First for Canada as transit riders can use self-driving electric shuttle to get to Whitby GO

In the summer, Metrolinx partnered with several agencies to start testing an autonomous vehicle that would roll into Whitby GO as part of an AV pilot project. Now, after weeks of mapping and testing, the vehicle is ready to open its doors for customers. Find out more about how the self-driving, emission-free vehicle can help Durham residents get around.

Hop in and ride the WAVE.

After successful testing, starting today (Nov. 8), the WAVE (Whitby Autonomous Vehicle Electric) shuttle will be ready to hit the road with passengers on board.

The battery powered vehicle will be zipping along a six-kilometre route that begins and ends at the Whitby GO Station – looping through the residential, recreational, and industrial areas of the Port Whitby neighbourhood (in south Whitby).

This marks the first time in Canada that an autonomous shuttle and smart infrastructure will be fully integrated into an existing transit service.

During this next stage of the pilot project, the WAVE shuttle will complement existing Durham Region Transit (DRT) On Demand service and will be scheduled as Route 300 to serve the Port Whitby neighbourhood.

As always, connections to GO Transit and DRT services are available at Whitby GO Station.

A look at the WAVE shuttle
A look at the WAVE shuttle which will become the first autonomous shuttle and smart infrastructure to be fully integrated into an existing transit service in Canada. (SmartCone Photo)

Safety never stops

With safety top of mind, the WAVE shuttle, also known as the “Olli” by Local Motors, will only operate at a speed of no more than 20 kilometres per hour (while in autonomous mode) and will have a trained safety attendant on board at all times who can manually take control of the vehicle, if required.

The service will also be aided by smart transportation infrastructure that will monitor traffic conditions and help to improve the safety of cyclists and pedestrians.

map showing the WAVE shuttle service area with stops for DRT Route 300.
Seen here, a map showing the WAVE shuttle service area with stops for DRT Route 300. (Metrolinx Photo)

The shuttle will only carry four people at a time for now and will operate on weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. during off-peak times and weekends between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. in order to minimize traffic congestion.

The WAVE shuttle will pick up and drop off passengers at designated stops along the route and there is no fee to ride. However, don’t forget your PRESTO card or e-ticket – regular fares still apply when connecting to other DRT or GO Transit services.

Map showing the WAVE shuttle service stop at Whitby GO Station.
Passengers can board the shuttle in the South Passenger pick up/drop off area at Whitby GO Station. (Metrolinx Photo)

The project is a collaboration between Metrolinx, Durham Region Transit, the Town of Whitby, Durham Region, SmartCone, AutoGuardian, and other partners who have all worked together to see how autonomous vehicles can be integrated into an existing transit network and enhance connections to GO Transit and local transit services.

The WAVE shuttle will aim to demonstrate how an autonomous vehicle can be used as a safe, accessible, and convenient transit option, using clean energy to transport people to and from Whitby GO, all while eliminating the hassle of finding parking.

In the coming months, Metrolinx will work with all partners involved to assess the operational outcomes and customer service experiences of this smart technology and how it may benefit with integrating into a wider transit network in the future.

You can read more about the WAVE here.

Story by Nitish Bissonauth, Metrolinx Media Relations bilingual spokesperson