The ELA autonomous electric shuttle could make an appearance in Rocky Mountain House during the Aug. 22-25 Alberta Masters Games. Photo contributed

Rocky Mountain House considering driver-less shuttle for Masters Games

Shuttle would transport people during Masters Games Aug. 22-25

Driver-less transit could hit the streets of Rocky Mountain House for the Alberta Masters Games.

The merits of Electric Autonomous Shuttle technology was recently pitched to town council by a representative from The Pacific Western Group of Companies, a company behind the driver-less vehicles and other transit systems.

Cruising at a sedate 20 km/h, the small electric shuttles have room for six seated and six standing passengers. They use a transportation and navigation system equipped with lasers, sensors and odometry to make their way about.

They have been rolled out for test runs at various locations around Alberta. In September, they were used to link Calgary’s Telus Spark science centre with the zoo.

In October and November, they operated at five sites in Edmonton and in early December they were tried out at Reynolds Museum in Wetaskiwin.

Councillors discussed the possibility of using the automated vehicles to help draw visitors to the games to the main street. A route could be created from the arena and high school to downtown.

Town council wants to explore whether it could be brought in for only two weeks around the Games, which run Aug. 22-25.

Town chief administrative officer Dean Krause said they would also have to look at the logistics of running the shuttle on a road that would have to be shared with other vehicles.

Council voted to explore the feasibility and logistics of bringing in the shuttle. Staff will bring back a report to the Jan. 22 meeting.

Rocky Mountain House and Clearwater County successfully bid for the 2019 Alberta Masters Games earlier this year. About 1,200 participants are expected. They will be joined by 600 volunteers, family members and spectators.

The four-day event will feature athletes aged 30 or older participating in 14 events. Sports include: archery, trail runs, hockey, pickleball, soccer, slo-pitch, triathlon, swimming, canoe/kayaking, three-on-three basketball, curling, golf, darts and cycling.

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