No. It is important to understand that this pilot project is not meant to offer more public transportation options to residents within the community right now. It is the study of community, citizen and driver responses and reactions to autonomous vehicles and likewise the study of the reactions and responses of ELA to her surroundings within a set route; this is the primary focus of the pilot project. It is not intended for the pilot project route to change locations for the duration of this pilot project.
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“Mixed traffic use” is an infrastructure and transportation term and refers to the operation of ELA on the same roadway with pedestrians and other vehicles.
The ELA pilot project route was selected by ELA's operator, Pacific Western Transportation and the City of Beaumont.
The ELA pilot project route was selected by ELA's operator, PWT and the City of Beaumont. The route selected met the following criteria, which were required to complete the autonomous vehicle pilot project:
Black Gold School Division and the daycare that operates out of the Ken Nichol Recreation Centre were individually contacted by the City of Beaumont's Infrastructure division to brief them of the pilot project and expected transportation impacts to their respective routes. The ELA route does not impact the daycare busses. Communications and coordination with both groups will continue with the project team as well as ongoing review of the transportation impacts along the route throughout the pilot project, as needed.
Once the pilot project is launched to the public, the entire pilot lane route for ELA is treated as a live research and testing environment for the duration of the project. Even when ELA is not on the road and is charging in storage at night, there is data being collected with the surrounding traffic flow and lane maintenance that will be happening (ensuring it is free of debris, etc.).
More importantly, even though ELA’s shuttle service for public riders operates five days a week, during the two days she is not taking public riders, she could be on her route being recalibrated and conducting tests based on the data collected from the previous week.
A big component of this pilot project is observing and collecting data on how vehicles (and drivers) and pedestrians respond to the autonomous shuttle and as with any pilot project, phased approaches are often taken as part of the research and study process. As much as ELA is learning her route and surroundings with each drive she makes back and forth on her route, so too are drivers and residents. At this time, it is undetermined if and when the route markers will be fully removed. This is an aspect of the fluidity of the pilot project that will continue to evolve as data is collect and reviewed, and recalibration is made to ELA every week based on the previous week’s data and learnings.
We know that there will be learnings to be had, but we are confident that she will be embraced by our residents. Bringing this technology to our City gives us first access to learning, testing and applying cutting edge new ideas and technologies that have real potential to impact how we plan and develop our municipality into the future.
We appreciate the ELA pilot project overlaps with the busy event and sports season and thank the community in advance for their patience. Over the course of the pilot project, PWT and the City will be able to make adjustments to mitigate any impacts on traffic that may appear. We encourage the community to consider the ELA pilot project as an integrated member of the community for the duration of its pilot project.
The project team will be monitoring all aspects of traffic impacts throughout the pilot project including environmental impacts. At this time, the project has limited air quality data to review and compare with but will consider these factors as the project progresses.