Update from the Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) Conference

Brookstreet Hotel, Kanata North
September 9-10, 2019
By John Neale

Many of us have heard about self-driving cars. We have all seen commercials by car manufacturers touting their new car’s ability to stay in the lane or detect hazards with their proximity alerts! Many will even force the car to stop. I was driving a new Ford Fusion hybrid that my wife had as a loaner and it told me that I was tired and needed to take a rest! Most of these vehicles are using proprietary technology, but as these cars become more connected to the “cloud” there will be an increasing need for interface standards to connect them to the network.  This is supposed to be coming with L5 level of CAV standards.

What is the future of CAV? How soon will fully autonomous vehicles (L5) be on the road? Some experts in the field think L5 is 15 to 30 years out. Others feel that the L5 vehicles will come much sooner. The economic incentive comes from eliminating the need for a driver. That is the main incentive for companies like Uber who want to have fleets of self-driving cars. Government, on the other hand, is more interested in making the roads safer and having fewer accidents. That is already being partially achieved through L1 to L4. Sociologists hope that advent of self-driving cars will improve access to employment opportunities by making our suburbs more accessible. Urban Planners hope that these vehicles will free up urban space since 65% of our urban space is currently dedicated to infrastructure that supports (mainly) automobile transportation. Current thinking is that private ownership of vehicles will become a thing of the past. Afterall, we only use our private vehicles 1.8% of the time (on average). Do we really want such an expensive asset that we use so infrequently?

Research has shown that drivers of new cars do not fully understand their safety features. In fact, drivers tend to take more risks and assume that their new car is safer and that it will automatically compensate for poor driving and hazards. Due to the current proprietary nature of technological development, we are in the “wild west” phase of CAV development at the L2 and L3 level of standards pertaining to the utilization of data from OBD (on-Board Data) interfaces and AVI (Autonomous Vehicle Interfaces). Cars are now becoming digital platforms with all the cyber-security challenges that come with that. Standards are lagging but will be increasingly important once autonomous vehicles become more connected to communications networks. ISO21434 will provide new standards for cyber-security compliance in 2020. New OBD standards are probably five years out. Also, standards will need to be developed for L5 CAV which is more infrastructure and network driven.  Ottawa has the first L5 test facility in North America near Woodroffe & Hunt Club. Government bodies such as Transport Canada, the Transportation Association of Canada and the Canadian Council of Transportation Administrators and the Transportation Safety Board as well as provincial bodies will need to collaborate with industry and government bodies both domestically and internationally to develop standards for AVIs. More and more, these AVI standards will be infrastructure led and less dependent on the proprietary functionality of individual vehicles and their manufacturers. Many governments all over the world are creating cross-silo task forces to manage the many issues raised by CAV.

Insurance companies are also interested in CAV standards and legislation. Will CAV vehicles ever be eligible for a no-fault insurance claim, or will it become an issue of product liability? Legislation needs to be nimble enough to keep up with the pace of technological evolution. In the words of one panelist, “It will be best if legislation comes first. Otherwise it will be a real mess!”  Nevertheless, insurance companies remain cautiously optimistic that CAV should improve the safety of vehicles and reduce the number of accidents and fatalities often caused by distracted driving.

CAV is a complex area with an uncertain implementation timeline. Suffice it to say that there is no turning back and Kanata North companies such as Blackberry’s QNX Division and Nokia are major players. However, CAV will only reduce congestion if people forgo individual car ownership and move towards a vehicle ride-share mindset.  CAV will only benefit society if standards, legislation and industry facilitate a framework for CAV evolution, collaboration and improved socio-economic access to transport. CAV’s development will need to address a host of privacy, liability, safety, and economic issues. It is quite likely that the first truly autonomous applications will continue to be on roads and routes specially designed to support these vehicles. Therefore campus applications and possibly truck convoys are likely to be the first to roll-out.

However, the future of transportation will not revolve exclusively around CAV. Other modes of transportation will also appear. There will be a push for new forms of urban transportation, such as urban air mobility, where little infrastructure development is required. These will be electric planes with vertical take-off and landing capability such as those being developed by ASX. They will be much more efficient than helicopters. Magnetically levitated trains in vacuum tubes are also on the horizon and already in use in some parts of the world. Suffice it to say that our transportation systems are ripe for disruption and big changes lie ahead!

Keeping Goulbourn Forced Road Open

Goulbourn Forced Road

                                                                                                                        July 19, 2019

Mr. Stephen Willis
General Manager
Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development
City of Ottawa

Dear Mr. Willis,

The Kanata Lakes Community Association (KLCA) would like to bring to the attention of the City of Ottawa the need to keep the Goulbourn Forced Road (GFR) open to vehicular traffic from Kanata Avenue to the Kanata North Business Park (KNBP).

The KLCA believes that the existing GFR provides an essential vehicular connection for Kanata residents to travel to work in the Kanata North Business Park. In addition, the existing GFR provides direct access to the Richcraft Recreation Centre and the Innovation Park and Ride. The importance of the existing GFR was demonstrated during the recent six-month closure of the GFR for construction reasons. During the closure, traffic congestion on March Road and Terry Fox Drive increased substantially.

We understand that there is no proposal currently to close the existing GFR. However, we would like to see our views on this matter considered during the planning of the KNL development, Phases 7 and 8, north of the Beaverpond – in particular, the road infrastructure that permits the continued use of the existing GFR through the Monk Environmental Park.

The KLCA developed the attached Recommendation outlining the factors that were considered and other related information. This Recommendation was developed in consultation with the Kanata North Transportation Committee and it has their support.

The key recommendations are as follows:

  • the GFR remain open from Kanata Avenue to the Kanata North Business Park (KNBP);
  • City of Ottawa include the GFR route to the KNBP as part of its official development plan of the KNL lands Phase 7,8 and 9;
  • City of Ottawa include an intersection on the new re-aligned GFR to provide access to the existing GFR that runs through to the KNBP;
  • City of Ottawa assess engineering modifications to the existing GFR that runs through Monk Environmental Park to the KNBP to address any safety issues;
  • City of Ottawa review and consider road name changes to avoid confusion between the new re-aligned GFR and the old GFR that connects to the KNBP. For historical purposes, the name “Goulbourn Forced Road” should be retained for the portion of the old GFR that runs through Monk Environmental Park to the KNBP.

The KLCA would appreciate if the City of Ottawa planning officials would take our recommendations into account when finalizing the road network for Phases 7 and 8 in the KNL development north of the Beaverpond. We consider keeping the existing GFR open to vehicular traffic very much in the public interest and essential for efficient traffic flow in Kanata north.

The KLCA would also like to thank Kathy Rygus of your staff, for her assistance in providing information and context on this matter.

Please do not hesitate to contact the KLCA if you have any questions about this Recommendation.

Thank-you for your consideration in this matter.

Yours sincerely

Lianne Zhou
President, Kanata Lakes Community Association

Douglas Sward
Director, Beaverpond Area, KLCA

Kathy Rygus, Planner, Development Review West, City of Ottawa
Jenna Sudds, Councillor Kanata North
David Olson, Chairman Kanata North Transportation Committee

Cycling infrastructure now open at Herzberg/March intersection

Back in the fall of 2017 new cycling infrastructure was installed at the corner of Herzberg Road and March Road.  However, the cyling crossings were not painted and the dedicated cycling lights were covered over.

Well that’s changed… as of Tuesday night the work is finally finished.  Enjoy!

All about roundabouts

At our June 19, 2019 meeting Riley Carter from the City of Ottawa gave the committee an update on roundabout considerations in the city. His presentation is attached.

New name, web site and e-mail address

We have a new name, web site and e-mail address!  We are now the Kanata North Transportation Committee.  Our web site is now www.kanatanorthtc.ca.  You can contact us at: info@kanatanorthtc.ca

2018/2019 Ward 4 Winter Report

Councillor Sudds has published the Kanata North 2018/2019 winter maintenance report, summarizing the   feedback received from our community. This has been shared with city staff to make improvements for future years.


Improvements to March Road Signal Timing


Councillor Sudds has been working with the city to find solutions to ease thedaily congestion on March Road leading into the Kanata North Technology Park.

A thorough traffic study was undertaken, collecting data, and new signal timing plans were developed, using computer software simulation. After running many tests and fine-tuning the system, updates to signal timing on March between Campeau & Maxwell Bridge and Terry Fox between March & Old Second Line have been implemented.

City staff will continue to monitor conditions via traffic cameras and staff field checks to further adjust signal timing if necessary. Early results are showing a decrease in delays, which means that vehicles are travelling more efficiently.

Urban Cycling Workshop held on May 8

On May 8th, community members gathered at the Richcraft Rec Complex to take part in a workshop on cycling in the city.  The presentation by Jen Stelzer of Envirocentre covered a variety of topics, including:

  • basic bike safety equipment and hand signals
  • proper lane positioning
  • different options for making a left turn
  • how to use bike boxes and crossrides
  • how to pass a line of parked cars
  • how to ride safely around large vehicles like buses and trucks

Participants also asked plenty of their own questions, and had a chance to pick up some free maps and safe cycling handbooks.  Our thanks to Jen for hosting this workshop.

Urban Cycling Workshop coming on May 8

This interactive workshop offers tips on route planning in your neighbourhood, best practices for becoming a confident rider and addressing the concerns and benefits of commuting by bike.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at 7 PM – 8 PM
Richcraft Recreation Complex
4101 Innovation Dr, Kanata, Ontario K2K 0J3

We will discuss local infrastructure and talk through how to use the following:

• Bike boxes – what are they and how to use them.
• Separated cycling facilities (one directional and bi-directional) – how they differ and safe cycling tips.
• The “Copenhagen Left” – a simple two stage turning technique that reduces risks to cyclists making a left turn.
• General best practices for ensuring visibility while cycling on the road.
• Bike to Transit

More details are on Facebook

Road Safety Action Plan Public Consultation Questionnaire

The City of Ottawa is looking for public input on traffic safety issues to inform a Strategic Road Safety Action Plan.

The purpose of this survey is to help understand what Ottawa residents think the City’s priorities should be in order to reduce the number of people injured or killed in traffic collisions.

Go to Survey>>>