Roads and Autonomous Vehicles Plan

The Alberta Party will position Alberta as a world leader in self-driving vehicles for colder climates

An Alberta Party government will build new lanes on the QE2 highway, upgrade our existing highway network, create Canada’s first corridor for self-driving vehicles, and position Alberta as a world leader in self-driving vehicles for cold-weather climates.

“Self-driving vehicles are already in use and more are on the way. We can either get ready for this or get left behind. An Alberta Party government will get us ready by building new lanes on the QE2, and positioning Alberta as a world leader in self-driving vehicles for colder climates -- cars, trucks, and even farm equipment. This will make us more competitive, and be an entirely new source of jobs and growth -- fueled by the incredible minds and assets we have in artificial intelligence” - Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel

New Lanes on the QE2 Highway

  • Traffic along QE2 is high at 170,000 vehicles per day in total, with 60,000 to 70,000 vehicles per day between Calgary and Red Deer, and between Red Deer and Edmonton. Over two-thirds of Albertans live and work along the corridor.

  • Currently the QE2 is over-capacity, putting Albertan drivers at risk and adding costs to business by impeding trade in the Calgary Red Deer-Edmonton corridor.

  • The expanded QE2 will support over 300 direct service jobs and, from fuel and time savings, will enable over 20,000 businesses relying on the QE2 to expand their workforces.

  • 15% of traffic on QE2 between Calgary and Edmonton is commercial traffic, or over 5,000 vehicles per day in each direction, carrying millions of dollars in cargo.

  • An Alberta Party government will build additional lanes on the Calgary to Edmonton section of the QE2 (northbound and southbound), a length of 261 km, at an estimated cost of $1.6 billion. The project will create an estimated 5,000 construction jobs and 3,500 indirect jobs per year of construction.

  • In addition, an Alberta Party government will increase the posted speed limit on the QE2 highway (including Deerfoot Trail) to 120 km/h, in areas where it is deemed safe to do so.

Ending the neglect of Alberta highways

  • 15.6 per cent of Alberta highways are in ‘very poor’ condition. This is the highest rate in Canada.

  • Neglecting timely road maintenance means having to do significant repairs and upgrades, and a much higher overall cost.
    Addressing repairs and upgrades sooner will result in lower costs for taxpayers.

  • An Alberta Party government will Increase the provincial highway rehabilitation budget by 40% from $360 million per year to $504 million per year, creating 1,200 direct jobs, and 700 indirect jobs.

  • Invest $50 million to improve roads, eliminating road bans on areas of strategically important growth.

World Leadership in Autonomous Vehicles for Colder Climates

  • Alberta provides ideal testing grounds for autonomous vehicles, including Canada’s largest highway network, relatively low population density, and existing leadership in artificial intelligence research.

  • Alberta companies are already testing autonomous vehicles in several industries.

  • Colder climates introduce unique issues for autonomous vehicles (e.g., driving conditions, performance in low temperatures, etc.). Alberta serves as an excellent location for demonstrating autonomous vehicle success in these conditions; if it will work in Alberta, then it can work anywhere.

  • The economic impact of fully adopting autonomous vehicles in Alberta is estimated to be $10 billion, including $6 billion from collision avoidance, $3 billion in time saved, and $500 million in fuel savings. That’s a positive impact of over 100,000 jobs.

  • AI and autonomous vehicles have the potential to expand Canada’s economy by 1.6% ($26 billion).

    • As an example, in the transportation industry, self-driving trucks could operate for close to 24 hours per day rather than a human driver’s maximum of 13 hours. Currently, trucks in Alberta move about $9 billion of the province’s non-pipeline exports. This lynchpin of the economy could almost double its running time with self-driving technology, enabling more economic activity.

    • By 2035, the global market for autonomous vehicles will be $77 billion.

    • Autonomous vehicle technology in farming has huge potential for Alberta. Increasing the amount of produced food that reaches people by one third would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the value of agriculture and agri-food exports by $ 5-6 billion.

  • An Alberta Party government will establish a Cold-Weather Autonomous Vehicle Centre of Excellence at the University of Alberta.

    • In partnership with industries, this will create 100 direct and 230 indirect jobs to support next generation cold weather autonomous vehicles.

Revamped Autonomous Vehicle Rules

  • The most forward-thinking autonomous vehicle rules in Canada will be established.

  • Automated vehicles equipped with ‘SAE Level 3’ technology that are available for public purchase in Canada will be allowed to be driven on all roads without a permit.

  • In consultation with industry partners, a streamlined application process and designated testing areas will be established for ‘SAE Level 4 & 5’ autonomous vehicles.

  • The QE2 will be established as Canada’s first autonomous vehicle corridor. An Alberta Party government will allocate $20 million and work with industry partners to provide additional sensors, mapping, and other services.