Okanagan Rail Trail could be shared by self-driving buses – Okanagan

There could soon be more than cyclists, runners and walkers on the Okanagan Rail Trail, and it all depends on the results of the survey conducted by UBC Okanagan students and the City of Kelowna.

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“If you take a look at the Rail Trail, it connects some of the major destinations in the city. So, for example, from downtown Kelowna to the expanding airport, it also connects to UBCO which has grown tremendously,” said Mahmudur Fatmi, director of the UBC Integrated Transportation.

Fatmi hired his engineering students to work on the project. If their research comes back saying there is a need for more public transit in the city and users of the rail trail are in favor, the self-driving buses that have been tested in Calgary, Montreal and around the world could to be the new travelers on the Okanagan. Railway trail.

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“This project has several objectives,” said Fatmi. “One of the first ones we’re doing right now is collecting data from people who use the Rail Trail, and then there’s going to be another survey where we collect data from… neighborhoods. (When) we understand what their preference is for using this service…we will then use this data to do modeling to predict what the future demand for such a service might be along this corridor and its impact on the comprehensive city transportation network.”

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Possible environmental impacts as well as how the service would operate alongside current Rail Trail users will also be considered, Fatmi said. The service would not take the existing space away from current users, but rather would operate alongside the existing area.

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To move forward, they need the public to keep filling out the polls. UBCO students were installed along the railroad to facilitate the task.

« We’re collecting data at this point along the Okanagan Rail Trail at eight locations over a two-week period from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and we’re ending this Thursday, so if anyone sees us please feel free to contact us and fill out the survey and tell us what they think of the service on the Rail Trail,” said Fatmi.

If all goes according to plan, self-driving vehicles will help commuters get from Kelowna International Airport to downtown and everywhere in between for years to come.

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