Joint proposal submitted by Vancouver and Surrey for Infrastructure Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge

THE City of Vancouver and City of Surrey submitted their final Smart Cities Challenge proposal on March 5. If selected by Infrastructure Canada to bring this big idea into reality, the cities will share $50 million in prize money that would enable both cities to demonstrate a path to safer, healthier and more connected communities while reducing emissions, improving transportation efficiency, and enhancing livability in the face of rapid growth and traffic congestion.

“We have an opportunity to realize smart city infrastructure investment that could be transformational not only for our region, but the rest for Canada”, said Jessie Adcock, Chief Technology Officer, City of Vancouver. “How we leverage technology and innovation to better serve the needs of our residents and better our quality of life, now and in the future, is at the heart of being a smart city”.

The #SmarterTogether program is the result of unprecedented joint engagement. Over the course of 20 months, both cities collaborated on developing the joint proposal. Through an extensive listening period, the cities learned that mobility solutions had the potential to most significantly improve the lives of residents. The project team spoke with residents, experts and leaders of communities to explore how key mobility corridors could be designed to be appealing and accessible to all.

The cities also arranged corridor technology demonstrations in both Vancouver and Surrey, including the hugely popular autonomous vehicle shuttle ride demos (ELA – short for ELectric Automation) that provided over 4000 passenger rides to residents who showed enthusiasm for the technology. The shuttle demonstration allowed residents to experience this new technology and guide future considerations.

“Our finalist submission is the result of 20 months of hard work between the two largest cities in our region, numerous partnerships with local and international vendors and academic institutions were formed, we heard from a wide cross section of residents and stakeholders, and we are elated to now share our proposal with Infrastructure Canada”, said Sean Simpson, Director of Information Technology, City of Surrey.

Vancouver and Surrey’s #SmarterTogether program is a bold vision to create Canada’s first two collision free multi-modal corridors. Our Cities will introduce a suite of smart city technologies in two different urban contexts that will transform city infrastructure and establish new, connected ways for residents to travel safely, connect socially, and enjoy an increased quality of life.

The two collision-free corridors — Vancouver’s South False Creek Innovation Corridor and the Surrey Innovation Corridor — will achieve a number of outcomes including:

  • improved safety
  • reduced emissions
  • healthier communities
  • increased availability of mobility options
  • more socially connected communities
  • increased accessibility to the community
  • higher people-moving capacity
  • an enhanced travel experience

These ambitious aims will be achieved through the implementation of a portfolio of advanced smart city technologies that will work in concert and in real time.

Among these integrated technologies will be:

  • The Smart City Integration Hub, a software platform that represents the cornerstone of corridor security, privacy, and interoperability.
  • Autonomous vehicle shuttles and last mile mobility vehicles that ensure safe travel and provide abundant and accessible mode shift opportunities for all residents.
  • Intelligent traffic system devices, including sensors and controls embedded in traffic infrastructure, that collect data and enable real-time responses to specific traffic situations.

According to the two cities, the combined operation of these technologies will improve the residents’ lives in a multitude of ways. The availability of new mobility options will provide accessibility to community amenities and will reduce social isolation and feelings of loneliness in our communities. Conflict and collision-reducing technologies like dynamic crosswalks and adaptive traffic signals will make travel safer, especially for those people in groups disproportionately involved in accidents. Wayfinding applications for smartphones will enable residents to plan the safest multimodal routes through the corridors.

The unique smart mobility corridors of two distinct cities— one urban and one suburban — ensured the proposal was replicable by design. This was important to ensure we can duplicate these successes in the future.

For information on the City of Vancouver’s and City of Surrey’s joint Smart City Challenge, or to see the finalist submission, visit