehicles. The report will no doubt be popular reading as the federal government, as well as provincial and municipal governments move forward on the autonomous vehicle file.


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