The city council wants the 6ix to be ready for the time of self-driving cars in Toronto. The city approved the Automated Vehicles Tactical Plan and Readiness 2022 report on Wednesday, October 30, 2019. The ground-breaking initiative is the first of its kind for a North American city and will pave the way for automated cars throughout the city. 

The effort was launched in the hopes of making Toronto ready for self-driving vehicles by 2022. It includes five critical actions for City staff. One of these actions is an Automated Shuttle Trial, which will connect the West Rouge neighbourhood in Scarborough with the nearby Rouge Hill GO Transit station by as early as September 2020.

The automated shuttle vehicles will reportedly carry around eight to 12 passengers each. Although the cars will be self-driven, there will be technicians on board at all times. Back in 2018, it was announced that the City of Toronto planned to test out the $1.2 million pilot, which it was hoped would launch in 2020.

"By taking proactive steps today to prepare for fully automated technology, Toronto is preparing for the future. I'm confident that the comprehensive plan adopted today – the first of its kind by a North American city – will ensure we are ready to embrace the benefits of this emerging technology while preparing to confront the challenges that such an innovation will bring,” Mayor John Tory wrote in a news release.

“There is tremendous potential for this technology in helping us to achieve our broader city goals as they relate to efficiency and resiliency in our transportation network, and how they contribute to social equity, and environmental and economic sustainability,” Councillor James Pasternak Chair of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee added.

The plan aims to balance the long-term opportunities automated vehicles offer, such as potentially significant improvements to how freight, goods, and people are moved around the city while revaluating how services are delivered.

It could still be a few years before automated vehicles become a mainstay in Toronto. However, the news is nonetheless an exciting step forward for the city.

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