As they search for new ways to improve access to the border for both commuters and businesses, Ontario and Michigan have signed a memorandum of understanding to study new technology to make crossing more efficient and safe.The partnership is between Ontario’s Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network and the Michigan Department of Transportation.
They have already issued a joint Request for Proposals to study potential economic benefits.
A release from the Ontario government said it would “further support the commercialization and adoption of auto and transportation technologies in Ontario.”
Many companies on both sides of the border have engineering expertise and technology that can help, and the closing date for submissions is September 13.
“By breaking down barriers to cross-border business and further integrating our research, testing, and supply chains, we will unleash tremendous opportunity for the Autotech sector in Ontario and Michigan,” said Premier Doug Ford. His Minister of Transportation also expressed excitement for the memorandum of understanding.
“Advancements in transportation technology have the potential to make the way we travel and transport goods safer, more efficient, and more environmentally friendly,” said Caroline Mulroney. “We’re taking steps to ensure both Ontario and Michigan stay at the forefront of the evolving transportation industry.”
Between them, about 22 per cent of North America’s automotive output is in Ontario and Michigan. The integrated supply chain sees vehicle parts crossing the border several times before a finished vehicle rolls off the assembly line.
Once the study is complete, the two agencies will look for pilot projects that bring what they learn into practice.
The Cross Border Institute at the University of Windsor is currently studying how upgraded cameras and sensors along Huron Church Road can improve wait times at the Ambassador Bridge.
Ontario and Michigan have a history of working together to improve border wait times and employ the latest technology. In 2017, they collaborated on North America’s first cross-border automated vehicle test drive.
Trade between Michigan and Ontario was valued at over $60-billion last year. The two jurisdictions are each other’s top export customers supporting thousands of jobs on both sides of the border.