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Montreal to create an Electrification and Intelligent Transport Institute

As part of its long-term goal of reducing vehicle emissions and helping to fight climate change, Canada’s second largest city, Montreal, is establishing an Electrification and Intelligent Transport Institute to aid the introduction of innovative and sustainable transportation technologies.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre announced the creation of the new Institute at the Quebec Transport Association’s (AQTr) 52nd Congress and Exhibition. Coderre was accompanied by Aref Salem, the transport executive on the city’s executive committee, and Elsie Lefebvre, the associate councilor responsible for Montreal’s Transportation Electrification Strategy, which was unveiled in June last year. The new Electrification and Intelligent Transportation Institute will become part of that strategy.

In the aftermath of the 21st UN Climate Change Conference (COP21), and as part of its membership of the C40 Cities network that is fighting climate change, Montreal wants to stand out as an innovative city by making use of new technologies and accelerating the electrification of urban transport. The fight against climate change and the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is a societal choice that Montreal intends to assert and promote on the world stage.

The new institute will be located in the Innovation Quarter, which was created under the leadership of the ÉTS school of engineering and McGill University. Concordia University and Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) have also joined the Innovation Center. The Institute of Electrification and Intelligent Transport will be mandated to:

• Promote greater synergy between regional partners in sustainable mobility through research and development;
• Stimulate the commercialization of innovations and thus accelerate business growth;
• Develop international partnerships.

Montreal also wants to offer manufacturers the right conditions to experiment with new technologies and to accelerate their commercialization as part of the program. The city is planning the establishment of an experimental zone in the downtown area and test corridors, which will enable real-world trials and serve as a commercial showcase for new technologies. The City of Montreal is providing a financial contribution of C$3.63m (US$2.7m) over two years to the Institute of Electrification and Intelligent Transportation to ensure the organization’s start-up and implementation of its plan.

“Montreal is at the heart of action on climate change. The creation of this Institute of Electrification and Intelligent Transport represents an important step in the realization of our ambitious Transport Electrification Strategy,” said Coderre. “The Institute will take advantage of Montreal’s strengths as a city of innovation to galvanize efforts and knowledge, and to spread its influence on the international scene.”

Salem noted, “Montreal also wants to offer manufacturers the right conditions to experiment with new technologies and accelerate their commercialization. It is our response to the needs expressed by all industry players, research centers and, above all, citizens, who are ready to adopt new forms of mobility.”

Lefebvre added, “The niche of electrification and intelligent vehicles is very promising. I am extremely confident that the will and the means taken by the Coderre administration will enable Montreal to become a world leader in the field of future mobility. Innovations in the issues of sustainable mobility and the transportation of goods and people, and their integration into municipal regulations, are a challenge at the heart of the Institute’s mission.”

April 7, 2017

Written by Adam Frost

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