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TransLink Tomorrow

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    Copper and Organosilane Transit Project

    We’re testing new and innovative technology to improve the future of our transportation system and exploring ways to keep customers healthy and safe. Learn more about why we are testing copper on board our buses and trains.

    Learn more

    Solutions for a better transportation future

    TransLink Tomorrow is our commitment to continuously explore, test, and implement innovative ways to improve mobility in Metro Vancouver.

    It’s also our commitment to a more open and nimble approach to collaborating with industry, entrepreneurs, and academia. Working together, we can more quickly surface worthwhile new ideas and technologies that:

    • Enable seamless and efficient door-to-door mobility for people and goods

    • Promote safe, healthy, clean, and compact communities

    • Ensure affordable and equitable access for all

    From battery-electric buses to accessible fare-gates to on-demand transit, TransLink is always looking for new and better ways to keep the region moving forward through the emerging field of New Mobility.

    Plans and Strategies

    An electric bus parked next to a retro TransLink bus

    Technological advances are happening at a breathtaking pace. And key transportation-related technologies are converging leading to what we expect will be rapid changes in the transportation landscape towards greater integration, personalization, automation, connectivity, electrification, and sharing.

    If we plan proactively, we can choose to harness the potential of New Mobility in support of regional objectives to dramatically reduce distances driven and increase the number of trips made by active and shared-use modes in Metro Vancouver.

    With clear and forward-thinking policy direction, we can ensure that New Mobility services not only help create a more seamlessly integrated door-to-door travel experience, but that they do so in a way that also promotes safe, healthy, clean and compact communities, and affordable and equitable access for all.

    Many of our existing plans, strategies, and policy documents already provide useful direction on New Mobility:

    Metro Vancouver municipalities have expressed the need for a more unified approach to piloting requirements and implementing new forms of mobility services.

    We’ve worked with municipal partners to develop the Micromobility Guidelines as the first step towards regional coordination to maximize the benefits of these New Mobility services. The Micromobility Guidelines have been endorsed by all the municipalities and is a living document intended to be reviewed and updated to include experiences and lessons learned.

    Pilot and Demonstration Projects

    A woman holding up a new mobility themed compass card

    Collaborating with innovative partners to test, evaluate, and refine new ideas in real-world settings is a cost-effective way for us to learn and adapt to technological change.

    TransLink is interested in collaborating with innovative partners to further develop pre-commercial ideas, offering access to our assets for real-world testing, and piloting market-ready ideas.

    Where pilot and demonstration projects show promising results, we’ll consider incorporating them into our regular business.

    TransLink Tomorrow Copper Pilot Program

    Copper and organosilane are coming to Metro Vancouver’s transit system!

    Copper alloy surfaces are naturally antimicrobial with self-sanitizing properties and similar to organosilane, a silicone-based barrier, works well in tandem with good hygiene and cleaning protocols. Research suggests that most bacteria and viruses are destroyed within four hours on these surfaces.

    The pilot begins November 15 and the initial phase of the project will run for approximately four weeks. Copper decals, sprays, clip-on covers, and organosilane will be installed on two of our trolley buses on high-ridership routes and two SkyTrain cars running on the Expo and Millennium Lines.

    TransLink will be the first transit system in North America to pilot the use of virus-killing copper on high-touch surfaces. We’re partnering with Teck Resources, Vancouver Coastal Health, VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation, Coalition for Healthcare Acquired Infection Reduction and the University of British Columbia to pilot this initiative.

    Did you know?

    • Copper alloy surfaces kill up to 99.9% of bacteria and viruses within several hours (compared to plastic or steel).

    • Similarly, organosilane provides prolonged protection against damaging microbes such as bacteria, mold, mildew and certain viruses when applied to surfaces.

    • Antimicrobial copper has been installed in more than 300 healthcare facilities in 26 countries in Europe, South America, Africa, and Asia.

    • Copper surfaces are also being installed in training centers for professional sports teams, airports and restaurants, where uses range from exercise equipment to elevator buttons to kitchen appliances.

    • Copper’s antimicrobial properties are supported by over 200 peer-reviewed scientific studies.

    Keeping our customers safe

    Our goal is to make transit one of the safest public spaces so we’re looking at new ways to innovate and build upon our Safe Operating Action Plan. COVID-19 transmission has not been linked to transit and Public Health remains supportive of transit use and the continued efforts of TransLink.

    To learn more and share feedback:

    The inaugural Open Call for Innovation, which launched under the theme of “Seamless Mobility” in June 2018, resulted in TransLink partnering with Evo Car Share, Modo Co-operative and Mobi by Shaw Go to help make multimodal travel easier, more convenient and seamless.

    The Shared Mobility Pilot ran between October 2019 and August 2020. During this period, approximately 160 employees of 13 selected Vancouver-based organizations received a special Compass Card. The card could be used to access transit, carshare and bikeshare services for work related travel. At the end of each month the participating organizations received one consolidated invoice tallying all trips.

    The pilot aimed to test the user experience and technical integration of tying multimodal journeys together with a Shared Mobility Compass Card.

    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.

    See the charging station in action

    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 employees in Metro Vancouver work in places that are difficult to access by walking, cycling, and conventional transit. To help provide affordable and shared-use mobility in these situations, TransLink has partnered with Modo to develop and test different approaches to offering Vanpool services by leveraging existing car-share vehicles.

    We’re in the process of identifying suitable locations for this pilot. If you’re a business or employee that would like to help us launch a Vanpool service at your workplace, please contact us at

    As part of the inaugural Open Call for Innovation on “Seamless Mobility,” TransLink collaborated with Poparide to promote an easy-to-use carpooling solution for Metro Vancouver.

    The pilot aimed to test the effectiveness of a cross-marketing collaboration between TransLink and Poparide by collecting carpooling activity data and measuring uptake, with the goal of reducing congestion and travel costs for commuters.

    Our partnership with Poparide took place between November 2019 and January 2020. The campaign applied multiple marketing techniques through various channels, which resulted in more than 2,000 trips posted and 500 bookings.

    TransLink piloted Transit On-Demand services on Bowen Island from July 15 to September 15, 2019. The on-demand services supplemented the existing routes — 280, 281 and 282 — which continued to provide regular transit service during the trial.

    Two additional shuttles offered Transit On-Demand services:

    • Weekday Evenings: Fixed pick-up from Snug Cove from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

    • Weekends: Flexible pick-up and drop-off anytime between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

    Transit On-Demand customers could book trips up to two weeks in advance using the TapRide app on a smartphone or web browser, or by calling a dispatcher.

    Our goal was to explore the technical feasibility and customer experience of implementing Transit On-Demand services.

    Key Findings

    Over the course of the pilot, the Transit On-Demand service was used by 554 unique users, with a total of 1,200 trips and approximately 2,000 boardings. Three booking options were offered, with the smartphone app being the most popular and accounting for over 76 per cent of total bookings.

    The service was well-received and confirmed through the results of a post-pilot survey. Approximately 80 per cent of users gave their on-demand experience top scores, with an average score of 8.6 out of 10. 47 per cent opted to use the on-demand services over their own private cars and over 23 per cent replaced the use of fixed-route transit with on-demand services.

    View the project summary report for more detailed findings.

    Next Steps

    We want to continue learning about how the Transit On-Demand model can improve Metro Vancouver’s transportation system. As part of the learning process, customer and operator feedback is being analyzed to determine next steps regarding service delivery and technology providers. This analysis will help refine the Transit On-Demand model for further testing in suitable areas across the region.

    A multi-coloured shuttle bus seen outside in Bowen Island

    Customers will be able to better plan their journey on TransLink’s bus network, with a new machine learning algorithm improving the accuracy of departure estimates. The system-wide implementation follows a successful pilot program which saw 13 bus routes utilize this technology.

    Combining live bus location data with the machine learning algorithm, this innovative methodology improves existing estimates by considering major factors that affect bus departures. These include weather conditions and journey estimates at different times of day and night. To ensure accurate predictions for the entire transportation network, the algorithm involves over 16,000 machine learning models.

    The new algorithm has been incorporated into our Next Bus website and SMS tool. Third-party applications that are already using our bus departure estimates, such as the Transit App and Google Maps, will also use the new estimation method.

    To provide customers with the flexibility to combine driving and transit, TransLink has 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.

    Open Call for Innovation

    We believe good ideas come from anyone and everyone – and that includes you.

    That's why TransLink issues an Open Call for Innovation every year. Each Open Call invites submissions from the public and private sectors to address a transportation-related challenge that we face as a region. It's all part of our broader plan to partner with industry leaders, innovators, academics, and policymakers to collaborate on new mobility solutions that will help enhance the livability of Metro Vancouver.

    For successful submissions, TransLink offers funding and collaboration to incubate, develop, pilot, and implement your idea. We'll work with you to make your good idea even better and help turn it into reality.

    The inaugural Open Call for Innovation focused on bringing the opportunities of seamless mobility to Metro Vancouver – how it can be achieved and how barriers can be overcome. TransLink received 90 submissions and announced a joint initiative with Modo Co-op, Mobi by ShawGo, and BCAA (Evo Car Share) in January 2019 as an outcome of this Open Call.

    All transit journeys begin and end at a stop, station or exchange. They’re an important part of our communities and we have an opportunity to improve this part of the customers’ journey. Through the second Open Call for Innovation, we asked for ideas on how innovative technologies, solutions, processes, business models and partnerships can enhance our customers’ transit experience. TransLink evaluated 45 submissions and announced its partnership with PigeonBox, a shared smart-locker service at three SkyTrain stations in Metro Vancouver.

    As BC's economy re-starts and we begin to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to provide safe and reliable transit solutions for our staff and customers as they return to work, to school, and to moving around the region. Through the third Open Call for Innovation, we asked for ideas on how can we improve health, safety, and public trust as we welcome customers back to the public transit system in the context of COVID-19. We thank everyone that submitted an idea and look forward to announcing the successful applicants in the coming months.

    New Mobility Lab

    The New Mobility Lab is our new engagement portal for post-secondary institutions, researchers, and university students.

    We provide stable, multi-year funding towards a coordinated program of applied research aimed at answering new mobility related questions of relevance to us and our regional partners.

    The research produced by this program is presented at the annual New Mobility Research Dialogue and in the New Mobility Research Yearbook.

    The dialogue creates a space for researchers and TransLink to collaborate and identify new research needs, explore innovative ways to improve mobility in Metro Vancouver and advance the progress of the Regional Transportation Strategy Goals.

    The yearbook communicates, records and highlights research funded up to date for broader reference and tracking of the wide variety of subject matter that the proposals have addressed.

    This program provides research grants of up to $50,000 to well-defined projects undertaken by Canadian post-secondary researchers and their partners.

    NMRG projects may range from one year to two years in duration and can span a range of disciplines, including, engineering, planning and policy, urban design, computer science, environmental and resource science, business, psychology, sociology, and economics.

    The NMRG Program is now accepting applications:

    All projects must relate to a new mobility theme and must have regional or local relevance.

    Since 2018, TransLink has engaged UBC graduate students through the UBC Sustainability Scholars program to conduct research on new mobility topics. These reports are now available:

    Please check back in Fall 2020 for the outcomes of the following research projects:

    • Review and Analysis of Transit Agency Intergovernmental Agreements for Major Transportation Investments (2020)

    • Review of Climate Adaptation Planning for Transit Agencies (2020)

    Meetings and Events

    We look forward to regularly convening and participating in meetings and events related to New Mobility in order to build stronger networks and partnerships between industry, entrepreneurs, academia, and government throughout the region and beyond.

    There are currently no upcoming events.

    New Mobility Forum: The Promise & Perils of Automated Transportation

    On January 14, 2020, TransLink hosted the third annual New Mobility Forum dedicated to shaping the future of automated, connected, electric, and shared mobility in Metro Vancouver.

    The event brought together private industry experts, public sector planners and decision makers, and academics to focused on the theme of “The Promise and Perils of Automated Transportation.” There were over 230 attendees, 2 Mayors, 3 Board Members, 8 expert panel speakers, 2 moderators, and 9 exhibitors showcasing innovative mobility products.

    The agenda included:

    • A keynote presentation by Jeffrey Tumlin, Executive Director of San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA);

    • Two panel discussions on the state of development of automated vehicle technology and the potential policy impacts and implications;

    • A jigsaw breakout session to gather feedback from attendees to inform our work on Transport 2050; and

    • And an update on the Open Call for Innovation.


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