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Pilot and Demonstration Projects

Photo of a double decker bus

In an environment of rapid technological change, collaborating with innovators to try out, evaluate, and refine new ideas in real-world settings is a cost-effective way for us to learn and adapt quickly.

We are interested in collaborating with you to further develop your pre-commercial ideas, offering access to TransLink assets where you have a near-commercial idea that needs real-world testing, and partnering with you to pilot your market-ready ideas on a larger scale.

Where pilot and demonstration projects show good results, TransLink will consider incorporating them into our regular business.

 

Active Pilot and Demonstration Projects

 

Electric Battery Buses

Our electric battery bus pilot project is part of a pan-Canadian initiative led by the Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC).

The 2.5-year project will put electric battery buses on route 100 traveling along Marine Drive through Vancouver, Burnaby, and New Westminster.

At each end of the route (Marpole Bus Loop and 22nd Street SkyTrain Station), the buses will get a full charge in approximately 4 to 7 minutes.

Over the course of the project, we'll collect data on bus and charging station performance, maintenance, and the overall customer experience. The pilot will provide valuable information for our Low Carbon Fleet Strategy, which envisions a future with a zero-emission bus fleet.

 

On-Demand Micro Transit

In many lower-density parts of the region where transit demand is low, our community shuttles make circuitous routes on infrequent schedules.

In order to provide better, more responsive, and more customer-friendly transit service in these areas, we're undertaking a project to develop and test a concept for on-demand shuttle service using our existing community shuttle bus vehicles.

We're working with council and staff at Bowen Island Municipality as well as with residents to help shape this preliminary pilot. During the pilot period, transit customers on Bowen will be able to request a trip via phone or by mobile app and be directed to a nearby location for pick-up.

The buses will be routed dynamically in response to trip requests with the aim of getting closer to people’s preferred pick-up locations and reducing wait times.

This pilot will operate for 12 months starting later in 2018.

 

Vanpool

Many people in this region work in places that are difficult to access by conventional public transit. To help provide affordable, shared-use mobility in these cases, we're partnering with Modo to develop and test different approaches to offering Vanpool services through the use of existing car-share vehicles.

We're in the process of identifying suitable locations for this pilot. If you are a business or employee that would like to help us launch a Vanpool service at your workplace, please get in touch at vanpool@translink.ca.

 

Dockless Bikesharing at UBC

The University of British Columbia (UBC), in partnership with TransLink, is piloting a dockless bikesharing system on its West Point Grey campus.

Unlike station-based bike sharing, dockless bikesharing requires no infrastructure to park bicycles and they can instead be locked to themselves.

The bicycles are located and unlocked using a smartphone app. These systems could offer more flexible bike sharing options to more parts of the region at lower cost.

However, in other cities these systems have also presented urban space management issues where large volumes of bicycles in high-demand locations have often impeded public rights-of-way.

This pilot launches in the spring of 2018 and run for the remainder of the year. We will use the learnings from this pilot to contribute to the development of guidelines to help municipalities better manage personal on-demand mobility services like bike sharing.

 

Adopted Projects

 

Double-Decker Bus

To provide increased transit capacity and a more comfortable ride for long-haul customers, we piloted the use of double-decker buses on seven long-haul bus routes in Vancouver, Langley, Surrey, White Rock, and Delta.

Using buses provided free of charge by bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis, the pilot project ran for 4 months from Dec. 2017 to March 2018. During the pilot, we tested how the new vehicle type performed in Metro Vancouver both from a customer experience and operational standpoint.

Over 600 customers provided feedback during the pilot and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Customers were especially pleased with the increased capacity and comfort of the bus.

Operationally, the bus performed well during the pilot scoring well in drivability, ease of maintenance, and fuel economy.

Based on the results of this pilot, TransLink issued a request for proposals for 32 new double decker buses which we plan to add to our fleet by mid-2019.

 

Universal Fare Gate Access Program

Our Universal Fare Gate Access Program now provides customers who are not able to tap a Compass Card at fare gates due to a disability with seamless independent access to the SkyTrain system.

The program provides participants with radio-frequency identification (RFID) cards that will automatically open the fare gate when the card comes within range and close once the customer passes through.

See which SkyTrain Stations have these new RFID readers installed so far and learn more about the program and this first-of-its-kind technology developed here in Metro Vancouver on our Universal Fare Gates page.

 

Mobility Hubs

To provide customers with the flexibility to combine driving and transit, we've partnered with Modo and Evo to created dedicated carsharing parking spaces at select SkyTrain Stations.

Our Park and Ride page has a full list of which stations have dedicated Modo and Evo parking.

For those that prefer cycling, we also provide three different types of bike parking at SkyTrain Stations, bus exchanges, and West Coast Express stations throughout Metro Vancouver including secure bike parkades accessible with your Compass Card.

Visit our Bike Parking page for more information.