At the end of 2013, several contacts based in Ontario sent us a document entitled “A pilot project to safely test autonomous vehicles – summary of proposal”. Having been involved in the area of transportation evolution and autonomous vehicle technology for a while, we were clearly intrigued. We admit that we read the document several times because we wanted to understand precisely what the Government of Ontario was stating or alluding to through this document.
“I’m certain that none of the horse and carriage guys became providers of automobiles” says Michael (Mik) Harrison-Ford, Chief Strategy Officer at zoox (zoox.co), discussing how automobile manufacturers today are having difficulty moving too far away from their current thinking. That’s where zoox come sin : design, engineering and creativity without the boundaries imposed by existing platforms. Approximately three months ago, Tim Kentley-Klay, the organization’s founder, formalized zoox-an organization that aims to develop “mobility for our time”.
We took advantage of the fact that we were in Barcelona for EVS27 to meet with several members of the SuperHub team. The SuperHub project (http://superhub-project.eu) was introduced in a previous newsletter but for the benefit of those who missed that issue,we will provide a summary description.
SUPERHUB (SU stainable and Persuasive Human Users moBility in future cities) is a multi-year project co-financed by the European Commission that involves 20 partners from a variety of fields, including transit and other transport agencies, telecommunications, academia and local government. Simply put, SuperHub is an open source platform and mobile app able to help a user plan customized urban routes by combining all mobility offers in real time.
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Traveling is always an eye opener. After several weeks on the road, we’re back with an even stronger conviction that MARCON’s new mobility model is the optimal way to a cleaner, more efficient and universally accessible transportation in the future. But we have also come to the conclusion that it not only can, but it must evolve to a financially self-sufficient and sustainable public transportation system. Governments cannot tax their citizens any more than they already are. Quite the opposite, governments must deliver better value to their citizens.
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The Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) held its 2013 fall conference this week in Calgary. We were invited to talk to the hundreds of delegates in attendance about the role of transit in a new mobility landscape. We were pleased to hear Michael Roschlau, CUTA’s President and CEO, talk about the changing mobility (shared multi-modal autonomous) and the opportunities that are presented to transit.
Transit is one of the rare visionary industries in this country that are laying the groundwork required to seize the opportunities that the new mobility (accompanied by autonomous vehicle technology and connectivity) landscape will present. In fact, when asked who believes that autonomous vehicle technology will be on our roads in the foreseeable future, over 3/4 of the transit delegates in our well-attended session raised their hands. Metrolinx and TransLink have already demonstrated interest in the new mobility landscape and are actively considering the opportunities presented to them.
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