The July Dispatch
This month, we say goodbye to the segway, consider the come-up of e-scooters, and navigate past the city's new automated speed cameras.
Welcome back to the Dispatch, Onlia’s monthly dive into the intersection of transportation, tech, and everything else you need to know. This month we look at Toronto’s introduction of speed cameras, a potential British ban on U.S. vehicles, and the death of the Segway.
Consider this our on-going PSA on speeding: drive the speed limit. This is relevant now more than ever, as Toronto just rolled out Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) cameras. We chatted with the City’s Manager of Automated Enforcement, Mike Barnet to get you all the details. In short, just one kilometer above the speed limit will land the vehicle owner a ticket. Locations of speed cams will change every 90 days, with ample warning. Drive safe and drive the speed limit, friends.
Despite Ontario grinding to a halt during COVID-19, the provincial government is looking to kick start transportation construction, adding $10M to the existing initiative, “Connecting Links.” With a new total of $40M to put towards improvements on municipal roads and highways, the extra funding comes from Ontario’s COVID-19 restart budget –which will also help create more jobs and drive the economy. It’s nice to see road safety still a priority, pandemic or otherwise.
Curbing the spread of COVID-19 in the commercial trucking industry just got easier as well, with a provincial announcement to enhance accessible virus testing for truck drivers. Having tests available at high traffic truck stops allows for efficient and voluntary precautionary testing. Given the ground truck drivers cover – including cross-border kilometres – this is a good move.
Licensing updates: if you’re looking to renew your driver’s licence, check with Service Ontario, as they’re still extending the expiry date of driver licences and licence plate stickers. It’s also good to note that many services are still available online. Eager to get a driver’s licence? Check with DriveTest, as some license class testing is still on hold while other services are available on a limited basis.
American SUV manufacturers may soon have some extra inventory on their hands, as the U.K. takes measures to ban the vehicles over safety concerns. Citing varying safety standards, the U.K. Parliamentary Advisory Committee on Transport Safety is asking for United States vehicle imports to halt. British regulations require elevated vehicle safety standards with advanced pedestrian detection technology, as well as as soon-to-be enforced speed limiters; something that U.S. manufacturers aren’t mandated to do for American roads. While you may not be travelling on U.K. roads in an American car anytime soon, take note for your next vehicle purchase – overseas models may have safer bells and whistles to protect people inside and
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COVID-19 has forced the active transportation agenda, with a marked increase in walking, cycling, and e-scooter use. For e-scooter rental programs, it begs the question – how clean are these devices? An Atlanta, Georgia pilot program is using remote controlled technology to reposition scooters at a cleaning hub. Seemingly self-driving, the scooters make their way, post-ride, to a full sanitation. As Ontario continues to pilot-test e-scooters in certain regions, this could be an interesting technology to keep people moving.
Key rideshare player, Uber, has been pivoting throughout the entirety of the COVID-19 pandemic, and most recently, announced a partnership with governments around the world to provide contact tracing data. Designed to help public health officials track an outbreak (as well as lock any COVID-19 positive Uber clients out of the app), Uber has been testing the tech with governments for months.
Segway is ceasing operation of its PT model(the two wheeled-balancing act of a vehicle) this summer, leaving mall cops and sight-seers in the lurch. Meant to revolutionize personal transportation, the electric device never really took off. Its rough ride was punctuated by a number of incidents, most notably the death of a former company owner, which occurred while riding a Segway PT. The failed vehicle had poor sales, forcing the company to scrap the model and focus on the next (profitable) horizon of mobility: e-scooters.