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Ontario Municipalities Create World’s Longest, Preferred Corridor for Testing of Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) and Related Technologies between Windsor and Ottawa
MARCH 5, 2019 - On Sunday, February 24, 2019, the Ontario Good Roads Association (OGRA) unveiled their “Windsor-Ottawa Preferred CAV Test Corridor” at their annual Conference. The Corridor is an outcome of a project by OGRA’s Municipal Alliance for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles in Ontario (MACAVO), where 30+ municipalities have collaborated and individually identified the first draft of Preferred (as well as “Avoid”) roads within their local municipalities.
World’s Longest Test Corridor for Autonomous Vehicles
“We are very happy to finally be able to share more details on the Windsor-Ottawa Corridor”, said OGRA President Rick Kester. He further said, “Through the municipal and provincial collaboration on this project, we have now identified over 5,500 kilometres of specific municipal roadways across thirty-three (33) municipalities located in the area of Windsor and Ottawa”.
OGRA Executive Director, Joe Tiernay said. “Based on our findings, this is by far the longest AV test corridor in the world today. Combining this with the fact that the province already has a solid AV Pilot Regulation in place, there is no better place in the world to grow and establish communities and businesses, than in Ontario.”
The Windsor-Ottawa Corridor builds on top of O. Reg. 306/15 (“Pilot Project – Automated Vehicles”), which opened Ontario for businesses looking to test AVs. The Corridor identified by MACAVO participants is designed to showcase the willingness of Ontario’s municipalities to actively participate in and facilitate the safe testing of AV technologies.
MACAVO and Ontario, Open for Business
The Chair of MACAVO, Thomas MacPherson shared that, “The OGRA was created in 1894 (125 years ago) to help municipalities prepare for the transition from horses to cars. We are now at a new transition, going from cars to self-driving cars. The decisions made during the transition from horses quite literally shaped our roads and municipalities in the century that followed. I believe this transition to self-driving cars has the potential to bring extraordinary changes that might just make the last transition look tiny in comparison. It is great to see OGRA taking an active role in assisting municipalities to not only prepare for but perhaps to even become leaders in this space”.
The Preferred and Avoid road selections have been marked by the participating municipalities on a live, online map that is powered by Transnomis Inc. - the makers of Municipal511. Since the map is online, any updates on road selections and re-classifications (e.g. to Preferred/Avoid) are shared with other MACAVO map users automatically within seconds. This allows for all participants to be consistently in sync with one another. Furthermore, the Windsor-Ottawa Corridor also includes sections of some of the provincial highways.
First draft of the Windsor-Ottawa Corridor is shown below:
More Data Layers Added
The most obvious value of the Windsor-Ottawa Corridor is to enable auto manufacturers to have a clear understanding (during the AV tests) as to which are the Preferred municipal roadways, and which roads to Avoid. Also, through OGRA’s collaboration with Transnomis, several additional data points have been made available as layers. These layers include:
Access for the ‘Friends of MACAVO’
To date, access to the MACAVO map was only granted to the participating municipalities. However, with the first draft of Windsor-Ottawa now completed, OGRA will allow non-municipal organizations (public, not-for-profit, and private) to access the map as well. This category of access will be provided as “Friends of MACAVO”. Those organizations looking to access the MACAVO map should submit their email requests to Fahad Shuja (Fahad@ogra.org) for review.
The Opportunity to Save Canadian Lives
“If a disease was taking lives of 3,000+ Canadians each year, what would our collective reaction as a society be? Would we not do everything in our power to find a cure? I would like to believe that we absolutely would! We are precisely at that stage today, where over 3,000 Canadians are dying on our roadways every single year, primarily due to human error…In the U.S., it is over 40,000 deaths per year. And across the globe, the annual rate of fatalities is a staggering 1.35 million…” said Dr. James Smith, Manager of OGRA’s Member and Technical Services. He further said, “We recognize that AVs are by no means ‘perfect’; however, they can play a major role in significantly reducing the fatalities on our roads. The municipalities participating in MACAVO fully recognize this great potential of AVs and have shown their support for the Windsor-Ottawa Corridor in a very big way. We can’t thank them enough”.
For more information, please contact Fahad Shuja (Coordinator, OGRA Member Services) at Fahad@ogra.org.
About MACAVO Online Map: This map is exclusively designed for Ontario municipalities looking to take part in the Windsor-Ottawa Preferred Autonomous Vehicles Test Corridor. The map enables each participating municipality to highlight their local roadways that they consider to be “Preferred” (or “Avoid”) for testing of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles and technologies. There is no cost to municipalities for using this service; however, in order to gain access to the MACAVO map, OGRA requires the respective municipality’s local council to assign a point-person (e.g. public works/transportation director), who will then become the representative of the municipality on the topic of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles. Please contact Fahad Shuja (email@example.com) for more details.
About Transnomis and Municipal511: Transnomis Solutions Inc. is an Ontario technology company, specializing in road information management and communications solutions. Transnomis clients include provincial governments, municipalities of all sizes, traffic control companies, and a national railway. The Transnomis ITS Central platform is used in some of Ontario’s largest regional municipalities, and Transnomis Municipal511 web service is being used by Ontario counties, cities, towns and townships. For more information, visit www.Transnomis.com.
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The mandate of the Ontario Good Roads Association is to represent the transportation and public works interests of municipalities through advocacy, consultation, training and the delivery of identified services.