As Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) emerge on Canadian roads, we will experience fundamental changes in how Canadian streets are navigated both by vehicles and pedestrians. These changes will impact vulnerable road users, particularly those who are blind or partially sighted.
CNIB completed a study of CAV technology in Canada. The final report provides seven recommendations to help inform policy development nationally and internationally. Our recommendations include:
- Richer statistical analysis of road fatalities to capture characteristics of vulnerable road users;
- Adoption of uniform traffic rules across Canada's disparate jurisdictions;
- Future research initiatives need to apply a disability lens;
- Accessibility and usability of onboard vehicle interfaces;
- Smart city data models need to operate under an open data model facilitating access by systems and mobile apps which enable wayfinding for persons with sight loss;
- Development of onboard algorithms which will respond appropriately should a pedestrian with sight loss inadvertently find themselves in a crosswalk in the wrong time;
- Avoiding adoption of signals which rely exclusively on visual queuing to indicate a vehicle's state.
In addition to our national work on CAVs, CNIB Ontario has also been speaking with both provincial and municipal governments about regulatory development.
In October, the CNIB Foundation met with the Ontario Minister of Transportation, Caroline Mulroney, to discuss some of the concerns and opportunities for the sight loss community. After that meeting, we were invited by the Ministry of Transportation to present to their Ministry of Transportation Cross-Government CAV Staff Working Group and discuss these issues further.
The City of Toronto has also been consulting with CNIB on the Automated Shuttle Trial taking place near the Rouge Hill GO station, planned for Fall 2020. We have provided feedback about the shuttle's design and accessibility considerations for the route and shuttle bus stops.