The Oakville Chamber of Commerce encourages Town’s Infrastructure Readiness for connected and autonomous vehicle technology
As our communities become more “connected” through the collection of data, artificial intelligence and technology, it is vital that we are prepared for the business climate of the future. To that end, the Chamber is encouraging the Town to develop a Strategy for Urban Mobility and Transportation Planning. Moreover, it is crucial that this Strategy is aligned with the Town’s Economic Development Strategy to ensure that the needs of the business community are top priority.
Transportation infrastructure and congestion remains a top concern for the Oakville community. Congestion on Oakville roads is a barrier to business, and members cite that Oakville does not have the road infrastructure for the development it needs. Additionally, Oakville’s economic growth is an important factor in the success of the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA).
According to the Provincial Ministry of Finance, the Greater Toronto Areas (GTA) population is projected to increase from 6.9 million in 2017 to 9.7 million in 2041. Halton is projected to be the fastest-growing census division in Ontario over the projected period, with growth of 56.2 per cent to 2041. 
Similarly, our economy is growing. Currently, according to the Town’s Draft Economic Development Strategy our local economy supports approximately 116,300 jobs; and between 2013 and 2018, the local economy grew by 9,763 jobs. However, 64% of residents are commuting to jobs outside of Oakville with most commuting to jobs in Toronto, Mississauga, and Burlington. Oakville is a net importer of labour, with companies attracting a total of 65 per cent of workers from outside of Oakville. This indicates an opportunity to attract the local resident labour market into Oakville employment opportunities. 
Increased employment growth, as well as population growth, is positive for our local economy; however it also underlines the Chamber’s call for building a resilient transportation network that works for all modes of transportation to supply the movement of goods and people.
That’s why the Chamber is calling on the Town to engage with Chamber business and industry leaders. Oakville is well-positioned in the automated vehicle industry due in large part to the businesses located in Oakville that are leading the way in economic development; such as automotive as well as the information and technology sector, to position itself as an economic development leader around automated and connected vehicle technology.
Oakville is not alone in needing to explore this space. Researchers and academics working in the field of connected and autonomous vehicles have strong relationships with their counterparts, paralleled by discussion between provincial and federal governments and information-sharing between municipalities. It is important that as a community we engage with our local talent as well as reach out to other jurisdictions, including those with similar structures and similar environments.
This underscores the need for the Town to develop a working group of stakeholders. Working with businesses and a broad set of stakeholders is essential to foster employment and investment growth. Cross sector collaboration is essential for competitiveness. This cannot be done in isolation.
Innovation is also key to our communities’ success surrounding the Urban Mobility and Transportation Planning Strategy. The Chamber believes that the strategy needs to incorporate a plan on innovation that includes partnering with the business and tech community, and piloting projects that drive smart city initiatives.
Finally, the Oakville Chamber strongly encourages the Town to develop a Strategy for Urban Mobility and Transportation Planning that ensures that town policies, programs and activities create an attractive climate for business investment and job creation for economic growth as well as a transportation network that makes the movement of goods and people a priority.
On behalf of the Chamber members we will look forward to working with the Town on this important initiative and we will be strident in our efforts for results.
By Faye Lyons
Vice President of Government Relations & Advocacy