Autonomous Shuttles Tested in Montréal

Autonomous Shuttles Tested in Montréal
The trip is via Pierre-de-Coubertin and Letourneux. At the end of the planned circuit, the shuttle ends its route on Place Gennevilliers-Laliberté, in front of the Maisonneuve Market. (Photo: City of Montréal)

Autonomous shuttles are being tested on public roads in urban areas in Montréal.

The pilot project is taking place in Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough, between the Olympic Park and the Maisonneuve Market, until August 4.

Each shuttle, designed like a minibus, can carry up to 12 people, with an operator that remains on board at all times to ensure everything runs well. The shuttle is designed to follow a predesigned route and is programmed to drive at low speeds (a maximum of 20 km/h). Citizens can use it for free.

The project stems from Montreal’s initiative in May 2016, when City Council instructed the Commission on Transportation and Public Works to identify issues and challenges regarding the arrival of independent urban mobility. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MAMH) invested $5 million over the last five years to fund the project.

The Quebec government wants to increase support for various pilot projects for autonomous electric vehicles in hopes to improve public transportation. A recent Quebec Ministry of Transportation (MTQ) order allowed autonomous shuttles to operate only on certain public roads in the City of Montréal.

“This pilot project will help us determine how technology can fit into the City’s transportation system. It will also help to familiarize the population with the arrival of this technology, [where little is known], but which raises curiosity and questions, “said Eric Alan Caldwell, Mobility Manager on the Executive Committee of the City of Montréal.

In 2018, Montréal participated in another pilot project that was set up by the Olympic Park, as a financial partner at the time. Now, the city will act as the prime contractors and will be consulting the shuttle users, as well as residents, for feedback through surveys.

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