Kirk: Potential of driverless taxis should delay Stage 2 of Ottawa LRT

By Barrie Kirk, Ottawa Citizen, March 22, 2019

The City of Ottawa should hit the pause button on Phase 2 of the LRT for 12 months because the planning has not included the significant impact of autonomous vehicles (AVs) on the business case and design of light rail.

AVs will be very disruptive and are expected to lead to affordable driverless taxis. This will lead to lower-than-forecast LRT ridership and revenue, and a larger-than-forecast operating subsidy over the rest of the century. There’s likely to be an impact on the design of the LRT.

Transit and transportation in the future will be significantly different from the last few decades. Driverless taxis, or “micro transit,” will provide trips that are on-demand, and offer flexible routing and single-mode trips door-to-door. Some percentage of riders will prefer this to fixed-schedule, fixed-route and typically multi-mode trips.

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