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GO Transit riders are seen here in this file photo.

An automated shuttle pilot project will be hitting the streets of Toronto’s east end by 2020, Mayor John Tory announced today.

The project, in partnership with Metrolinx and the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), will take riders from the West Rouge neighbourhood in Scarborough to the Rouge Hill GO Station.

“Toronto is growing at an unprecedented rate and with this growth we must focus on transit,” Tory said. “The pilot for the automated shuttle will help residents access other transit options in the city and encourage more people to use our transit system,” he added.

The automated shuttles typically seat eight to 12 passengers and are designed to travel at low speeds in low-traffic areas. The shuttles do not require an on-board driver, but will include ‘ambassadors’ who will be on the vehicle at all times.

Montreal began testing small, driverless, electric buses last spring. They are mostly used for tourists in the city’s Olympic Park.

Tory’s announcement was made during the 2019 National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Designing Cities conference. It’s the first time the event has been held outside the U.S. and brings together planners from more than 100 cities to discuss and advance transportation.

A report to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee last June said the pilot project would cost $1.2 million and run for 6 to 12 months. 

This will be the first automated transit shuttle trial in Canada, which will help us better understand the specific potential of automated shuttles in the transit system.

— John Tory (@JohnTory) September 9, 2019