Posts Tagged ‘innovation’

transportation technology >> the future is calling

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

transportation technology >> the future is calling

When you think of the future of transportation, what do you think of? If you’re older than 30, maybe you think of The Jetsons – an old TV series about a futuristic family living in skypads and commuting in bubble-shaped aerocars. The TV show may be a little far-fetched, but recently we’ve seen examples of new transportation technologies that have some similarities.

United Arab Emirates is officially testing the first driverless flying taxi in its largest city, Dubai. The new drone-based taxis were scheduled to begin operating in July, so the results should be in soon. Imagine the impact on traffic-congested cities if commuters took to the skies.

Another emerging technology is the vactrain or Hyperloop – pods travelling through tubes at very high speeds. Earlier this year, MIT students demonstrated the first ever Hyperloop prototype.

In June, China introduced the world’s first rail-free, self-driving “train.” This road-based vehicle with wheels is a cross between a bus and a tram or LRT, and follows a predetermined route. Forward-thinking manufacturers across the globe are busy designing self-driving concept vehicles for use as both personal cars and transit vehicles.

Sometimes new technology is not in the vehicle itself, but in how it’s accessed. New apps, new payment systems, and more accessible vehicles are some of the ongoing improvements. Ridesharing and bike sharing have been around for several years, and many communities are working on ways to integrate them with transit systems.

It’s great to see these examples of innovation and new ideas in mobility. Having more technology options means we’ll be able to design and build innovative infrastructure, helping our communities grow into amazing places to live, today and tomorrow.

as technology advances, every little step counts

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

as technology advances, every little step counts

We are always amazed to see examples of technology that depart from the norm. Like this driverless drone “sky taxi” that will begin flying customers in Dubai, United Arab Emirates this summer. If everyone had their own personal drone it would certainly change the daily commute!

Sometimes though, it’s smaller innovations that change transportation for the better for people. Bus rapid transit that rides in dedicated bus lanes is now part of the landscape in Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Newmarket. At the end of this year in Vaughan, the Toronto-York Spadina Subway will change how many people commute.

Within a transit service there can also be improvements and innovations. YRT/Viva’s goal is to be emissions free by 2051, and their 2017 Annual Service Plan notes several pilot and trial programs underway, including:

  • Electric Bus Demonstration and Integration Trial
  • Alternative Fuel Study
  • Small bus strategy

Over time, these smaller changes can make a big difference. Just fifteen years ago, few people would have predicted that bus customers would be able to zip past congested traffic on Highway 7. And while subway extensions have been a priority for a long time, it’s pretty amazing that residents of Vaughan will soon be living so close to a subway line.

Dreaming about new innovations for the future is one thing; making it happen is definitely another. And in York Region we’ve made these changes together. The future looks bright with more innovation to come!


automated vehicles >> will transit drive itself?

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

automated vehicles >> will transit drive itself?

Lately there’s been a lot of news on the topic of automated vehicles. In February, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the US officially stated that an artificial intelligence system [computer] in an automated vehicle can officially be considered a driver. And in at least five global cities, there are driverless buses already on the streets. In aviation, pilots have been relying on auto-pilot for decades when landing and taking off in low visibility, and many people-mover rail systems [such as airport monorails] are automated.

Studies show that, statistically speaking, computers are safer than humans at driving. However, we know that getting from here to there is about more than arriving safely. Comfort is important of course, along with convenience and efficiency or speed. For some, a travel choice is a personal statement – to cycle or walk, to make use of transit, or to drive a certain style of car. Many vehicles already have “driver assistance systems,” with features that brake when an obstacle is detected, and alert the driver when the car in front has moved forward or when the vehicle has left its traffic lane.

So the technology is there, and it’s already being used. The question isn’t whether it will happen, it’s how it will affect how we travel. It will depend on how they’re used – if every individual uses their own automated vehicle, traffic congestion and parking issues will likely remain the same. But if we share vehicles and take transit…our cities and roads could become safer and more efficient.  Interesting topics for discussion and consideration and we continue to follow them with interest.

At vivaNext we’re for mobility – whether this means subway, bus rapid transit, or automated transit in the future, we’re thinking about how York Region’s roads can be prepared and always looking for new and innovative ideas to make improvements.