Pilot and Demonstration Projects

Image of a bus driving on a road

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

We're undertaking a pilot project to test the effectiveness of machine learning to improve bus arrival and departure predictions.

Machine learning is a technique that uses statistical models to give computers the ability to learn and create predictions based off past data.

As part of this pilot project, 10 bus routes will be selected and tested with these new predictive models. The project is expected to improve the accuracy of these predictions by 70 to 95%, which means fewer missed connections and a better customer experience.

If this pilot is successful, we'll look to implement it across all routes.

The Battery-Electric Bus Pilot is part of a pan-Canadian partnership between TransLink, the Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC), the Government of Canada, and BC Hydro.

Over the next two-and-a-half years, we'll be testing buses (New Flyer and Nova Bus) and chargers (ABB and Siemens) from different manufacturers. These trials will allow us to collect data and obtain valuable experience, so we can scale up our battery-electric bus fleet in order to meet our 100% renewable energy by 2050 target. Four new battery-electric buses from New Flyer and Nova Bus will be rolled out on Route 100. Two buses go into revenue service on September 11, 2019, with two more following before October 1, 2019. Fast-charge stations at Marpole Loop (ABB) and 22nd Street Station (Siemens), will keep the buses in operational service with a five-minute quick charge.

Our battery-electric buses are powered with clean electricity and have zero tailpipe emissions. Compared to diesel, each battery-electric bus is expected to reduce 100 tonnes of GHG emissions per year – and won’t generate any local air pollution. In addition to contributing to a cleaner environment, the buses will provide a smoother and quieter ride. We expect each bus to save up to $40,000 in fuel costs for the two-and-a-half-year project, compared to diesel.

Data and experience from this project will support transit electrification in Metro Vancouver and throughout Canada. It will support electric vehicle adoption globally by informing the development of the OPPCharge charging protocols.

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.

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 offer 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 launched in Aug. 2018 and will run through the spring of 2019 with hundreds of bike available to rent on campus. 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.

Visit UBC’s Dockless Bikeshare page for more information.

 

Adopted Projects

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.

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.

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.